The rise of Secret Santa: Families turning to budgeting method to save this Christmas

Secret Santa gift in front of fire

Secret Santa, where you give gifts anonymously, started life in Scandinavia. In Sweden it is known as Julklapp, a combination of “Jul”, which means ‘Christmas’, and “Klapp”, which means “knocking.” Tradition dictates that you knock loudly on the door, then when it is opened throw the gift into the room. Or if you are more sensible, you knock, then leave it on the doorstep before anyone opens the door.

Secret Santa has become popular in the UK, and this year it’s likely to become even more popular, particularly among large families looking for ways to spend less. More than a third of families have taken part in Secret Santa in the past, according to a survey carried out by Sook – a company that installs pop-up shops in empty stores – and this year, more than half (55 per cent) are thinking of doing so, it says.

Research by online auction site eBay revealed that 29 per cent of Brits are planning to spend less on Christmas this year, with gift giving looking set to bear the brunt – almost a third of consumers (31 per cent) said they plan to buy fewer gifts this year compared to last year.

For those that don’t know, the idea of Secret Santa is you are randomly allocated the name of one person who you will buy for within an agreed budget. You must keep your identity as the giver a secret – this is necessary because the person who receives it guesses who it’s from. The idea is that instead of buying presents for a whole group of people, you buy for just one.

When setting your maximum budget, compromise is key to ensure everyone can afford to take part. Too low, and it’s a miserable Christmas. Too high, and you are setting up awkward obligations.

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