Secret Santa (Monito Monita)

As the holiday season draws closer, it is time to gather with family and friends in togetherness and joy. A fun way to do this is by organizing a Secret Santa gift exchange. With its roots in Christmas, Secret Santa is one of the most popular ways to celebrate the holidays. What is Secret Santa, how is it celebrated, and what are the rules for Secret Santa? Read on and find out.

Already familiar with Secret Santa? Invite your family, friends or co-workers and draw names online.
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Read more about how to draw names online in our online bunutan article.

Secret Santa with friends

What is Secret Santa?

Secret Santa is a Christmas tradition in which participants are randomly assigned someone to whom they give a gift. This assigning is usually done by drawing names.

In the Philippines Secret Santa is also known as Monito Monita. It is a gift exchange that finds its roots in early Christmas traditions. The original ‘Monito's or Monita's’ were the gift-bearing helpers of St. Nick. Today, Christmas is celebrated as way to renew bonds between family and friends, and as a moment to solidify connections between co-workers. Organizing a Secret Santa gift exchange means creating a moment of joy and togetherness. There’s the anticipation of “who will be my Secret Santa or Monito/Monita?” It’s always a fun surprise!

Planning a Christmas gift exchange? Use our online Secret Santa generator!

Traditionally, Secret Santa is played as a gift exchange through a draw, typically by drawing names out of a hat. Looking for other fun ways to do a gift exchange? Try a White Elephant gift exchange or a Yankee Swap.

Secret Santa gift exchange
The most popular way to exchange Christmas gifts with friend, family or co-workers is by doing a Secret Santa gift exchange. A group comes together, everyone writes down their name on a piece of paper, and each participant draws a random name out of a hat, after which everyone creates a wish list. Of course, you don’t have to do it all with papers and hats anymore, you can draw names online and create your wish lists easily using a Secret Santa generator like!

White Elephant gift exchange
A White Elephant gift exchange is a popular variation of the classic Secret Santa gift exchange. The term White Elephant refers to something that’s more trouble than its worth. At a White Elephant gift exchange, people bring wrapped unmarked gag gifts, the sillier the better. Participants take turns unwrapping the gifts and trying to steal them from each other. Find the exact white elephant rules here.

Yankee Swap game
This version of the Secret Santa gift exchange has rules similar to White Elephant. Each participant brings a wrapped unmarked gift. The difference with White Elephant is that Yankee Swap gifts are supposed to be useful or practical in nature. The rules of unwrapping and stealing gifts still make this version of a Secret Santa gift exchange a lot of fun!


Secret Santa gift exchange rules

The rules of Secret Santa are simple:

  1. Have everyone taking part in the Secret Santa celebration write down their name on a piece of paper.
  2. Set a budget and ask everyone to make a wish list with two or three gift suggestions.
  3. Now it’s time to draw names. Let each participant draw a name from the hat, jar or bowl.
  4. Next, pick a date for your Secret Santa gift exchange. Make sure everyone is available.
  5. Time for the celebration. Get together and exchange gifts.

For more detailed rules, and Secret Santa gift exchange inspiration, read our Secret Santa gift exchange rules.

Online Secret Santa generator

The easiest way to organize your Secret Santa gift exchange is to draw names online. There is no risk of drawing yourself and there are no slips of paper to lose. supports Email, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. You can also share your results via Text Message. Each participant can make their wish list online. It’s never been easier to share the joy of gift-giving and celebrating together! Draw Names Online

The best Secret Santa gifts

Looking for good Christmas gift ideas? Our gift finder is packed with great Secret Santa gifts. Easily filter on age, sex, budget and categories to find the most popular Secret Santa gifts for anyone.
Secret Santa Gift Ideas