The History of Secret Santa

A treasured tradition many share before Christmas, but do we know how far back it actually goes?

Picture a frosty Christmas evening with your friends. You had just spent time with your family for the holidays before going to visit your friends for the night. They bring out snacks like Christmas cookies and hot chocolate before announcing it’s time to exchange your secret Santa presents. Everyone would gather together and snuggle up into fluffy blankets as you all figure out who gave who gifts. You then spend the rest of the night laughing and having a good time. This is a normal for many as a form of gifting giving on Christmas as it is a good way to save money but also a way to build up suspense for Christmas. However, just because most participate in it does not mean people know where it comes from.

During Secret Santa all of the gift givers are kept secret towards their recipients.

There are a couple of theories of how secret Santa began. According to Secret Santa, this tradition’s origins are in Scandinavia. Secret Santa was known back in the 1700s as Julkapp. Julkapp consisted of knocking on the door loudly, open the door, and throw the gift in quickly without being seen. This whole idea originated from Knecht Ruprecht who goes from home to home giving out gifts for Santa. While Lastly says that theoretical first actual secret Santa though was a philosopher named Larry Dean Stewart. He started by giving out gifts to the less fortunate around Kansas City and before long he was paying bills and spreading kindness in secret. He was revealed to have been doing this in 2006 after being diagnosed with cancer, dying a year later. Since then, the tradition has been popularized and is widely used across the world. Though many tend to believe it was started a long time before the American philosopher.

Carefully placed under the tree, these gifts are wrapped and ready to open.

Secret Santa has definitely evolved as a tradition which is to be expected. However, the core idea of it is still there which would be gifting without others knowing. It is regarded as a popular game or even form of gift giving at places like Christmas parties but also as an easy way to gift between friends. Although, in the more modern sense of the tradition many of these are transactional. The rule is usually you have to have a present to participate so everyone gets a present which many seem to agree with very different from just gifting and running off. Overall, as you can see much of the tradition as changed but the central idea has stayed the same.

Today, secret Santa is used by many to not only save money but also as an easier way to gift give. Though it’s mostly used for convivence, many still use it as a way to surprise their friends or family. So many people use secret Santa from so many situations and events. Secret Santa is an exciting method of gift giving that makes many thrilled as the holidays grow closer. Many of us hope that it continues on as a method for gift giving for years to come.