Help my family Secret Santa
November 3, 2016 9:00 AM   Subscribe

How can my family arrange Secret Santa in a fair but not Scrooge-like manner? Details below.

There is one grandparent who has four adult children. Each adult child is married.

Couple A have no children.
Couple B have two children.
Couple C have two children.
Couple D has one child.
All couples have one dog.

We phased out adult gifts a while back after a few years of Secret Santa (we used to put all adults, including grandparent, into the hat). All the adults have too much stuff already and nobody really wants anything. We mark Christmas together each year and the children open their gifts with each other. At present, each couple buys a gift for every child that isn’t theirs, i.e. Couple A buy five gifts, Couples B and C buy three gifts and Couple D buys four gifts. The children range between 1 and 9 years old.

How can we organise a Secret Santa for the children without being unfair or killing the spirit of Christmas?

The grandchildren could all do Secret Santa, but then Couple A are essentially excluded from the process. I would like a situation where each couple has to buy at least one gift and each child has something to open but can’t figure out a way to share it out. Is it possible? Do you have any ideas?
posted by bimbam to Human Relations (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
All grandkids and dog names are put into the bowl. All dogs and grandkids get a secret Santa "they" have to buy for. Everyone is buying something, but no one too much. The things to be bought are somewhat proportional to family size. Put a dollar limit as appropriate for the family.

(My dad is in charge of secret Santa for all us adults in the family, I think he also rigs it a little year to year so that those in not great finacial places (me) get those in better ones (my parents) who can sneak something extra in.)
posted by raccoon409 at 9:05 AM on November 3, 2016


There are 5 kids, 4 dogs, and 4 couples. Pair off the dogs together "dog A & B", then "dog C & D" Put each kids name in a bucket, twice, and then the two dog pairs. That's 10 slips of paper. Each couple draws two slips, either getting 2 children, or a kid and 2 dogs, or 4 dogs (dog presents are cheaper and easier than kids presents, but equally as fun to shop for).
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:06 AM on November 3, 2016 [9 favorites]


There are 5 kids, 4 dogs, and 4 couples. Pair off the dogs together "dog A & B", then "dog C & D" Put each kids name in a bucket, twice, and then the two dog pairs. That's 10 slips of paper. Each couple draws two slips, either getting 2 children, or a kid and 2 dogs, or 4 dogs (dog presents are cheaper and easier than kids presents, but equally as fun to shop for).

This is an awesome and very fair idea! I think the math works out to 12 slips of paper and each couple drawing 3 slips, but the concept is great!
posted by Kriesa at 9:10 AM on November 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


.... That's what I get for trying to answer AksMe at work. Do I still get credit for right work/wrong answer? Thanks, Kriesa.
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:15 AM on November 3, 2016


We have 9 grand kids in the family and the kids names are put in a bowl (we do this at thanksgiving time). So people with 3 kids have to pick three names, people with one kid only choose one name, etc.

For the adults we do a yankee swap that is lots of fun. Each adults buys something for 20 bucks.
posted by ReluctantViking at 9:17 AM on November 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


Each kid's name goes in the bowl once (5 slips of paper). Then 3 additional slips are added, one for each family with kids. The 3 additional slips are gifts that go to the children of that family but that could be shared when cousins come over, so like a game or something but not specific to an individual child. Each adult picks one slip. If an adult picks his or her own kid or family, obviously they pick a new slip.
posted by Polychrome at 9:24 AM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't have a better suggestion for the kids/dog issue but seconding the Yankee swap idea. Both side of our family don't do an adult gift exchange. My side just completely phased it out altogether; my husband's side does a hilarious Yankee swap. My husband's family dinner is waaaaay more fun.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 9:27 AM on November 3, 2016


This could be simple: 5 kids, 5 parent sets (4 couples + 1 grandparent).

Each parent set draws names for / gives gifts to one kid, or two kids.
posted by amtho at 9:39 AM on November 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


I like it FirstMateKate! It's very inclusive, each kid goes home with two gifts and each dog with one gift. That's one fewer kid gift/future landfill than under the current arrangement so we're onto a winning trend. I'll come back to you for a recalculation if anyone has any more kids or pets! :D
posted by bimbam at 9:52 AM on November 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


Is there a website or app that facilitates this sort of thing? Or does someone always have to know the Secrets to make it work remotely?
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 10:35 AM on November 3, 2016


There are five kids = four couples + one grandparent. It's easy to get simple coverage, but not easy for Couple A to feel it's all "fair" if they want to come home with something too. Or does the grandparent get something for everybody already? Maybe Couple A could adopt a charity, which would count as one kid?
posted by acm at 10:42 AM on November 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


elfster is a secret santa website i have used before. it's not fantastic but it is easy.

couple a could also pick some slips off a giving tree charity thing or people could buy toys for tots toys for their "kids" (equivalent to the number of dogs they have, maybe?).
posted by koroshiya at 12:13 PM on November 3, 2016


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