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Mastering the Holidays

Tips for Planning a Virtual Secret Santa

December 7, 2020

Celebrating doesn’t have to stop while in quarantine! Home for the Holidays shares the positives of celebrating virtually, tips on keeping your traditions alive, and creative decorating ideas from professional designers. Get ready to make this the best holiday season yet! 

The Secret Santa game has been a favorite for years and is a fun tradition each holiday season. Everyone loves getting those wrapped up surprises and guessing who they are from. Now that so many more people are working from home or not traveling to be with family, the game can be morphed to accommodate location challenges. Just because you can’t be together in person doesn’t mean the fun has to stop! To play a virtual game of Secret Santa, here are some suggestions. 

Choose an organizer 

To-do list

Just like at the office, choose a host to coordinate the Secret Santa game. There are websites that can help, such as Elfster, where the host will create an account and enter the name and email address of everyone who wants to participate. The initial email to all the participants can ask for gift ideas.

Once everyone has filled out their information, the website will draw names and automatically email each person letting them know who they get to buy for as that person’s Secret Santa. The host will also need to set up a party time using online meeting software such as ZoomGoToMeeting, or Skype.  

Find the perfect gift 

In some cases, you may know just what to get the person you’re buying for. In other cases, you might not know where to start. If you want to do something a little more fun than just picking something from a list, below are some ideas that can appeal to almost anyone. 

Favorite brand merchandise 

If you know your recipient’s favorite band, why not surprise them with a classic t-shirt, mug, patches, magnets, a poster, or a calendar they can enjoy the whole year? Many of these companies will also drop ship to your recipient so you don’t have to. Just have the host let them know what date it should arrive so they don’t open it before the online party. 

An old-fashioned Christmas stocking  

You can find an inexpensive Christmas stocking and place nostalgic items in it from days of yore. Many local and online candy shops have original candy such as rainbow colored twirly pops, candy buttons, hard ribbon candy, and more. Add in a few retro toys such as jacks, spinning tops, Army men, a Slinky, or even a Magic 8 Ball to remind your recipient of days gone by. It can be a fun trip down memory lane. 

Gift card surprise 

If you don’t want to send a big package, you can pick out a pretty Christmas card and insert a gift card to a nice restaurant or favorite store. If you’re not sure where they like to shop, ask a fellow co-worker or family member.  

Holiday flowers  

If you’re still on the fence about what to get, a flower bouquet makes the perfect gift. There are a variety of arrangements to choose from that will complement any holiday table, office, or room. In addition to not having to worry about packaging your gift or heading to the post office, flowers can be scheduled to arrive on a specific day, such as the day of the Secret Santa party. 

Movie night basket 

Packages by door

There’s a reason this type of gift basket is popular year after year. Next time you’re out shopping, stop by the movie rack and pick out a couple of movies. They don’t have to be recent releases; they can be beloved classics or fun for the whole family comedies. Add in a box of microwaveable popcorn, a few bags of candy, and gourmet popcorn salt. Depending on your price limit, you could even add a holiday blanket or cozy socks to fend off a chilly winter evening. 

Send the package on time 

To make sure no one knows who sent the package, a work address or the host’s address can be used for return labels. There should be a designated ‘mail by’ date to ensure all the gifts arrive on time. On the outside of the package, make sure to write that it’s a Secret Santa surprise to ensure no one opens it before the big party.  

Enjoy the party 

Five people at party

Once the day arrives for your Secret Santa party, guests log on using the meeting software and meeting code. In addition to opening the gifts and guessing who each person’s Secret Santa is, the host can include other fun activities, such as: 

  • A best holiday costume contest 
  • Sharing favorite holiday memories 
  • Having a pre-designed gingerbread house and voting on the best one 
  • Baking a treat to show everyone and then exchanging recipes so others can make it 
  • A holiday trivia contest 

Virtual parties may be more challenging than having one in person, but with the right ideas, any group can have just as much fun. 

Give the best Christmas gifts 

Looking for more unique Secret Santa gift ideas? Shop our Christmas collection for everything from poinsettias and mixed flower arrangements to wreaths and sweet treats! 

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