Secret Santa

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Secret Santa
Type: Group dynamics game
Number of players: 10 or more
Location: everywhere
Equipment: pen & paper, (presents)
Duration: long lasting, but along the way of other activities
Preparation: write cards with names of each participant

Secret Santa is a game that can be played in groups over a longer period of time, along the way of other activities. Of course, it is typically played during Advent near Christmas.


Small sheets of paper, each with the name of a player, are required.

Additionally, during the game, each player needs to give one (or better, several) small presents to give away.


The sheets of paper are shuffled and each player gets one of the sheets. He is now the "Santa" of this player. If any player gets his own name, he just takes another card. So, each player knows the name of another person (and each person is known by some player).

During the following period of time, each Santa has to give small presents to the person he got assigned. Of course, he can also support this person, be nice to him or her, etc. However, each Santa should try not to be identifies, so all this should happen secretly!

Near Christmas, all Santas reveal their identity to the person they gave presents to. Often, this is done in one last, public round of giving presents.

Type and price of presents

Be sure to agree upon the approximate value and probably even the type of the presents given. It should be clear to every participant how many presents he is expected to give and what their value should be, so nobody is disappointed by his Santa while giving away lots of money himself.

Secret Santa on Twitter

A modern variant of this game is nowadays also played via Twitter: Play Secret Santa With Your Twitter Network