There are three methods to draw Secret Santa names, each with it’s own advantages and disadvantages. We will go over all three and you can decide which method is best for you. The three options are: “Paper and Pen”, “Generator Without Email” and “Generator With Email”.
Paper And Pen Method
How does it work? You write down all the names on pieces of paper. One name per piece of paper. Names are folded or crumpled up and thrown in a bowl. Everyone takes out a piece of paper and sees who’s Secret Santa they are going to be. If anyone ends up drawing their own name, all names are returned to the bowl, mixed and redrawn until everyone ends up being someone else’s Secret Santa.
Drawing names for Secret Santa with a pen and paper is a very straight forward process, but if you have ever participated in a group drawing where pen and paper is involved, you know that chances of someone drawing their own name is quite high. In addition to that, paper and pen method, although simple, lacks one important aspect: You can not set any exclusions.
What are exclusions? Well, imagine having several families in a secret Santa, or a few spouses. You want everyone to draw someone and not their name, but in addition to that, you also may want to have spouses to not get each other, because it is more fun to be a Secret Santa of someone not so closely related to you. how would you handle exclusions with pen and paper? There simply is no way. You would have to have everyone re-draw many many times until you hit perfect combination of draws. This is not practical and that is why most people opt to use a Secret Santa generator.
What Is Secret Santa Generator?
Secret Santa Generator can be software you can install on your computer, smartphone or a web/online service that does the drawing of the names for you. The advantage of using a generator is that with software or web service, not only you can ensure that participants never draw themselves, but also enforce exclusion rules discussed above. Although there are multiple Secret Santa generators out there, they all share one thing: The participants are either notified with email or not.
Generator Without Email
Secret Santa Generator without email allows you to enter names, set exclusions and then generates a PDF file that you can print out. On top part, the page says who the page is for, on bottom part it tells them who’s Secret Santa they are. You have to fold the papers in half not to see the bottom portions and hand them out by name. Another option generates codes to enter on a site where you can go in and see the name of the person who’s Secret Santa you are. Either way, this method does not require entering any emails and usually is the most preferred.
Generator With Email
The generator With email does everything above, but instead of printing a file, you will have to enter emails together with names. When the generator is done drawing names, it will email everyone the name of the person that they are going to be a secret Santa of.
Whichever method you choose, remember the number one rule: The secrecy must be maintained. No one must know other people’s Secret Santas or who their Secret Santa is! Have fun!