Blogmas [Day 2]: Ultimate Guide to Hosting Secret Santa Parties

Secret Santa Parties.jpg

Welcome back to Blogmas Day 2! It’s currently finals week for me, so I’ve been busy hitting the books and typing away from my laptop. Every December, I look forward to two things: Holiday Peppermint Hersey Kisses (the red and white stripped ones!) and my friend’s annual Secret Santa party. Karyn, one of my besties from back home, does a wonderful job each year coordinating and hosting a gift exchange party. It’s a great way to get friends together and open presents. 

I have been involved in a lot of Christmas party preparation that involve a gift exchange. This includes helping Karyn with her annual party, hosting one for a school club, and initiating a Secret Santa exchange with my roommates this year. Today, I wanted to share my ultimate guide for hosting a Secret Santa party! I will walk you through from the beginning stages to the end to ensure you will host an amazing party. Let’s get started!


Congrats! You have decided to host a Secret Santa party! About a month before the event date, you should start checking off these tasks:

  • Create a guest list!
    • Round up all your friends, family, and coworkers for this fun gift exchange. Make sure you ask the guests if they would like to participate in Secret Santa. Some people may want to opt out for personal reasons.
  • Set a budget
    • Consider how much you and your guest would like to spend on the presents. It’s best to set a price range because everyone’s gift will have around the same monetary value. It’s will be awkward if you gave a $20 gift and you got a $5 gift because a maximum and minimum wasn’t established!
    • If you want small gifts, set your range from $5 to $10. If you want more thoughtful gifts, aim for around $15 to $25. Tailor your range to be reasonable for you and your guest.

Spreading the Joy

Now that you have checked who’s naughty or nice, it’s time to start the process of Secret Santa!

  • Send out who’s Secret Santa
    • There are different ways to do this:
      • Drawing names out of a hat is the classic way to go!
      • Have a third party person pick the names and tell each person separately.
      • All your guest can’t be physically there to draw names? Use Secret Santa Generator!
        • Last year, the VSA officer board use this to virtually draw name. It’s an easy and great way to randomize your secret santa! It even allows your guest to list and link items on their wishlist!
  • Start a wishlist
    • Have each of your guest send a list of the gifts they would like to receive. This gives the Secret Santa an idea of what to buy.
    • You can also have people write down their interest, favorite color, or favorite animal. If gives the Secret Santa more freedom on what gift to buy.
    • This was an idea that my friend group back home started. It has been a lifesaver when it comes to buying gifts. It takes out the guess work of buying presents.

Deck the Hall [for the party]

When it comes to the holiday season, I become Buddy the ELF. I get so excited over Christmas decoration and making my place look festive. Here’s your checklist to making your party a big hit this season!

  • Brainstorm activities for the party
    • Karyn highly recommends planing your activities ahead of time. It gives you an idea of how long your party will go and gives you a back up plan in case the party runs dry. She also reminds you that it’s totally fine if you don’t get to do every activity on your list! The important thing is having fun as a hostess.
    • My friends and I love to include dinner, card games, karaoke, and a dance party as activities at our party.
    • Pinterest has great ideas for party activities! Check it out!
  • Plan the menu 
    • Potluck is one of my favorite ways to take care of food and drinks for a party. 
      • Don’t forget to create a list for your guests to sign up for what they would like to bring!
    • Catering 
      • Many restaurants and eating establishments cater! This means you get delicious food without having to wash dishes afterwards! Joy to the world! 
    • Home cooked dinner
      • Nothing can beat a home cooked meal with friends and family. If you’re up for the challenge, you can cook it all yourself. Or have your friends help you cook a recipe that you found on Pinterest!
  • Design a photo booth
    • A photo booth is a great way to engage your guests. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love taking pictures?
    • Add in props to keep things fun and interesting!
    • Again, Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration for party decoration.

      2015’s photobooth setup at Karyn’s Christmas party!


You’re almost to the finish line! Just a few more things to check off before you throw the best Secret Santa party ever!

  • Create a party playlist
    • Karyn is known for having a Spotify playlist for every ocassion and mood! She recommends creating or finding a playlist catered to your party atmosphere. Make sure there’s hours of songs on it so you can sing, dance, and laugh the night away!
    • Alix from A Pint Sized Life has a great list of classic Christmas covers! Check it out here!
  • Designate a place for presents
    • It’s always awkward walking into a party and not knowing where to put the party. Create a place for guests to put their gift so they can go mingle with others and grab a drink!

Congratulations! You have made it to the end of your Secret Santa hosting checklist! I hope you enjoy this step by step guide of how to host your own party. I will see you again on Thursday for Blogmas Day 3!

My question of the day for you is what song(s) would you include on your festive party playlist? My favorite song is Baby it’s Cold Outside by Michael Buble!

– Kim 🙂


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