Holiday Planning

Secret Santa Gift Giving Cuts Christmas Costs

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Let’s be honest and discuss how Christmas might not be the same as it was financially.

Since the pandemic, some Canadians have lost their jobs, reduced hours and increased debts.

As well, consider the cost of purchasing a house that is disgustingly overpriced in Canada, literally emptying emergency savings, TFSA and even cashing in RRSPs.

New homeowners use credit cards, lines of credit, home equity, borrowing money, or remortgaging the house to pay the bills.

The last two years for many Canadians have been nothing short of a financial nightmare.

For Christmas, I thought hosting a Secret Santa was the best way to reduce gift costs.

As long as your family, friends, or co-workers are on board, make use of this cost-saving idea.

Today I’ll Be Discussing :

  • What is a Secret Santa gift exchange?
  • Should the kids be involved in Secret Santa?
  • How much should each Secret Santa gift cost?
  • Creating a Secret Santa wish list for everyone.
  • Drawing Names Online
  • Hosting Christmas and the costs involved.
Learn How To Create A Secret Santa Gift Exchange
Learn How To Create A Secret Santa Gift Exchange

Using Your Christmas Savings

Although we have a Christmas slush fund, we’re not sure if exchanging gifts with each adult is necessary.

Years ago, I wrote a blog about downsizing your Christmas to keep the holidays simple.

It’s important to downsize your Christmas debt, so you’re not stressed after the holidays are over.

Most people have been there and done that, and again it’s happening but even worse this time.

What Is A Secret Santa?

A red throne where Santa would sit but he's missing.
Santa is missing from his throne.

First off, Secret Santa is a fun way for gift-giving at Christmas because you don’t know who’s shopping for you.

There’s not much more to a Secret Santa gift-giving exchange other than drawing names and coming up with a minimum and maximum gift expense.

For example, your minimum could be $20 to $50, but everyone needs to be involved.

You might have someone not interested in participating in the Secret Santa, and that’s ok.

We have to remember how tough times are for everyone and be thankful to be together as a family.

For even more savings, sign up for Rakuten online, and anything you buy, you’ll likely find a discount code.

I have so many discount websites, coupons and survey sites you can use to save money all year.

Once you reach $20, they send you a big fat cheque in the mail. Hey, money is money.

Should The Kids Be Involved?

Presents Under the tree from Santa Clause and your Secret Santa Wish List
Presents Under the tree from Santa Clause and your Secret Santa Wish List

Another consideration depends on how many children you have and available funds.

For our son, we get him whatever he wants as he is the only child we have.

Under the tree this year, he will get a new Xbox, PS4 games, Google gift card, Roblox gift card etc.

There will also be some toys and gadgets for Autistic children to help them with motor skills.

We’ve also bought him (Santa did) the OSMO system, which is educational.

He used it during summer camp this past summer and didn’t want to return it to the school.

There’s a pizza game where he’s the order taker, where he has to figure out prices and how to give change back.

It’s a fantastic system with so much for him to learn.

Since he was in JK, we bought him a large timer because we knew something wasn’t right with him.

As you may have read, he is ASD 1 Autistic Aspergers with anxiety and sensory processing disorder.

It’s hard to watch your child not understand some questions, how to reply and communicate well.

So for our family, a Secret Santa is a no-go and our inlaws with one child.

If you do choose to include the children, follow the same process as described below.

How Much Should A Secret Santa Gift Cost?

A woman holding out a Christmas Gift to someone,
A woman holding out a Christmas Gift to someone,

Money is the burning question for everyone, but as mentioned, $20-$50 is more than enough.

Try buying something from their wish list as it will be something they want rather than something they will dust off.

I can’t tell you how many Christmas gifts we’ve seen at Value Village in the box with the Christmas label attached.

If the person you are buying for has Amazon, they can create a Wish List that you can view.

You can also activate Rakuten for any available points or discounts and buy everything online.

Use Rakuten on your mobile phone, desktop, laptop, tablet and start saving money as we do.

How To Draw Names For Secret Santa

Hosting a Secret Santa gift exchange drawing names online before the holiday begins.
I am hosting a Secret Santa gift exchange, drawing names online before the holiday begins.

Once you all agree on costs, you can go ahead and finish the process of drawing names.

Whether you are hosting or not, one person needs to be designated the Secret Santa worker, like an elf.

The elf writes each adult’s name on a piece of paper, folds it up and drops it into a Santa hat.

I know what you’re thinking, “What if we don’t live in the same city?”

That’s a great question, and I’ve got a simple solution since this will be typical for many families.

Host a Secret Santa online so everyone can watch you pull out names for each person

Creating a Secret Santa Wish List

How to create a Secret Santa Wish List
How to create a Secret Santa Wish List

Once you have everyone participating in the Secret Santa, it’s time to create a wish list.

You’ve already discussed how much the Secret Santa gift should be, which makes things easier.

Send your wish list to the Secret Santa host, and they will email, mail or text it to the person who chose your name.

Do this for all participants and let them do the shopping or, even better, DIY Cookies or recipes in a jar only if it’s on the wish list.

I’d consider talking about that with all the participants who would rather have something to eat and not a dust-keeper.

Hosting Christmas And Costs

A lady making Christmas dinner with a tree lit in the background,
Making Christmas Dinner

At the grocery store recently, we noticed the price of cucumbers was 3/$5, and the price increases went on and on.

When you buy produce out of season, the price will always increase and not even we are prepared to see the damage.

If you want to buy a Butterball turkey from Food Basics, that will set you back at just under $50.

Perhaps a better option may be going to a local farmer or someone in town that sells fresh turkey for less.

This year we are not having a traditional turkey at our house because we don’t want leftovers.

Nobody wants to take them home, and we end up with soup for weeks,

You can make a lovely bone broth with turkey bones and freeze it for those who roast a turkey.

We’re exhausted by the time Christmas is over and don’t want to look at food for a month.

I guess what I’m trying to say is we are shopping for Christmas dinner based on what will get eaten.

It’s better to have too much than too little so judge how much you make based on your guests.

Last year we had so much food that we had no storage space for it all.

Christmas Eve dinner will be grilled Atlantic salmon,

Food Basics - Food Prices Increasing
Food Basics – Food Prices Increasing

According to Stats Canada, since the pandemic, food prices have been impacted by weather, supply disruptions and shifting consumer demand which affects the pocketbook of Canadians.

Food is the second-largest component of the Canadian Consumer Price Index (CPI), with Canadians directing about 17% of their expenses to grocery stores and restaurants. – Source Stats Canada

It’s Not Secret That Buying 1 Gift Is Cheaper Than 10

Participating in a Secret Santa gift exchange at home is the frugal way to keep costs down.

It will also limit the time you are unwrapping gifts under the tree, so there’s more time to drink and eat.

Some of our favourite Christmas snacks are homemade Nuts and Bolts, Peanut Butter Balls, Dorritos, Cherry Almond Holiday Cake, Festive Snowballs, Panettone and Keto Butter Tarts.

Honestly, there are so many other Christmas desserts you could put in front of me, and I’ll dig in.

Check out my Free Recipe Depot tab on the blog for lots more keto recipes and non-keto.

Stay safe, save money and say hi to Santa for me.

Happy Holidays,


Discussion: Have you ever been part of a Secret Santa before, and how did you like it?

Would you please leave me your comments and suggestions below on how to make this event even better?

Other Ways To Cut Costs At Christmas

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