Secret Santas are a tradition featured at many holiday parties, where a group of people each are assigned a person beforehand and have to find them a personalized gift. Other than its name, nothing about it is religious. Secret Santas were held all throughout the 2017 holiday season by different groups, and the exact rules vary, though the fundamentals stay the same — you keep it a secret who your gift is for.
“I really love finding people personalized gifts that I think they will like and then watching their reaction,” said Anya Pimenta, a high schools from Washington D.C.
The main thing about Secret Santas is that they appeal to different types of people for different reasons, making them fun for the holidays.
“My favorite part of Secret Santas is when you give the gift the person you give it to doesn’t know you had them and when you get the gift you don’t know who its from, so the surprise from picking names,” said Catherine Lim, an eighth grader at RCMS.
Many people’s favorite aspect is the whole surprise aspect and the build up. Some people didn’t think it was that important to reveal who you had, but it was important not revealing anything about the gift itself.
“My favorite part of Secret Santas is the element of surprise, I love the idea of not knowing what you’re going to get and who’s gonna give it to you. I think the secret element is one of the most fun parts about it, otherwise you’re just giving gifts,” said Lydie Church, a local high schooler.
“I really love the whole reveal of not only finding out who gave you the gift but seeing the person’s reaction,” said Meava Welffens, a local seventh grader.
Even though Secret Santas are fun, there are some flaws to the concept. For example it can be hard to find a gift for a person you don’t know very well or it could be hard to figure out how much to spend.
“It’s stressful if you see someone opening the gift you gave them and then they don’t like it and you can see it in their face,” said Anya.
Nooshon Farhadi, a seventh grader from Fairfax, said, “The hardest part is finding a gift they will like especially if you don’t really know them. It’s really awkward when you get them a gift they obviously hate.”
All the excitement of the surprise can also lead to unreal expectations.
“It’s disappointing if you put a lot of effort into the gift you gave someone else then the gift you got wasn’t very good,” said Anya.
Also the name can be controversial and some people who don’t celebrate Christmas find it offensive.
“I like the whole concept, but I don’t really like the name. Nothing about it is religious — why does it have to be called a Secret Santa,” said Shiri Feil, a seventh grader from Reston. “I find it funny that even my Hebrew class even did one.”
Some of the issues can be solved easily and others are just small imperfections that come along with holiday traditions.
“To make them better I would make everyone fill out a sheet about what they like,” said Nooshon Farhadi, “so we can get everyone more personal gifts.”
“I think setting a price range would be super helpful so everyone gets a gift of equal value,” said Lydie.
Even though it has some flaws, Secret Santas are just a fun holiday tradition.
“I really love Secret Santas and they have become one of my favorite holiday traditions,” said Lydie.