It’s no exaggeration to say that Secret Santa is one of the most popular Christmas activities around. And what makes it so much fun? Well, you probably don’t need three guesses for that.
It’s all about the mystery. You’re trying to figure out who your Secret Santa is, and at the same time, taunting the person you’re buying for with tantalizing clues as to your identity.
Of course, figuring out what clues to send is easier said than done. This is one case where you can’t simply steal a few ideas off of the internet. To do it right, you’ll want to fashion your own unique clues using key pieces of information about yourself.
Here are some tips on coming up with Secret Santa clues that are lively, challenging, and just plain cool.
1. Don’t be too specific
Obvious, right? In fact, revealing too much information is a common mistake Secret Santas make. You might be surprised at how seemingly minor details can give away the whole game, especially when pieced together with other clues.
The key is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If you reveal, say, your gender and your first initial, does that eliminate everyone else as a potential Secret Santa? If so, you may want to reconsider your clues, or at least cloak those details in a tough riddle.
Example: Unlike the real Santa, I don’t have white hair. If you guessed a darker color, you’re getting there!
2. Give them a chance
On the other hand, this isn’t a competition (at least not a serious one). You don’t want to make your clue so obscure or vague that only your mom or best friend could possibly guess who you are. Make sure your clues, when combined, at least narrow the possibilities down to a couple of people.
Of course, a lot depends on how well the person knows you. If it’s a coworker you rarely interact with, you’ll have to make your Secret Santa hints fairly obvious. If, on the other hand, it’s a good friend who you talk to every day, make the clues tough – and try not to spill the beans!
Example: Want a little Christmas clue? Your Secret Santa has eyes of blue!
3. Make it festive
If possible, add some Christmas flavor to your Secret Santa clue. And no, I’m not talking about attaching a candy cane to it (although that’s not a bad idea). I’m talking about references to elves, reindeer, snowmen, caroling, Christmas trees, stockings, eggnog, and so on.
If you do some brainstorming, you’ll quickly realize that there’s a virtually endless amount of material to work with. That’s because Christmas is associated with so many different characters, themes, and traditions. If you’re looking for ideas, you can start with these Christmas charades word lists.
Example: When it comes to my stature, I cannot lie: I’m closer to an elf than Santa size!
4. Use a rhyme or poem
To make your Secret Santa clue extra playful, put it in the form of a little rhyme, or even a full-blown poem. It doesn’t have to be a great work of art. The goal is just to put a smile on someone’s face.
For inspiration, you can look at Christmas-themed poems that others have written. In particular, check out the ones for kids, as they’re cute, simple, and short – exactly what you’re aiming for.
Example: 74 is a special number for me. Figure out why, and you might have the key!
5. Use your gift as a clue
It’s traditional to attach a token gift to your Secret Santa clues. This could be a holiday treat or something from the local dollar store. If you can make this little offering tie into your clue, you’re really playing Secret Santa at a high level.
There are a couple of ways to do this. One is to simply refer to the gift in your written clue. Another, trickier option is to send a gift that effectively is a clue because it reflects your personality (just be mindful of Point One above!).
Example: Like this candy cane, I often wear stripes. If you think I’m wearing them today, you might be right!
Wondering what to get for your final (main) gift? Check out this article for ideas that should fit your price range.