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Best of 2021

Secret Santas – How to Conduct a Secret Secret Santa

Christmas – the decorations, music, food, and gifts, we love it all. But with numerous family members, friends and work colleagues to buy for, the cost can rapidly become too much to handle, and that’s one reason why Secret Santas are so popular.

The idea of putting names into a hat and pairing a gift buyer with a random recipient means each person only needs to purchase one gift, and yet everyone in the group receives something. However, it has several other benefits, too. There’s a level camaraderie involved in everyone keeping their own secret of who they’ve been paired with, and if the group isn’t that familiar with each other, work colleagues, for example, some sneaky homework is required. Researching the hobbies and likes, or dislikes, of your recipient, necessitates hunting for clues, trying to make your questions as subtle as possible, and generally acting like 007 on a mission, in order to find the perfect gift for a member of your work team.

Pulling names out of a hat, box, cup, or whatever else is to hand, seems, in these days of high technology, quite  … old hat, but in the last couple of years a number of Secret Santa generators have arrived on the app market, some, obviously, better than others.

After testing out many versions, here are our favorites:

1) Simple Secret Santa Generator

The Simple Secret Santa Generator is created by Anthony Dito and is designed especially for iPad. It has an ample range of useful features and this app comes top of our list due to its great user experience. while it is not as flashy and complicated as other secret Santa apps, everything is clear and easy to navigate around. Uploading people’s details is simple, and the native share options are well-considered and applied. What is great about this is you can have a wishlist where you could list the possible things you want to get and it will help secret Santa be more fun this year.

2) Secret Santa’s Gifts

Secret Santa’s Gifts is a simple app that is perfect for the upcoming holiday. We like the simple-to-set budget feature, which makes shopping more affordable and attainable. Another feature is the ability to export lists as PDFs which is surprisingly useful when going shopping for your secret Santa partner. It offers a wide range of personalization options, such as the addition of ‘rules’, so you can customize your pairings like who shouldn’t be paired together or if there are gifts that are not allowed. The best thing about this is the Secret Santa In-App-Purchase is not a subscription service.

3) Elfster

The Elfster is one of the best secret Santa generators because it is free and it works on all devices such as iOS and Android devices and even on laptops and computers with the web version. It has several features that you will love such as the wish list feature which allows the addition of suggestions and gift ideas to your Secret Santa. You can also customize the budget for the gifts, the date, and the location of your Secret Santa party. It is easy to use, you just have to invite people by email or sending them the link.

4) Pikkado

The Pikkado Secret Santa Generator is a very practical tool for your traditional Secret Santa. If you have a tight and loyal group of friends who has a tradition of Secret Santa every year then the Pikkado is the best generator to use. This generator allows you to reuse lists from previous years, which is an awesome idea because you will be saving a lot of time from inputting details. It can also send anonymous messages, which makes Secret Santa more exciting. We spent hours building false trails and red herrings, and feel this is a great additional feature.

5) Secret Santa Organizer

If you’re a sucker for great graphics, the Secret Santa Organizer app fulfills with its beautiful and entertaining graphics. It is user-friendly and has a range of useful features. There are even options to upload excel or CSV files for players, perfect for larger groups, such as work colleagues, or school friends. When creating a party it instantly sends confirmation emails to the participants and allows them to confirm their participation in case somebody wants to opt-out of the fun. It is the perfect app that makes a large Secret Santa crowd organized and well prepared for the holidays.

These are our top 5 Secret Santa generators; however, why save them just for Christmas? Use them for organizing party gifts, birthdays, or Thanksgiving – any occasion where multiple gift buying is expected, in fact!


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