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Which is best? Kris Kringle, Secret Santa or Dirty Santa


It’s that time of year again. Time to organise the office Kris Kringle gift exchange. If your workplace doesn’t do one, then maybe this is the year to start! A workplace gift exchange is a great way to relax and get in to the spirit of the festive season with your work friends.

There are a couple of different ways to handle a gift exchange, it’s all down to the personality of your team.


KRIS KRINGLE/SECRET SANTA (keeping things civil)

In case you’ve ever wondered “Kris Kringle” and “Secret Santa” are the same thing. It’s easy, fun and festive. Here’s what you do: Write all participants names down on separate pieces of paper and pop them in a hat. Everybody each picks a name and voila! That’s who they buy a gift for. In some versions of this game it’s not just a name but a whole survey including the participants favourite colours, stores, hobbies and foods but if you all know each other relatively well this probably isn’t necessary. Be sure to set a price limit and remember, don’t tell anyone who you’re buying for, it’s supposed to be a secret.

Gifts are wrapped and labelled and placed in a communal area, they are then passed out by a “host”. The “secret” part of this is that the gift is from “Santa”, the receiver doesn’t know who gave the gift. The fun part is that this usually becomes a bit of a guessing game and often all is revealed.

Gifts are best given out during a team lunch with a glass of champagne in hand, while wearing a Santa hat.

DIRTY SANTA (this could get rowdy)

Similar to Secret Santa but much more fun, with the potential for a ruckus! In this game each participant brings a gift worth a pre-determined amount, the gift should be suitable for both men and women. All gifts are placed in a common area. Now pay attention, this gets tricky, for the sake of this explanation let’s assume there are 10 people in your group:

Write the numbers 1-10 on separate pieces of paper and put them in a hat

Everybody chooses their number, there’s no need to keep the order a secret, participants can swap numbers

Player #1 selects a gift from the pile, opens it and shows it off to the group

Player #2 now has a choice, take a gift from the pile or “steal” the gift that #1 has

If #2 steals #1’s gift #1 gets to choose another gift, then it’s #3’s turn to either choose or steal and so on and so on

A gift is to be retired if it is held by the same player 3 times, meaning if #2 picks a mug and that mug is stolen and then he/she steals it back and ends up with it 3 times, on the 3rd go the gift is retired and therefore belongs to #2

The game ends when there are no more gifts left on the table and everybody has something

This game works best if the gifts are good. No re-gifting that rose hand lotion from Nana 3 years ago. As an incentive for players to bring great gifts why not implement a prize for “best gift”. A way to do this would be to have each player throw $1 in to a jar at the beginning of the game, the person who brought the first gift to be retired wins the pot.

COS can help with your office gift exchange event with loads of catering supplies like disposable plates, cups and cutlery as well as a selection of office supplies that would be great for gifting!