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secret santa - i do not understand!

(22 Posts)
overthemill Wed 28-Oct-15 17:36:53

ok, i am in my 50s and so far have never been asked to do a secret santa - where i have worked no one ever did it. you bought a present for the admin people and we all went out for a special dinner. Vaguely aware that kids buy something for £5 and wrap it for class at school. within wider family we just buy kids presents when younger and now a family game or a day out token - which we love getting ourselves. we have had years of being very broke/ill health etc.

eldest dd in her first job post uni and on a very low wage has asked if we will do a secret santa this year as she is broke. My response was, don't get us anything just get little something for your 2 siblings . but she still wants to do it.

so, how does that work then? i put our 5 names in a hat and pull out who buys for whom? and does that mean instead of the £££ i had planned to spend on each of them i only spend it on one of them? or does one other get that times 3??? We aren't huge presents at christmas people preferring to give things as we see them

I'm so confused. never buy presents for DH except token like DVD so all money goes on kids. was planning to give dd extra this year as she couldn't afford a holiday this year but now does that mean i can't? asked DH and he doesn't understand either.

i asked her for clarification and she just said its easy it'll work out very fair. How? other younger dd doesn't understand it either, she is happy to get presents for siblings out of pocket money. ideas please before i go crazy.

OSETmum Wed 28-Oct-15 18:10:46

It doesn't sound like anyone but you Dd really wants to do it, so tbh I'd say no.

i can't see how it would work in a parent and children scenario as presumably you as parents spend more on your children than their siblings do so it won't work out fairly.

EatSleepWorkRepeat Wed 28-Oct-15 18:21:37

I think secret santa only works where everyone involved has an equal relationship and would be expected to spend the same amount of gifts - so between siblings, work colleagues, a group of friends, etc. Obviously as parents you expect to spend more on your children than they spend on you! I would suggest she does it with her siblings (if they all want to) and you and dh will spend as usual. Perhaps this year being post uni she's feeling like an adult and wants to be on an equal footing with you both, but maybe you can reassure her that its not required!

overthemill Wed 28-Oct-15 18:25:12

i definitely don't want her to spend lots of money on us - i always feel guilty when she does as she has very little spare money. DH and i were planning to give her more than other 2 anyway to help her out (and assume that post uni we would do the same for the other 2 kids). i now understand why mum always answered 'bar of soap' whenever i asked what she wanted for christmas!

attheendoftheday Wed 28-Oct-15 20:04:32

Can you suggested the siblings do a secret santa and you give the presents you want to without expecting a return present?

lcj68 Thu 29-Oct-15 08:16:08

We do secret Santa with the kids. We have the present at the table with our Christmas dinner. We started it to get the kids into the habit of buying for each other and saw this as the cheapest option. At the moment the limit is a fiver, but as they get older and have jobs, might increase it to a tenner.
They like doing it

comeagainforbigfudge Thu 29-Oct-15 08:22:45

We do secret santa for the adults. There's loads of us. One person draws out the names and texts everyone with the info.

And we set a budget. Works put quite well most years wink

scrappydappydoo Thu 29-Oct-15 08:27:58

We do a secret santa in my family - we use to organise it as we're scattered across the UK and gather for Christmas. Basically we set a limit of £20. Each person who agrees to be part of the draw is randomly picked another person so they have to spend £20 on a gift for them. There are 16 adults so everyone spends just £20 and everyone gets 1 decent present.
It works for my side of the family as there are so many of us but in-laws aren't as keen so we just exchange gifts normally.

BathshebaDarkstone Thu 29-Oct-15 08:30:20

I've only ever done secret Santa with a religious group I used to belong to and this is my first year doing the Mumsnet one. I've no idea how it would work within a family.

comeagainforbigfudge Thu 29-Oct-15 08:46:13

Oh I forgot to say my parents always give us a present each on top of it. Just wee things with a gift voucher for like £20.

When we all complained that wasn't part of the deal, the answer was "parents privilege". Or you could give your DD a "we're so proud of you" gift once she's been in her job X amount of time? So she then won't feel it's related to Xmas?

Snausage Thu 29-Oct-15 09:58:22

Hmmm. I would recommend that you suggest that your DCs do a Secret Santa between them. You could tell your daughter that you've already planned/got your Christmas presents, and that maybe it's an idea for next year?

