How to make ‘secret Santa’ not suck

Being the experimental, geeky folk that we are, a straightforward secret Santa gift exchange at Christmas was never going to cut it. So we ‘Inventiumised’ this classic to turbo-charge the laughs, up the creativity and create a memorable moment for the team.


To make your secret-Santa way less boring (and create fun and lasting memories for your team).


  • (or drawing names out of a hat will do the same trick)
  • A gift-exchange time (before your Christmas party works well)
  • Santa’s Helper (a facilitator)
  • A budget of no more than $30 per person (this can be company- or individually-funded)


  1. Lock in a gift-exchange date in the calendars. If you are meeting face-to-face, a month’s notice is ideal. However, if you are doing a virtual exchange, you might need a longer lead time to allow for postage. 
  2. Use to allocate everyone a Secret Santa.
  3. Each team member is responsible for creating/procuring/purchasing a gift specifically for that person. Here’s where the ‘Inventiumised’ part comes in – via these guidelines:
    1. Clever, well-executed and personally made gifts get tons more laughs. Encourage your team to really (and stealthily) get to know their person and pick up on something clever to use as a gift base.
      1. EXAMPLE: Gifting a vegan teammate a tray of farmyard animals carved out of fruits and veggies.
    2. $30 is the maximum. However, some of the best gifts we’ve seen over the years were totally free. 
      1. EXAMPLE: Gifting our Finance Manager a massive box of receipts for all the times she’s spent chasing receipts.
    3. Think about ‘pre-amble’ to your gift to build suspense. For example, is there an opening story, some special instructions, or even a poem leading up to opening your gift? 
      1. EXAMPLE: Gifting our Founder (Amantha) a hamper built up to be the ‘latest and greatest food fad’, but eventuated to be a ‘box of air’ – Amantha has been known to change her dietary requirements as often as she changes her clothes.  
  4. Exchange the gifts at the chosen time and be ready to capture the funny moments.


Hopefully a significant increase in laughs and good memories! So often, teams resort to tried and tested versions of gift exchange. We encourage you to get your team’s creative juices flowing while getting to know your gift-exchangee. At Inventium, many of us can recall gifts and hilarious moments from years ago – bringing us much closer to each other and driving loyalty.