Secret Santas and second children (Sigh)

Many people getting together at Christmas are reducing stress and expense by going the ‘Secret Santa’ route, where everyone buys one gift, either for a person chosen randomly for them or a one-size-fits-all type gift (according to the second-born of the Cassidy clan).

It is not as untraditional as it may sound and, played properly, can include as much trading, bargaining, bickering and sulking as in any large, self-respecting family on Christmas Day.

The rules vary but the general idea is that there is a spending limit and everyone arrives with a gift and leaves with one, but not the one they bought or recycled from last night’s event.

In Secret Santa V1 each person draws the name of another person in the group out of a hat and buys that person a gift within a certain budget. Guessing who bought which gift after they have been opened can introduce a little extra fun and sometimes even a tiny element of danger. “I can’t believe he doesn’t know me at all!” “What a nut-job.” “Mmm suggestive … I always thought he was kinda cute.” “Are you saying I smell bad?” “Well, how very ungracious!” “Yay, I love bobby socks!” and etc.

FatherChristmasAnother version of Secret Santa that is not for the meek (but don’t mind them, they are in line to inherit the earth) is one that includes trades and options.

Everyone must buy one gift that might be suitable for anyone in the group, which could include any combination of males and females, old and young, concert pianists and buskers, vegans and carnivores and so on. Again there is a spending limit. Creative shopping required.

The presents are wrapped and anonymously deposited under the tree, just like Santa himself might do it. As with the order of birth in a family, the order of receiving is based on a roll of the dice, not dependent on talent or gorgeousness. Why are you so smug, first-borns? Wipe that smile off your cute baby-face, baby sister! (Un-noticed, the second children sigh their little second-born sighs, knowing they will just make do with what is left over. No one even notices all the other middle children, who don’t even have a right to second-born syndrome.)

Everyone picks a number and the bidding, bargaining and bickering starts. Whoever drew number one might be pleased for a while, walking over to the tree and taking their pick of the big pile of gifts and opening it for all to see. Then it is number two’s turn to pick another from the pile of wrapped gifts or ruin number one’s life by laying claiming to the gift that number one has opened.

If number two lays claim to number one’s gift, number one must take another one from under the tree, unwrap it and enjoy it … unless number three in turn takes a fancy to it. When your number comes up you choose anything you want: an unwrapped present or any of the opened presents. The further down the line you are, the more choices you have. Number 10 in a group of 10, for example, can take the remaining wrapped gift or any one opened by numbers one to nine.

Expect loads of fun, except, of course, if you are a middle child because, well, you never have any fun do you? (Sigh).   – African News Agency

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Siobhan Cassidy

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