How to throw the best Secret Santa party with your besties

'Tis the season of gift-giving and holiday cheer! If you and your crew heart gift exchanges, Christmas and parties, you need to host a Secret Santa party this winter break. Secret Santa is the perf activity for your squad to get to know each other *even* better while spending quality festive time together. So pick up your calendar, ornaments and wrapping paper—it's time to plan!

Let the name-drawing begin

Organizing a Secret Santa isn't something you want to procrastinate on if you want the gift exchange to go smoothly and stress-free! We suggest planning everything at least three weeks before the party so that all of the besties have ample time to buy their gifts. Scrambling to get a last-minute present = not fun.

For deciding who each person's Secret Santa will be, you can def go the old-fashioned route and draw slips of paper from a hat—but if you'd rather be tech-savvy, we suggest free online platforms like Elfster. With Elfster, you can draw names, create wishlists and set dates all in *one* place. How easy is that?

Set a gift budget

Deciding on a budget for the gifts is a *must*. Collectively discuss with your BFFs to set a maximum price that everyone is comfortable with, whether it's $15 or $50. That way, no one will feel pressured by the money, and everyone's gifts will be in a similar price range. It's a win-win.

Deck the halls of your home

Now it's time to decorate your house to make it extra festive! Start by draping some sparkly string lights on the walls, then add tons of tinsel on stairway railings and banisters. Toss a couple of holiday throw pillows on the couches to complete the look. Oh, and a Christmas tree is a must, ofc! When it comes to decorations? The more the merrier.

Serve your fave winter desserts

Don't forget to stock up on all our fave in-season snacks. We're talking gingerbread, candy canes and hot chocolate (preferably with mini marshmallows and whipped cream on top!) Whether you go for a buffet-style feast or a classy charcuterie board, just make sure there are plenty of tasty treats to go around as you open presents and sing along to "Santa Tell Me."

Guessing game

Before the party, ask your besties to label their gift with just the recipient's name. Why? So that everyone can go around, open their gift and guess who it's from! The room will def be filled with giggles as people recount the time that their BFF not-so-conspicuously asked what their fave candy was. Presents, friendship, gratitude and carols—what could be better?

Check out these festive winter posts for more:
🎁 How to host the cutest gingerbread house party for your crew
🎁 10 things you *need* to do before winter is over
🎁 DIY holiday gifts for your girls (that you can make in 5 minutes or less!)

Tag us in your squad's Secret Santa party pics on Instagram @girlslifemag!

All GIFs via GIPHY | Top image: @sara.cathcart | Slider image: Unsplash

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by Melanie Dowling and Jinny Kim | 12/7/2022