The best Christmas activity is no secret

Carmel Yonas, Opinions Editor & Senior Reporter

Only real fans of the Christmas season know Secret Santa rules over White Elephant. Sure, White Elephant is engaging and interactive, but isn’t it even more exciting when you read the slip of paper determining who you’re shopping for? On top of that, doesn’t the game become personal and meaningful when you begin thinking about what might make your person’s face light up with joy because of the gift you spent time looking for? Ladies and gentlemen I present to you, the most popular and best gift-giving game, Secret Santa.

Secret Santa is a fun and thoughtful way to buy gifts for your friends and family and surprise them all at the same time. The essence of the game lies within the name Secret Santa; the whole objective is to find a gift for your person without them knowing it was from you. Participants in the game pick one person by random from either a bowl of names jumbled in, or however else the group decides to randomize choosing.

Used with permission from hectic99tube under fair use

From then on, once everyone has an assigned person, the secret starts.

Now participants head to shop for their person, hoping to find something their person would fall head over heels for. As the time ticks down, you may wonder who picked your name out of chance and if it’s something you’ll love or possibly hate. But hey, that’s the beauty of the game: unaware of what you’ll receive or who it’s from. 

Finally, the day to open gifts arrives and everyone places their gift in one area, names of the recipients waiting patiently on a slip of paper attached to their mystery gift. The best part of Secret Santa comes down to this: how will you know who bought you the ugly Christmas sweater or the cute makeup collection? Your eyes look up at the surrounding faces, some quietly snickering, others straight faced or darting their eyes around the room, the possibilities are endless.

But, with White Elephant, you aren’t able to safely assume a gift once it’s in your hands as long as another player wants it too. You might’ve received a gift you’ve been wanting for ages and see that it truly is the best gift just to have it stolen from you in the blink of an eye. Whereas in Secret Santa, your gift could be the best one yet, and there’s nothing anyone else can do about it. But, that’s only a small piece of what makes Secret Santa so spectacular.

Secret Santa allows you to learn more about the person you’re shopping for, whether it’s a friend, family, co-worker, etc. And in doing so, not only have you figured out the perfect gift, but you’ve learned what their favorite activities are, what types of movies they love, their favorite restaurants, and the list goes on. In other words, you get to learn more about someone which can spark a new relationship.

Speaking from personal experience, White Elephant is never an equal playing ground. Many players in White Elephant usually enter in gag gifts, but there’s always individuals who goes above and beyond in their entry. In fact, there’s always that one person from White Elephant who begins to feel bitter and disheartened (myself included) because they received a cheap, inexpensive gift compared to others. Yes, the game becomes entertaining and full of emotion because of its competitive and unrestrained spirit, but that can  leave people feeling either joyful or down in the dumps.

On the other hand, in Secret Santa when you open your gift and find a customized item pertaining to you alone, the feeling is inexpressible. Even if the gift may be something as small as a pair of Christmas socks, you can’t help but feel a bit of gratitude towards your Secret Santa especially once you’ve spotted the correct person. 

Overall, both games are enjoyable and pleasing to be wrapped up in during the Christmas season. However, Secret Santa is the best way to spend the holidays; it’s a fun-loving and lively environment that encourages friends and family to be just as thoughtful as they are having fun.