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A Different Kind of Gift-Giving: Shh! It's a Secret

posted Dec 5, 2013, 4:32 AM by Unknown user   [ updated May 14, 2014, 10:27 AM by Unknown user ]

Madi Endicott

        With Thanksgiving over and a few extra pounds to keep warm for the winter, we can finally start celebrating the most wonderful time of the year: Christmas! The lights that decorate nearly every house, the sound of bells outside the grocery store, and the wearing of ugly red and green sweaters are a few of the many Christmas traditions that mark this special season. But the most popular tradition and the one that first comes to mind when thinking of Christmas is the gift-giving.

Of course, there’s the inevitable Christmas morning demolition of presents that every kid looks forward to, and the ever-popular and hilarious white elephant exchange, but a different method of gift-giving has started to become more popular among teenagers, especially here at Van Buren.

Many VB students, including the girls’ basketball team, celebrate Christmas through Secret Santa. Secret Santa is an inexpensive gift-giving game where a group of people put their name into a hat, and each person draws a name from it. They will be responsible to buy a Christmas present only for the person that they draw.

Senior Robyn Flick takes part in one of the VB friend groups that play Secret Santa around this time of year. In regards to drawing names she said, with a laugh, “We always end up having to draw [names] twice because we always mess it up.”

Junior Rachel Wymer participates in two Secret Santa groups: one with her friend group, and another with the basketball team.

“For basketball we write on a slip of paper our favorite hobbies and things we like, then give them all to Coach and draw from him. We do this so we have some idea of what to get each other,” she explained about the girls’ basketball team’s name-drawing process.

Normally, groups put a price cap of around $10-20 for the gift which makes it a lot more affordable than buying everyone gifts, all while still enjoying and celebrating Christmas with your friends.

“It’s hard to get gifts for everyone and you can spend more time on one person,” Flick stated.

One of the best things about Secret Santa is, not only is it cheaper than buying all of your friends a gift, but you can make the gift more personalized and meaningful. Getting your Secret Santa the perfect present is crucial. If you don’t know what they like, try to get the inside scoop from their sibling, or a copy of their Christmas list from their mom, or take a look at their Pinterest boards. Pinterest also has a lot of unique and creative ideas in general and it’s full of easy DIYs to help make your present something they’ll absolutely love!

Part of the fun of the game is guessing who had who when the gifts are exchanged, which is usually at a big Christmas party, so it is customary that all Secret Santas remain secret (hence the name of the game).

Wymer described how the basketball team celebrates their gift exchange, “We go to Coach’s house and we bring a dish, almost always only desserts, and we hang out, play games, and exchange gifts. It’s a lot of fun.”

Flick’s group gets together at a friend’s house and has a “crazy” Christmas party. “I love when [my Secret Santa] opens [the present]. I want them to like it, but they always know it’s me because I’m staring at them,” Flick said.

Overall, Secret Santa is a great way to get in the holiday spirit, have fun, and bond with friends.

“I suggest people to do Secret Santa because it is a cool high school experience,” Wymer advised.

So pick up a new tradition this year by getting involved in some Secret Santa fun with your family, friends, or sports team and you'll be sure to have yourself a very merry Christmas!