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Fun alternatives to Secret Santa

Kari Shea 177424

‘Tis the season for that workplace favourite – the annual round of Secret Santa!

But while some people adore watching the fun unfold, others are filled with dread that they have to buy a gift for someone they barely know. Or worse: getting it wrong and seeing Sandra from HR getting upset because she didn’t like the deodorant kit!

Well, for those of you who are looking for an alternative to the traditional Secret Santa game, we’ve come up with some fab alternatives that will take the anxiety out of yuletide gift-giving.

1. Play Festive Vouchers 

The aim of the game is to get people to do something lovely for someone in the office.  It’s also a great way for people to get to know their workmates a little better. 

How to play:

  1. Just like traditional Secret Santa, everyone needs to draw a name to be matched with someone in the office
  2. Now it’s time for everyone to get creative and create a special voucher for their recipient
  3. Vouchers could be for a cup of tea they can cash in whenever they like, a free lunch or the promise to buy them a bar of chocolate one Friday afternoon.

2. Winter Wonder(pound)land

It doesn’t matter how well you know the person — all you have to do is find the silliest gift for £1!

How to play:

  1. Standard rules apply - everyone needs to draw a name to be matched with someone in the office
  2. Once everyone knows who they’re buying for, they need to find the most magical gift for £1
  3. Swap on Secret Santa day and enjoy the fun!

3. Guess The Gift

Like Pass the Parcel, but for grown-ups!

How to play:

  1. Everyone buys a gift up to the value of £5, on the condition that it must be unusually shaped
  2. The gift is wrapped and placed in a pile and players pick numbers out of a bag to decide the order of play
  3. The first player tries to guess what the gift is and if they can’t, the gift must be passed on to the next player
  4. The player who guesses correctly keeps the gift and if nobody guesses correctly, a clue is given and the cycle begins again

4. Magical Mystery Bags

A lovely way to spread festive cheer with a thoughtful bag full of Christmas treats!

How to play:

  1. Everyone buys a small gift bag and fills it with some of their favourite festive treats, like chocolate bars, candy canes and even tree decorations
  2. Players pick numbers out of a bag to decide the order of play
  3. Players then they choose the bag they most like the look of and discover what’s inside their mystery bag of gifts

5. Pirate Santa

Perfect for those who always get gift envy!

How to play:

Everyone buys a funny novelty gift up to the value of £5

All gifts are wrapped and placed in a pile

  1. Players pick numbers out of a bag to decide the order of play
  2. The player selects a gift
  3. The next player now has the option to choose a new gift from the pile or ‘steal’ the previous person’s gift
  4. If they opt to ‘steal’, then the previous person can choose a new unwrapped gift or ‘steal’ from someone else
  5. The game lasts until everyone has a present

6. Yuletide auction

A great way for people to give away something they no longer want and get a brand-new gift.

How to play:

  1. Everyone brings in an item of entertainment that they’re happy to give away, such as a book, a DVD or a board game
  2. Each item is then auctioned off
  3. Players are allocated 50 tokens to bid with. The highest bidder wins the item
  4. The game ends when there are no more items to bid on, or when players have run out of tokens
  5. In the event of two or more players bidding the maximum amount, the auctioneer asks a series of trivia questions. The player who gets the most answers correct wins

If you want to make it extra special, you could charge £5 for each person to play and donate the money to charity.

Christmas Secret Santa Bake

7. Christmas Cook-off

A fantastic way to discover new recipes.

How to play:

  1. Everyone decides on a maximum spend amount
  2. Each player finds a Christmas-themed recipe and buys the ingredients for it
  3. The ingredients and recipe are wrapped up together and placed in a pile, with a number allocated to each
  4. Players draw numbers out of a bag to see which recipe they have to experiment with

8. Santa’s Little Helpers

How to play:

  1. Everyone decides on a maximum spend limit
  2. Each player is given the name of someone they work with, and must secretly ask that person’s colleagues what sort of present they’d like, helping to take the pressure off the gift buyer
  3. Using the gathered information, the player decides which gift to buy

Fun for everyone

Which alternative Secret Santa game do you fancy trying out this Christmas?

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