A Secret Santa gift circle is a great way to stay in-budget for the holidays.
For anyone who’s not familiar, a gift circle (often called a Secret Santa) is where everyone involved writes their names on slips of paper, and then each person draws a name randomly and buys a present only for that person. So, each person in the circle gets one present. Because you’re only spending money on one present, you can afford to spend a little more than usual on it. It’s helpful to set a maximum or target spending amount so that people gives gifts that are roughly equal in value- depending on the culture and spending power of the group, a max limit of anywhere from $5 to $100 could be appropriate.
My husband’s family used to do the traditional gift-giving scenario for Christmas: everyone bought gifts for everyone. It was fun to give and get lots of presents, but it was also expensive! One year someone broached the idea of doing a Secret Santa gift circle instead, where we would each write our name on a piece of paper, put the names into a hat, and then draw names to determine who would buy for who. We set the limit per gift at $40. Originally we drew names at Thanksgiving, though for shopping convenience we’ve now moved the name-picking date closer to Labor Day. Holiday shopping is so much less stressful now- we have fewer people to shop for, and a set spending limit for the gift circle (it’s now $50 per gift). It’s super fun to show up at our family gathering with our secret gifts, waiting to surprise our gift recipient.
You can suggest a gift circle in lieu of gift exchanges at your work place, for each side of your family, and for groups of friends.
Are you a part of any gift circles for the holidays? If not, do you plan to start one this year?