Tips for someone who's never done Secret Santa in the classroom before!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Peachyness, Nov 19, 2007.

  1. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Nov 19, 2007

    I decided to do Secret Santa this year. Anyways, I would like to get some tips from teachers who have done this before. I just want to make sure that everything goes smooth. Everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong this year, so I'm just trying to prevent bad luck from happening. Also, should girls get gifts for the girls and boys get gifts for the boys????

    Thanks!!!
     
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  3. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Nov 19, 2007

    One thing I thought of doing was when they write their name on the piece of paper for someone to pick, I thought of putting a little survey on the paper. That way, their secret santa has some ideas on what the person is interested in when shopping for the person. But, I need some ideas...
    I was thinking
    favorite color
    hobby
    favorite tv show

    Any other questions they could answer?
     
  4. sundrop

    sundrop Cohort

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    Nov 19, 2007

    My daughters have done this every year at school. It isn't really a Secret Santa as much as just a gift exchange. Here is how it has worked for them. Each student buys a gift for a student of the same gender. A spending limit is determined by the teacher. The gifts are brought in wrapped and labeled "To a Girl From (name). The teacher numbers each package. On the day of the exchange the students draw a number and that is the package they get to open and keep.

    If it is a Secret Santa, you take the chances of students spoiling the surprise and telling who they have. I do like the idea of having them write down a few things they like to help their Santa find a gift more easily.

    Another twist, on the gift exchange idea above is to have students choose their gift from the pile or to "steal" from classmates. This can be fun, but it can also cause hurt feelings.

    Good Luck!
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 19, 2007

    I've never done a gift exchange; it doesn't come up often in my HS math classes :)

    But I would like to suggest that you have a few spares on hand for the kids who inevitably forget their gifts. Nothing too expensive-- maybe some books you can add to your classroom library if they go unclaimed, or a puzzle or something you can find a use for. But I would hate to be the mom of the kid who didn't get anything because his gift was forgotten or because the kid who got his name either had no money or was out sick.

    Some food for thought: my daughter's preschool class does a gift exchange, but it has to be a book. For that age, it's usually one of the $2.95 Barney type of books, but you might up the price and put that limit on it. You'll probably get everything from Pokemon to HS Musical, but at least they'll be books and all of the same value.
     
  6. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Nov 19, 2007


    I like this idea!!! Thanks for sharing it. I think I'll try it this way then. I agree, the "stealing" part may hurt feelings so I don't think I'll do this. I'm just wondering if I should allow them to exchange with a friend/buddy if they want?????
     
  7. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Nov 19, 2007


    I LOVE the book idea. That's a really neat idea. I'm big on books and my kids know it, so that would be great to try out.
     
  8. sundrop

    sundrop Cohort

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    Nov 19, 2007

    I don't think I would allow friends to exchange. I can foresee hurt feelings again. What if I thought you and I were going to exchange and then you exchanged with someone else instead? I would go with drawing numbers and leave it to chance.
     
  9. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Nov 19, 2007

    When I was in grade school, I remember playing "musical present" at Christmas... everyone sat in a circle and we'd pass the wrapped gift around the circle... when the music stopped, the person holding it got it... then they were out, the circle got smaller, and you kept going.
     
  10. michelb366

    michelb366 Comrade

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    Nov 19, 2007

    Sorry - this got really long!
    I've done a secret Santa exchange for the past two years. I let the class vote if they want boys to boys or mixed. Both years they've chosen mixed. We set a price limit of $5 for the "big gift" for our Christmas party. Then they also do a daily "mini-gift" the Mon - Thurs. of our last week. They can bring little treasure-box-type toys, a candy cane, or a hand-made card (I push for the hand-made notes and cards.) They bring it in with their person's name on it only (not their own) and drop it into the big box or stocking by the door sometime during first hour. Then when the kids are gone to specials second hour, I distribute the mini-gifts. I keep some trinkets on hand in case someone forgets. Usually they do a great job as I really play it up the week before about planning and avoiding hurt feelings. The kids love trying to guess who their Santa is.
    On Friday we have our "big gift" exchange. Again the kids bring in a wrapped gift with only the recipient's name on the package. They try to guess the giver before they open. The giver then gets the next package to open.
     
  11. inhisgrip20

    inhisgrip20 Comrade

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    Nov 20, 2007

    I wouldn't let them choose who to exchange with, I would just do it randomly, either by drawing names or numbers (as one person suggested). If you give them the option of exchanging with a friend, you are bound to have someone get left out or have their feelings hurt. Just my 2 cents from the kid who was always picked last! :)
     
  12. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Nov 20, 2007

    I did the Secret Santa thing once with 4th grade. I made a fake chimney bulletin board and made each student a felt stocking with their name on it. Each day, the students were supposed to write a positive note and sneak it into the stocking. We had certain times they were allowed to check their stockings. I didn't run into any problems with notes being negative or nasty. The last day before vacation I allowed them to put a candy bar or candy cane in the stocking and we revealed the secrets. They had fun disguising their handwriting, bringing in special paper and getting friends to sneak the notes in.
     
  13. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Nov 20, 2007

    That is such a great idea! :haha: I will defiantely do this.

    I'm SO glad I asked this question. I've gotten great responses. Thanks! I know what to do know.
     
  14. corps2005

    corps2005 Cohort

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    Nov 20, 2007

    Any ideas for a Secret Santa imitation?

    I would love to do a Secret Santa imitation. My problem is this: Separation of Church and State and I have a child who is also Jehovah's Witness in my class. Sooooooo....

    I need to find a way to give it a different name and associate it somehow to learning. Any suggestions? :help: The mother of the girl sometimes allows her to accept gifts, if labeled differently. :confused:
     
  15. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Nov 20, 2007

    I actually quit doing my version of the secret santa because of a JW in my class. The next time I got one, I bought little mailboxes and they put their notes in there. It cost me a dollar for each student but they loved putting the little flags up when they put "mail" in. I'm sure someone creative could come up with a creative title for it.
     
  16. LAH2

    LAH2 Companion

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    Nov 20, 2007

    Definitely have a talk with your students ahead of time so they know what to expect. I don't do grab bag gifts anymore because in the past some children were upset because they wanted to keep the gift they brought in (even though the point was to give it to someone else) and some kids also get very upset if they don't like the gift they receive.
     
  17. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Nov 20, 2007

    Hmmmmm.... after reading all of the responses, and thinking about hurt feelings, getting a gift that they don't want, students who forget, students who don't have the money, students who are of different religion, etc, etc, etc...This is what I decided to do...

    I'm going to get each of my kids a book from Scholastic, and I will do the above idea where they just write a note and put a candy bar or candy cane in their stocking. I think this will be the easiest way to go. Okay, I think I got this all figured out now. :D
     
  18. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Nov 21, 2007

    I hope you are pleased with how it turns out. Some of my students got very creative using stickers, writing notes on bookmarks, etc. but it did show the best side of everyone.
     

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