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5 alternative Secret Santa ideas


We all know that disappointed feeling of opening a Secret Santa present only to find another pair of socks, a mug or a novelty gift that usually goes straight in the bin once we get home. So why not buck the trend this Christmas? We’ve got some great alternative ideas to put the fun back into Secret Santa. And the best part is, instead of the usual disposable tat, our ideas are much more eco-friendly.

A promise voucher

If your budget’s tight, why not give someone the gift of your time instead? Everyone in your Secret Santa group should write down something that they’re willing to do or give - be it baking a cake, a night of babysitting or teaching a skill, like knitting or origami. The promises all get put into a hat, then everyone takes it in turns to pick a promise out to receive as a present. Swaps are allowed! Or, you could use Ungifted Secret Santa, which has lots of great ideas, like giving someone a week of compliments, cleaning their computer screen or taking them for a lunchtime drink. Everyone secretly chooses what they’d like to give and on the big day, you all gather round a screen and find out what promise you’ve been gifted and by who!

A ready-made meal

No, we’re not talking about a microwave meal! Print out your favourite recipe and buy all the ingredients to make it with, ensuring that they will last a few days. Whether it’s your no-fail gooey brownies or a quick but delicious pad thai, what nicer present to give someone than dinner-almost-sorted when they get home from a hectic day at work?

A train ticket to a fun city

What about the gift of a fun day out? If you know a spontaneous soul, why not buy two tickets for the train to York or the train to Blackpool – one is for you of course! Both are fantastic places to visit on a day trip, with a plethora of attractions. It doesn’t have to be expensive; the further ahead you book train tickets, the cheaper train travel is. For example, you can save up to 84% with our Advance tickets, available up to 12 weeks ahead. With the money you save, you can probably treat them to a coffee as well!

Pass the present

Everyone in your Secret Santa group should bring in an item of entertainment from their home that they’ve finished with – be it a lovely hardback book, a DVD or a board game. They must all be in good condition. Each person then gets to pick something else. If two people want the same item, they might have to flip a coin! With this idea, each person gets rid of something they no longer want and gets to take home something that they do. Everyone’s a winner!

Make a playlist

Some of you, ahem, older readers might remember the fun of making a playlist for a friend and how special it was to receive one from someone else. So why not make one for your Secret Santa? Make a list of say, 10 of your favourite songs, or songs that you think the recipient might like. You can burn them onto a CD, create a shared playlist on Spotify, or simply print out a list. Your recipient will appreciate the thought you’ve put into the gift and you get to introduce them to music that means a lot to you. It might begin to mean a lot to them too!

We hope that’s given you some inspiration. Here’s to a sock-free Secret Santa season!

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