If you know anything about me, you know I love traditions.

If I had to guess, I suppose it’s because they remind me of a particular season of life, and those special people at that particular time and place. But seasons of life change and so do traditions.

The last thing you want is for one to go stale. We never want to live life knowing exactly what’s around the corner. So change ’em up and don’t be afraid to bring a breath of fresh air to those around you and the tried and true.

Families change and grow over the years.

If your family has gotten to the place where gift giving to everyone has created a time drain or financial strain, maybe it’s time to try something new. 

Want to try something new? Secret Santa to the rescue! 

Secret Santa adds the element of surprise to the gift-giving experience, and the best thing is you all agree to the ground rules that work best for everyone.

Here’s what we did…

Over this past Thanksgiving holiday we decided to swap Secret Santa gifts amongst the 5 immediate adults in the family and handle the children as usual—we shower them with presents!

We’re also swapping names for stocking stuffers, which means we’re focusing on giving gifts to 2 people: a big purchase for one, and a stocking stuffer for the other. 

Here’s How to do it…

Ask everyone participating to write their name on 2 slips of paper, and fold each of them “to keep them a secret.” The slips are dropped into a hat and then someone walks the hat around to everyone for a chance to select a name for the large gift and then around again to select the recipient of the stocking stuffer. If we got our own name we folded it and dropped it back in the hat before making another selection. Simple.

I’m so excited!

Ground Rules

Discuss and set a monetary limit on the large gift, and the stocking stuffer being mindful of everyone’s budget. 

Wish List ideas?

Assign an “Elf” to put everyone on a “Wish List” text thread or a shared thread in Notes. Keeping it in the Notes app on your mobile makes for easy access when shopping the list.

Ask the participants to offer a few hints such as sizes, favorite stores, brands or hobbies.

Be considerate of those early shoppers in the group who don’t want to delay their shopping while they await your addition to the list. Make sure to set a date for when “hints” should be dropped…or be at the mercy of your Secret Santa’s selection:))

Theme it!

Depending on your group, whether friends, family or work associates, you may want to give the gifting some parameters such as: fits in a stocking or has to be an experience, like movie tickets.


This is the first year our family is attempting Secret Santa. I’ll let you know how it works out. In the meantime, I’d love your comments on how it works for your tribe, and maybe some additional theme ideas. So, thanks in advance!

So far it feels like we are taking Christmas back to a simpler time—I’m already a fan!

Ho, Ho, Hugs out! Laura

Have any questions or would like to share a recipe?

I would Love to TALK. Just send me a message.

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