Doing a family Secret Santa might sound a little strange at first, but when you’re on a budget something has to give. During our debt-free journey, we couldn’t afford to give big and lavish gifts to our loved ones during the holidays. We didn’t want to be cheap during the holidays and give items that weren’t wanted or just tossed away in a few days. So instead we decided to implement the popular office game of secret Santa. It was a perfect solution for us to give one good gift to our loved ones and not make the holidays about money or debt.
Are you like my family and want to celebrate the holidays in a budget-friendly way? Then here are the 4 tips I recommend to do before you implement secret Santa to your budget-friendly holiday.
Tip 1: Set the Rules
Being clear on how your family wants to do secret Santa. This is a big deal because if you make it seem like an office game everyone will get turned off. One thing we did was to only do secret Santa between the adults and allow everyone to give one gift to each child. Since my family only has 3 kids, my youngest sister, and my two toddlers, this was an easy sell. Everyone wanted to see the kids smile from ear to ear on Christmas morning and share their unique gift.
Tip 2: Make Modifications
Make modifications to how your family will do secret Santa, don’t feel like you have to play as it was designed. One modification we made was to gift stocking stuffer to each person on Christmas. Maybe because my family is mostly women, we love gifting fuzzy socks, candles, and personal care items. This makes it fun because everyone gets one main gift and several small gifts. That way everyone feels like they got more than one gift and they get a chance to personalize the holiday.
Tip 3: Set a Budget
During our debt-free journey, we had to make the budget crystal clear with everyone. We set a budget of $50 per adult and it was up to you to maximize that budget. If you want to go over $50 you’ve made a choice and can’t expect everyone to go over budget. This would beat the purpose of sticking to a budget. So it was a little bit of a shocker to some at first, but after a few Christmas’s they got the gist of it. If your family wants to do a higher budget that is fine. Just remember if you’ve decided to do stocking stuffers that you need to account for those costs as well.
Tip 4: Pick Names Early
Decided how you are going to pick names for Secret Santa and that you keep it a surprise. We made it a tradition to pick names out of a bowl the night of Thanksgiving. Another option, if you’re not able to meet in person, is to use websites like elfster.com that randomly picks your secrete Santa.
Tip 5: Plan your Gift Strategy to Save Money
One of the main reasons we pick the day after Thanksgiving to pick names is to take advantage of Black Friday deals. We would usually all go to the outlets and try to get our secret Santa gifts and finish our holiday shopping. Thanks to Rakuten and online shopping this has allowed us to maximize our coins during the holidays. I suggest thinking of thoughtful gifts for your whole family. Once you find out who you picked for secret Santa start price checking your gift ideas and buy early on. The worst is not planning out what you want to buy and buy it at the last minute. That could ruin your budget and holiday if it doesn’t come in on time.
Secret Santa might sound boring and limiting to some, but for us, it’s become a fun holiday game. We don’t have to buy expensive gifts to show how much we love one another. Instead, we’ve decided to have fun as a family and keep the holiday spirit in a budget-friendly mood. The last tip I want to share is to wrap your gifts early. This is something my family members never do and it’s always a run to the store for tape and bows. I hope you enjoy the budget cuts we made during our debt-free journey that we still practice today.
Have a special holiday and please stay safe.