Many have the tradition of “Secret Santa”…where you draw names and each person is assigned someone to buy a secret gift for. As a young family, we did what we now call: “Secret Santa…with a Twist”. With four kids who were all pre-teens and teens – the parents decided the gifts and commercialism needed to be toned down and the thoughtful actions and kindness to each other needed to be pumped up. This is our take on a tradition that encourages family time and thoughtfulness along with gift giving.
We would all come home and my mom would set a cute Christmas table for one of our favorite dinners…(we were all huge fans of spaghetti!) On the table was a small bowl to draw names from. We’d enjoy our dinner together and when we were done, everyone picked a name. Once we had our “Secret Santa” picked out, it was up to each of us to think of something nice, helpful, and thoughtful to do for our chosen person each day for about a week. It couldn’t be a material gift, but had to be something that meant even more: taking over doing the dishes for a night…or wiping up the counters for someone or even making a simple secret snack or cup of tea (on the sly) for one another.
We always had fun with it, as when we were done doing our special Secret Santa duties…we’d leave a little tag or note saying “Secret Santa was here”. Sometimes it would be attached to the dishwasher that had been emptied, or to the broom used to sweep up, or left next to someone’s freshly made bed. And when we finally got to confess who’d been helping who…it was always a great laugh because some of those “gifts” could get pretty creative.
I’m pretty lucky to have such awesome siblings, and thoughtful and creative parents. Try doing this kind of “Secret Santa” with your family! I’ll bet you’ll love what it brings out in the people you love. (And you might get your dishes done for you…score!)
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