Skip to content

4 Fun and Meaningful Alternatives to Secret Santa

Alternatives to Secret Santa
Spread the love

With the festive season just around the corner, many friends, family, and colleagues are gearing up for the fun and excitement of Secret Santa. However, in light of the rising cost of living and increasing environmental concerns, there’s a growing desire for alternatives to the traditional gift-giving exchange. This article delves into four fun alternatives to Secret Santa that offer a more meaningful and sustainable way to spread holiday cheer.

Why consider an alternative to Secret Santa

The traditional Secret Santa gift exchange often involves purchasing new items, leading to unnecessary spending and waste. According to research by UK Money Bloggers, an estimated £167 million is to be spent on workplace Secret Santa this year (an average of £15.50 per person), but a staggering £60 million of this is wasted on unwanted gifts.

These findings highlight the need for a more mindful approach to holiday gift-giving. The alternatives presented in this article offer a refreshing change to the traditional Secret Santa, promoting creativity, shared experiences, and giving back to the community.

By embracing these alternatives, we can reduce our environmental footprint, conserve resources, and spread holiday cheer in a way that is both meaningful and sustainable.

4 meaningful alternatives to Secret Santa

If you’re ready to ditch Secret Santa and spend your money better, here are four fun yet meaningful alternatives to try:

1. Donate to charity

Instead of exchanging material gifts, consider making a charitable donation in your Secret Santa’s name. This thoughtful gesture allows you to support a cause that is meaningful to you while also spreading goodwill.

UK Money Bloggers, a network of leading personal finance and money-saving content creators, has partnered with the charity KidsOut to offer a convenient and impactful way to give back this Christmas. By participating in their #GiveOrGift campaign, you can request that your Secret Santa donate to KidsOut, a charity that provides disadvantaged children with access to fun and developmental activities.

For every £5 donation made through the #GiveOrGift campaign, KidsOut receives an additional £1 through Gift Aid, maximizing your impact and ensuring that your generosity goes even further. You can also choose to support a different charity of your choice, making this a truly personalised and meaningful alternative to traditional Secret Santa gifts. If you want to run #GiveOrGift at your workplace or with friends and family, download the Secret Santa pack.

By opting for a charitable donation instead of a material gift, you not only reduce waste and unnecessary spending but also contribute to a cause that truly matters. This act of kindness can bring joy to those who need it most, making your Secret Santa experience truly meaningful and memorable.

2. Do an experience together

Instead of traditional gift-giving, consider sharing an experience as a team as a Secret Santa alternative. This is a great way to promote teamwork and shared experiences amongst colleagues. You can organise a team-building activity such as a scavenger hunt, bowling or a volunteer project at a local charity. 

For teams that work remotely and in-person gatherings aren’t feasible, virtual alternatives can provide an equally engaging and memorable experience. Virtual cooking classes, wine tastings, and escape rooms allow team members to connect and bond over shared interests and challenges, all from the comfort of their own homes.

With a little creativity, you can transform Secret Santa into an opportunity to strengthen team bonds, create meaningful memories, and foster a more collaborative and supportive work environment. So, ditch the traditional gift-giving and embrace the spirit of shared experiences.

Alternative Secret Santa ideas

3. Organise a Christmas auction

Try an exciting alternative to Secret Santa with a Christmas auction, where participants can bid on gently used items and contribute to a worthy cause. Each participant contributes an item they no longer need, such as a book, board game, or homemade treats.

Whether you use real cash, pretend currency, or tokens, the excitement remains the same. And if you choose the real cash route, consider donating the proceeds to a local charity, extending the holiday cheer beyond the office walls.

Appoint an enthusiastic auctioneer to lead the bidding with a sprinkle of humor and a touch of drama, ensuring a successful and unforgettable auction. Prepare a diverse range of items to appeal to a wide range of interests and create a festive atmosphere with decorations, holiday music, and perhaps even a themed dress code.

4. Play festive vouchers

For a more personalised and heartfelt alternative to Secret Santa, consider festive vouchers. This creative exchange allows participants to gift acts of kindness and thoughtful gestures.

Just like Secret Santa, each participant draws a name to be matched with someone in the office or at home. For colleagues, these vouchers could be for anything from a refreshing cup of tea or coffee to a delightful lunchtime treat or even a valuable skill-sharing session. For friends and family, you can make these even more personal, perhaps a voucher for a fun-filled day out or a relaxing shoulder massage.

So, ditch the traditional Secret Santa this year and embrace the heartwarming spirit of festive vouchers. Encourage creativity, spread kindness, and create lasting memories that extend far beyond the holiday season.


Instead of the traditional Secret Santa, consider donating to a worthy cause, embarking on a shared experience together, organising a Christmas auction, or exchanging festive vouchers for acts of kindness. These alternatives foster meaningful connections, create lasting memories, and spread holiday cheer far beyond the realm of material possessions.

4 meaningful alternatives to Secret Santa

Spread the love

Leave a Reply