It’s December so the holiday season is in full swing. And you know what that means! It’s that time of year again to do Secret Santa. So grab your notebook paper, write down all of your friends’ names on little scraps, and have everyone pick from a hat who they will be assigned to give a gift to!
Although people are often familiar with, and have taken part in Secret Santa, many do not know the origins of it. According to Bustle, the “first Secret Santa,” was a millionaire philanthropist named Larry Dean Stewart. It all began in December of 1979 when he was in a restaurant and saw a waitress in a thin coat at the drive-in. Stewart figured how grueling it must be for her to work frigid days and only earn dimes. He handed her a $20 bill, made her day, and from there on out made it a point to anonymously donate during Christmas time to spread cheer. For over 25 years, Stewart anonymously donated $100 bills to people in Kansas. Later in his life, he even donated $25,000 in $100 bills to people in New York after the 9/11 attacks. It was not until 2006 that he revealed himself as the “Secret Santa” who was donating all of this money.
Stewart’s idea behind being a Secret Santa was to spread the gift of giving, but currently, what ha Secret Santa developed into? Are they an activity that is fun and spreads holiday cheer, or are they just bothersome? Personally, I enjoy Secret Santa. From choosing a friend’s name out of a hat to finding the perfect gift for them, I feel like it is an exciting experience. I am a little biased, however, because I have a passion, and a knack for finding an ideal gift for individual people.
Also, I think that Secret Santa continue to spread the Christmas spirit because they’re rewarding and make everyone happy. It is nice to surprise someone when they receive their gift, and for them to find out that you were their Secret Santa. And on the other side, it’s pleasant to be surprised as well, and see who your Secret Santa is, and what they decided to get you!
Lastly, I like that Secret Santa are more affordable, especially as a college student. You do not have to get everyone in your friend group a gift; you just have to buy one person a gift, but everyone ends up receiving a gift at the same time. It’s a win-win.
Parker Haggerty, senior Finance major said, “My favorite part of Secret Santa is being surprised. The best gift I ever received was when one year, my friend got me an oven mitt. He added, “But my least favorite part of Secret Santa is that someone always spends too much money and someone always tells other people who they have.”
To avoid these downsides, your friend group can set a price limit so everyone gets something in the same price range. For instance, my friends usually make it $20 maximum. And for keeping it a secret, that’s up for every person involved to do!
Around Monmouth University, there are plenty of stores to get Secret Santa gifts from. The Monmouth Mall is only a few miles away and Five Below, Target, and Walmart are just down the road. All of these places have affordable gift options especially now that it is the holiday season.
Overall, Stewart’s ideology behind Secret Santa still rings true today. People may not be anonymously donating to strangers, but anonymously finding gifts for friends continues to spread Christmas cheer.