Help For Growing Families – Secret Santas


As our family has grown, we have started something that is so helpful to us around this time each year. We started off with our children buying Christmas gifts for each other, which is easy to do when there are relatively few of them. As the numbers grew, it started to get really ridiculous – with the number of children ‘s gift exchanges heading up to the 30+ range! This presented several problems – first of which was that usually Mom and Dad were footing the bill for all of these gifts, since most of the children were too little to have a steady income. And second – do you know how long it takes to open all of those gifts? We’re one of those families that takes turns one by one opening so that everyone can see and enjoy what the others have received. And third – they really don’t need that many presents – our house is full enough already!

So, I think around about the 5th or 6th child, we started what we call Secret Santas. Early in the season, I write each child’s name on a slip of paper and put them all in a Christmas basket. Each child draws a slip of paper and, as long as it doesn’t have his own name on it, they give it to me to record on the master list. The name they drew is the person that they will buy a Christmas gift for that year. This name is kept a secret until Christmas morning when the gifts are unwrapped.


This has been such a great thing for our family! The children get so excited about drawing each year and they love keeping the secret all season long from each other – there’s always lots of fun whispering and plotting!

The names were drawn this year at Jeff’s birthday dinner last month and several gifts have been purchased already. Let the fun begin!

Visit Mother Hen at Ship Full O’ Pirates for more great tips for growing families! Mr. Linky was acting up over there the last time I checked, but some of the links are posted in the comments of Mother Hen’s post.



2 Responses

  1. Ya know, Nancy, we never have done this, but I think I may implement your plan this year. We surely don’t need a bunch of gifts, just for the sake of gift-giving.
    Sorry ’bout the Linky problem. It’s not me, it’s Mr. Linky’s server. I hope they get it fixed soon.

  2. HAHAHAHA! That would NEVER work for my husband…he can’t keep secrets and if he bought a present early, by the second day he’d make you open it.

    Otherwise…it’s a great idea. We do that with my husband’s family (3 brothers and 1 sister)…draw names for family gifts.

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