Snausage Thu 29-Oct-15 10:00:48

PS, overthemill if you were doing a Secret Santa, you would put all names in a hat and each person would (secretly) be assigned one person to buy a gift for. You'd also set a limit on price.

overthemill Thu 29-Oct-15 10:17:06

ok so i understand bit better for a large group but for 2 adults and 3 kids?

normally i would buy presents for each of the three kids at £££.

they usually buy a gift for each sibling and for us - something little at £ (last year i got a latte glass and some flavoured syrups from dd for example. lovely gift for me). often its a joint present for me and dh

i honestly don't mind not getting a present . some years they just buy a bar of chocolate. thats fine by me. i just like us all under one roof together eating dinner together and playing scrabble or something.

i think i will talk to dd and say we can't see how it would work with us adults but the kids can do it if they would like to. i don't want to hurt her feelings though!

I'm sure i sound so stupid but i just can't work out the benefit to the kids! different if we were a huge extended family

Bimblywibble Thu 29-Oct-15 10:27:28

You could suggest a secret santa between the siblings as others have suggested.

But Ss is only really suitable where everyone has the same budget. I think I'd explain to her that as parents of all 3 you wouldn't want youngest DC to spend as much as you do, so secretbsanta can't possibly include their "main" presents, that's just barking.

Suggest a £5 secret santa between sibs and yourselves but buy "main presents" separately, or suggest doing it just between sibs.

Is it possible that, now your eldest is an adult, she is thinking about buying for extended family too?

Or if she wants to do home made gifts you could offer to pay for the materials.

Bimblywibble Thu 29-Oct-15 10:32:51

The benefit is they only have to buy one present, so they spend less and/or get one nice gift rather than lots of bits of tat. But there really isn't a great deal of point in a group of 3.

It might be better to include yourselves, otherwise DD will still buy for you, dH and one sib, so very little saved. But. i would support your other children in saying no and reminding DD that it doesn't need to be expensive, if they are not keen to do the secret santa.

comeagainforbigfudge Thu 29-Oct-15 11:57:26

Why don't you tell her that her gift to you would be coming for dinner? I'm presuming she's got her own place?

And to bring a cake or a bottle of wine if she doesn't want to turn up empty-handed?

Then she only needs to buy two presents.

Littlemousewithcloggson Thu 29-Oct-15 12:40:37

I would do the secret Santa for the 5 of you with a £10 limit so there are presents to exchange on Christmas Day. Then I would give the kids a voucher or cheque each as a new year present!

HolgerDanske Sat 31-Oct-15 20:19:43

The point of secret Santa is it allows people who don't have much money to save a bit by only buying one gift, but is nicer than no gifts at all because each person in the group still gets one gift that will (hopefully) be reasonably nice, by virtue of the fact that the budget isn't stretched too thin. It also allows the gift exchange to be quite fair since the budget is decided in advance, meaning that everyone will get a gift that's about the same value as everyone else's.

For example, £35 divided by 5 is £7, which means that gifts chosen are most likely dictated by price alone rather than maybe what each person would actually like or use or appreciate.

£35 for one gift means that the gift can hopefully be tailored a bit better to the recipient, and it will also mean a better level of gift in a lot of cases.

The secret bit is just for fun and also means that no one has to be awfully embarrassed if they misjudge what the person might want. More important in a work situation where you might not know your recipient that well. In a family situation it doesn't have to be secret unless you want it to be, I know some people are quite open about who's buying for whom.

HolgerDanske Sat 31-Oct-15 20:28:54

Also you can always give your daughter a bit extra separately from the gift exchange.

ImperialBlether Sat 31-Oct-15 20:29:16

Why don't the children buy something for each other and something for you - maximum £5 or whatever - and after lunch put them into a sack and pull them out? You could join in if you wanted.

ImperialBlether Sat 31-Oct-15 20:29:40

They could have their main presents from you in the morning, as usual.

HolgerDanske Sat 31-Oct-15 20:35:17

I think it has to be everyone rather than just three, otherwise it is a little bit pointless.

I actually think that sometimes secret Santa (or not-so-secret Santa, as the case may be) can actually make the gifting part of Christmas a bit nicer, because it takes away the pressure of having to come up with good presents for everyone. And it's a little less consumerist. One nice present for each person, just as a token of affection. Especially where there's a marked disparity in incomes or disposable income.

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