Fun Secret Santa Gift Exchange Ideas – 2021

Easy Fun Gift Exchange Ideas

How to make gift exchanges easy and stress-free with these games, and bonus printable gift idea questionnaires to make gift buying painless!

Our family does a Secret Santa gift exchange every year. I always find it is a great way to focus on one or two people instead of 10+. It allows me to come up with a thoughtful gift, and as a bonus it saves precious time and money.

You may find yourself part of a Secret Santa gift exchange this year for family, work, and/or friends. Perhaps you have lots of experience and are looking for new ideas.

Maybe you are part of a Secret Santa this year and are clueless about how it all works (it’s okay, we’re all newbies at some point).

Don’t worry! I have done the homework, and put together an easy guide for gift exchanges this year! You will find everything from the traditional Secret Santa to several awesome gift exchange variations.

I even added several Secret Santa Questionnares that are free, downloadable/printable, and are sure to take a lot of the guesswork out of buying gifts!

Are you ready to have an easy and fun gift exchange for the holidays this year? Let’s get started!

What is the Traditional Secret Santa?

Hint: Gift Exchange

Fun Secret Santa Gift Exchange - Woman doing gift wrapping
Photo by from Pexels

You may be wondering “What the heck is a Secret Santa?”.

The definition of a Secret Santa according to is “an arrangement in which a group of friends or colleagues exchange Christmas presents anonymously, each member of the group being assigned another member for whom to provide a small gift, typically costing no more than a set amount. “

The gift giver should remain anonymous according to the rules, however there are variations to the game. For instance, because our Secret Santa is with family we include a gift tag with the name of the gift giver.

The way a traditional Secret Santa works is very simple. Here are the basics:

  1. You place all participants names into hat, box, or other container and mix them up.
  2. Each person chooses a name from the container, and keeps the name a secret.
  3. He or she will now buy a gift for the person they selected.
  4. The participants agree upon a price limit, and set a date/time for the exchange.
  5. The gifts are wrapped and labeled with only the name of the person receiving the gift.
  6. You will find the gift with your name on it at the exchange, and then try to guess who gave it to you. The giver will have to confess if you can’t guess.

Fun Gift Exchange Ideas

Traditional Secret Santa & Awesome Alternatives


I was wondering what some other fun gift exchange games and ideas would be, and did some homework to find out. The good news is there are a lot of choices!

I found 8 Fun Family Gift Exchange Ideas from It is a great article with details on how to do each gift exchange, and these will also work for friend or coworker gift exchanges! You can get inspiration from this list to get started!

  1. Drawing Names – Simply drawing a name from a hat. The name you get is who you will give a gift.
  2. White Elephant – A game where amusing and impractical gifts are exchanged, meant to be entertaining.
  3. Secret Santa – Same as drawing names, except the gift giver is anonymous. Typically the recipient will have to guess who gave them the gift.
  4. Grab Bag – Bring an unmarked, wrapped gift to place into the grab bag, and participants reach into the bag and grab a gift.
  5. One Big Gift – Participants pool their money for something they will all enjoy, such as tickets to an event, or something big for their home.
  6. Charitable Giving – Instead of buying gifts, the participants will pool the money they would have spent on gifts to give to a charity or cause.
  7. Musical Gift Game – Participants bring an unmarked wrapped gift. Each gift gets passed around one at a time while a song plays, and the person who has the gift when the music stops gets it.
  8. Gift Theme – Participants will all buy gifts within a particular theme to exchange. The theme could be anything the group chooses.

Secret Santa Questionnaires

Make Gift Buying a Snap!

writing a wish list for Santa - blank paper with red pen and coffee on wood table
Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels


Now comes the hard part. You have to get a gift for someone, and are not sure what to get. How do you solve this mystery? Have everyone fill in a secret Santa questionnaire with their name on it before the drawing! This will take some of the guesswork out of getting someone a gift they will like, and help you avoid getting them what they may consider a terrible gift!

I already did the hard work of finding some questionnaires you can use for your gift exchanges!

Feel free to download or print this one I created for our family to use, and / or this cute one for fun.

As a bonus, I also linked to other lists that are all free printables / downloads to give you more options!

Simple General Secret Santa Questionnaire from!

Great Questionnaire for Work from!

Perfect for Family and Friends Secret Santa Questionnaire from!

Awesome Children’s Wishlist from!


Hot Shopping Tip: Save yourself time and buy gifts online. If you are worried about shipping fees or the amount of time it will take to ship to you, consider trying Amazon Prime. You can get a Free 30-Day Trial of Amazon Prime, and when you order with Amazon Prime you will get Free 2-Day Shipping.

Related Post: Creative DIY Christmas Gift Ideas

Happy Gifting!

Christmas Gift Giving - Picture of Christmas Gifts
Photo by from Pexels

I hope this list has given you a lot of great ideas for your gift exchanges this year. I wish you all the best this holiday season!

If you liked this article and would love to see more holiday stuff, please be sure to check out my Christmas and Thanksgiving boards on Pinterest! I have been busy curating loads of holiday activities, recipes, decor ideas, and much more!

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Do you have any gift exchange ideas, or ways to make the ones in this post even better? Please feel free to share in the comments below. We love to hear from you!

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Secret Santa Questionnaire - Learn About Fun Secret Santa Games and Get Free Printable Questionnaires
Secret Santa Questionnaire - Learn About Fun Secret Santa Games and Get Free Printable Questionnaires

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2 thoughts on “Fun Secret Santa Gift Exchange Ideas – 2021”

  1. Can the “Hints for my Secret Santa” be sent to my email so I can print it out? Thanks! I would like to print this list out for our family gathering here.

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