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The Wrangler

The #1 student news site of Yorba Linda High School

The Wrangler

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    The Tradition of Secret Santa

    Catalina DeMassi
    Santa or secrets? Why not both? Tis’ the season to play Secret Santa with your loved ones!

    Secret Santa is a common Christmas game where friends, family, and coworkers draw Random names and get that person a gift. Usually, at holiday parties, people will reveal who their present recipient is, or they will have the recipient take a guess. Secret Santa is a beloved tradition for so many worldwide during the holidays! According to “Secret Santa” by, the game is typical in the United States, the United Kingdom, Poland, and other countries.


    It needs to be clarified where the tradition originated, but it might have come from a Swedish custom called Julklapp, or Christmas Knock in English. This tradition is when people in Sweden would drop off gifts at their friends or family’s doorsteps with a riddle on it. Then, the riddle would be used to try to guess who was responsible for the mysterious gift. This custom was a way to spread holiday cheer and love to loved ones throughout the winter.


    Some believe that Secret Santa originated from the story about Saint Nicholas anonymously gifting money to a low-income family and that Saint Nick was the original Secret Santa.


    In the United States, Secret Santa has become a widespread favorite of the holidays. It is often played in the workplace by office coworkers, friends, or family at a gathering. Sometimes, there are themes to the game, like homemade gifts or a holiday decoration or snack. Most often, there is also a price limit on the amount you can spend on your person’s gift. Secret Santa is an easy way to get an affordable gift for your loved ones and make it all the more enjoyable. Yorba Linda High School junior Kaylie Cao (11) says, “Secret Santa is always something I look forward to around the holidays.”

    Secret Santa is always something I look forward to around the holidays.

    — Kaylie Cao (11)


    There are typical variations of Secret Santa in all different countries, but it’s only sometimes Santa brings the gift. Germany has a game called Wichteln or Little Christmas gnome, similar to the Americanized version of Secret Santa. Furthermore, in Spain and Portugal, they play a game called “amigo secreto,” which means secret friend. In some countries like Brazil, they play a version of Secret Santa all through December and reveal themselves on Christmas day. In the Netherlands and Belgium, this tradition takes place on Saint Nicholas’s Day, the 5th of December, in 5 Philippines; people must wait until January January 6hany day when the three kings bring secret presents.


    Regardless of where you are during the holiday season, Secret Santa is a surefire way to ensure massive fun and surprise with a gift and a mystery.

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    About the Contributor
    Lili Sebestyen, Photojournalist
    Lili Sebestyen is a junior at Yorba Linda High School. At school, she is a part of ASB, varsity lacrosse, flag football, and various clubs such as NHS, PTSA, and Dreamcatchers. Her hobbies include painting, playing the ukulele and guitar, reading books, and writing music. She loves to try new things and meet new people. Her favorite activity is spending time with her friends, family, and many pets. This is Lili’s first year as part of The Wrangler, and she is so excited for the coming year! 

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