GeekMom Holiday Traditions: Secret Santa Geek-Style

Like GeekMom Amy, my family participates in a gift exchange every year. We’ve gone the Secret Santa route to save money and add even more enjoyment to the gift-giving experience.

Not only do we keep the name we’ve picked a secret, like a traditional Secret Santa, we’ve also started adding themes to our gift exchange to give it a bit of a fun challenge.

Here are the basics for a Secret Santa gift exchange, along with some twists on Secret Santa themes for a grand geeky gift-giving gala.

Secret Santa Basics

If this is your first Secret Santa rodeo, don’t fret! There isn’t too much involved in setting the exchange up.

1. Draw names from a hat (or a virtual hat like Elfster) to see who has who. This usually takes a few attempts with a real hat because someone invariably draws their own name.

2. Set a price limit and a date for the exchange.

3. Choose a theme, like one of the examples below.

4. Procrastinate and Google “Secret Santa ideas.”

5. Panic and order something like a King Kong whisk, which is actually a pretty awesome gift.

6. Exchange gifts. You can reveal yourself as the giver immediately, or let the recipient try to guess.

Secret Santa Theme Ideas

Themes for your Secret Santa gift exchange give everyone equal footing for a starting point, in case you happen to draw a co-worker who started two days ago or a family member you haven’t seen in years. Themes also give you the chance to show off your creativity in front of your family, which is what Christmas is all about. You can even combine themes, like “handmade” and “Doctor Who,” if your family particularly enjoys a challenge.

• Handmade gifts. This doesn’t necessarily mean something you made; we called it “the Etsy Christmas” the year we chose that theme.

• Gifts that start with the letter of the recipient’s first name.

• Gifts that start with a randomly chosen letter.

• Gifts of a specific color.

• Fandom gifts from a common family love, such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel or DC Comics, and the like. Many franchises have official stores, and Etsy again is a phenomenal resource for unique gifts.

• Board games – we have several suggestions!

• Books or comic books.

• Gifts only from a particular store, like ThinkGeek or WeLoveFine, or only local stores and small businesses.

If you have an idea for a theme, or even a go-to Secret Santa gift, share it in the comments below!

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Kelly Knox is a freelance writer in Seattle, WA, where she contributes to local parenting magazines. She also writes for StarWars.com, Geek & Sundry, and more. You can find crafts and art projects for geeky families at her blog The St{art} Button.