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Secret Santa may not be as old as most modern Christmas traditions, and it’s certainly not as old as Christmas itself, but someday someone decided that they didn’t want to stop believing in Santa just because they’re older and gave us the gift of the game that is Secret Santa.

At Zircly, we’ve embarked on a journey to redefine and elevate this tradition, especially for people separated by time and space. 

But First, What Is Secret Santa?

Many cultures around the world have different names for Secret Santa. The US and UK call it Secret Santa, Ireland knows it as Kris Kringel or Kris Kindle, Germany knows it as Wichtein, and Autstria knows it as Engerl-Bengrel. In the Philippines, it’s called Monito-Monita, in the Dominican Republic- Angelito, in Brazil- Amigo Secreto, and in India- Chris-mom Chris-child.

You might find it surprising that so many cultures play the game, until you remember the pain of finding out Santa isn’t real, especially if you are from a culture where kids believe in Santa Claus wholeheartedly.

Secret Santa – Origins and Evolution

The tradition is believed to originate from a Scandinavian Tradition called “Julklapp.”

The term “Julklapp” translates to Christmas present and in the context of the ritual, it means “Christmas knock” in English. This tradition dates back to at least the 18th century and involves a game where participants knock on each other’s doors, leave a gift, and then quickly disappear. The goal is for the recipient to guess the gift giver’s identity.

The tradition as we know it today can be traced back to 20th Century USA. The term ‘Secret Santa’ was birthed in the 70s and was used to describe a game in which people anonymously gave gifts to others, often in the workplace, during the Christmas season.

Over the course of the last 50 years, Secret Santa has since become a widely adopted and enjoyable tradition in many workplaces, schools, and other social groups around the world.

Why Should Workplaces Play Secret Santa

Secret Santa is fun. Whether you know that from playing the game, from hearing other’s accounts of playing the game, or this post so far, there’s no denying that Secret Santa is fun.

Other than playing to have fun, here are 5 ways workplaces can benefit from playing Secret Santa:

🎄It helps strengthen connections by giving people the chance to connect on a personal level.

🎄It helps break down hierarchies. Since everyone is anonymous you could be getting gifts from the CEO, but you would never know. 

🎄It injects fun into the workplace. With the new year around the corner, it brings in the festivities and the joy of the end of the year, and in the case of people who dread the holidays, it might serve as a respite from the heaviness.

🎄It promotes creativity in communication since everyone has to learn to communicate yet stay anonymous. 

🎄It helps build lasting memories, and over time becomes a cultural thread that that connects various teams and departments.

🎄It helps employees acknowledge each other’s personal lives and unique interests, creating a genuine interest in the other person’s life outside of the professional realm. This acknowledgment promotes a positive work-life balance and contributes to a more holistic view of each team member.

The Secret Santa Playbook

Secret Santa is widely adapted and played, meaning there are slight variations in how it should be played often adopted to fit the context of the community playing the game. Thankfully, the gameplay isn’t as murky as UNO.

By default though irrespective of who is playing and where, there are some things you’ll find everywhere – the roles and the basic rules.

The Players

There are two kinds of players in the game- the Gifter, and the Giftee. The Gifter, or the Secret Santa as we call them, gives the Giftee, or the Little Elf, clues through gifts or tasks, and the latter is supposed to figure out who the Gifter is.

The Secret Santa’s Goal is to give without being found out, and the Little Elf’s goal is to find their Secret Santa as early as possible.

The Rules

The essential rules, the basic rules of the game are as follows:

  1. Everyone who wants to play must draw names. 
  2. All players will at the same time be someone’s Secret Santa and someone’s Little Elf.
  3. The Secret Santa must give the Little Elf, either tasks, gifts, or clues in some other form.
  4. The Little Elf must try to figure out who their Secret Santa is as soon as possible, and definitely before Reveal Day.
  5. On Reveal Day, the Secret Santas reveal their identity to the Little Elves and give their Little Elves their Christmas Presents.
  6. The games can start at any point before Christmas, but Reveal Day is usually Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, or in the case of workplaces and schools, the last working day before Christmas.

Different groups and communities make small modifications to the rules so everyone can have fun. Some set a budget limit and some don’t encourage gift-giving before reveal day, but the basic rules remain unchanging for the most part.

Secret Santa With Zircly

In a time where distance is no longer a barrier for communities, Zircly brings Secret Santa into the virtual realm with all the fun and zero hassle.

Zircly facilitates secure and anonymous communication, allowing participants to give tasks and clues with ease. Real-time updates and notifications keep the excitement alive, and the ability to update wishlists ensures that each participant receives a gift perfectly suited to their tastes making the Zircly Secret Santa experience just as thrilling as its in-person counterpart.

Unwrap Joy, Build Connections: Zircly’s Secret Santa

As we approach the festive season, there’s no better time to embrace the spirit of giving and connection. Zircly’s Secret Santa isn’t just a game; it’s a journey into the heart of tradition, elevated and reimagined for the modern era. Join us in unwrapping joy, building connections, and making this holiday season truly special.

Ready to embark on your Secret Santa adventure? Visit Zircly now and let the magic unfold!

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