Is there anything better than finding the perfect Secret Santa gift for your BFF just in time for the holiday season? No, there is not. It's the absolute best. If you're feeling the pressure, or just need some ideas to jumpstart your shopping, check out these best friend Secret Santa 2017 gift ideas. You may want to snag one for yourself too, then you can be twinsies! (Don't worry, that's the only time I'll use that word in this article. Had to get it out of my system.)
Secret Santa is a game that is divisive to say the least, though the rules themselves are simple. Everyone writes their name down on a piece of paper and puts it into the Secret Santa receptacle — usually a holiday-themed hat of some kind because, you know, 'tis the season or whatever. Each participant draws a name out of the hat/stocking/box/you get the point. That name — Shhhh! Don't say it out loud! — is the person for whom you are anonymously responsible, gift-wise. Because of the general nature of Secret Santa, there's often a price cap. For those worried their budget (which is essentially everyone), don't worry: everything on this list is either $10 or less. I gotchu.
While Secret Santa, in essence, is supposed to encourage fun and spread holiday cheer, there are many of us (myself included) who find the whole premise a bit, uh, stressful. Also, the presents are often opened in front of the entire group, so that's two stressful moments right there. You hope to goddess that the person you picked likes the gift and the person who picked you did a good job as well. Otherwise, it's several instances of people trying to "do acting" in a surprised way, which is making me cringe just thinking about it.
Help. Help helpehlephlephhelphelphelp.
Then of course, there's Secret Santa's bratty little cousin, White Elephant or "Yankee Swap." And every year, someone tries to ~change things up~ and turn a casual game of Secret Santa into a passive aggressive battle of presents.
White Elephant involves everyone bringing in a gift, placing it in the center of a circle and then taking turns either picking a new gift or stealing one that's already been claimed by someone else. It's, uh... it's something. There's a reason why a number of sitcoms, most notably The Office, have covered the phenomenon of White Elephant. Because it's rife with laughably awful moments and tense interactions with friends and co-workers. What says "holiday spirit" more than that, huh?
So where does the practice of Secret Santa, a distinctly Western tradition, come from? There are a few theories, but the most common explanation points to "Julklapp," a Scandinavian holiday. "Jul," meaning "Christmas," and "klapp," which translates to "knocking," involves Knecht Rupert, or "Servant" Rupert, who helps out Saint Nicholas, going from house to house, knocking on doors, throwing the presents inside and then scamping away before being seen. The general idea — giving presents anonymously and with the element of surprise — continues today in Scandinavian countries. You're welcome to infuse your own Secret Santa event with a bit of julklapp magic — listen, sneaking up to your BFF's cubicle, throwing a present at them and then running away is, at the very least, unexpected.
So now that we've covered the pros and cons of Secret Santa, its history and why you should absolutely be lobbing gifts at your loved ones this holiday season, are you finally ready to shop? Duh. Let's get to it, then.