The History of Secret Santa

Santa+checks+his+list+for+naughty+or+nice+kids.
Back to Article
Back to Article

The History of Secret Santa

Santa checks his list for naughty or nice kids.

Santa checks his list for naughty or nice kids.

Google Images

Santa checks his list for naughty or nice kids.

Google Images

Google Images

Santa checks his list for naughty or nice kids.

Faith Zako, Staff Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






We all know the Christmas time classic gift giving game known as Secret Santa. Friendly for all ages, this game has been a party essential for many years.

For those that don’t know, the game goes like this: one person writes the names of all the participants on small pieces of paper and throws them into a small container. The participants pick a name at random from the container and have to get a gift for the person that they picked. There is usually a price limit around $20.00, but that varies. The gifts are all brought in on a specific date, everyone opens the gifts, and the players try to figure out who is their Secret Santa.

Now that we know how it works, how did it start? Although it is not certain, many sources believe that a philanthropist named Larry Dean Stewart was the original Secret Santa.  According to bustle.com, he would go around and donate $100.00 bills to people in Kansas, soon doing the same in New York after the 9/11 attack. In 2006, he came out as the “Secret Santa.”

This is not just an American thing. Although called by different names, people from all around the world know about the tradition of Secret Santa. Also reported by bustle.com, the original tradition of Secret Santa may have come from Scandinavia, where there was a tradition called “Julklapp,” where individuals leave a gift at a person’s door, knock, and then run away.

In recent years, there are even online gift exchanges where strangers can send their person a gift. It doesn’t sound completely safe, but people like this version of the game.

In a nutshell, the game of Secret Santa originated from the concept that we were all taught as children: random acts of kindness make people feel good.

So what are you waiting for? Go make the world a happier place this holiday season.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email