Can you give someone random Secret Santa gifts?

December 6, 2009 — by Alex Ju

Secret Santa gifts are a popular tradition around the holiday time. Whether between friends, classmates or sports teams, giving and receiving anonymous gifts is always fun.

But what if one tried to give someone such presents without any formal establishment? Could one accomplish this? How would the target react in response to the spontaneous gift-giving? I decided to find out.

For the receiving end of my trial, I chose Jennifer Rios, a freshman in Color Guard with me. I had always loved her for how kind and polite she was, and she is a valuable guard member. However, she was also very shy and I didn’t know her very well, leaving me not knowing what to expect in her reaction.

I began on Monday. I stapled a note to a pack of fruit snacks explaining that I was neither a stalker nor a secret admirer, but merely someone who wanted to brighten her day with a Secret Santa gift.

After this first note, I continued to send her gifts at lunchtime for the remainder of the week. Each time I would watch her reaction from across the quad as she looked in every direction in hopes of spotting whoever her Secret Santa was. Besides fruit snacks, I also sent her bath salts, cookies, socks and at the end, fruit snacks again.

Finally, on Friday, I approached her in the hall to personally present the final gift.

“Wait, it was you?” Rios asked me, surprised, when I told her what I had been doing.

I nodded, to which she responded, “That was so generous of you! Thank you so much!”

I was completely startled by this reaction. I had braced myself for questions and confused looks. But while Rios’s friend added that Rios had worried about me being either a creeper or secret admirer, Rios said that the gifts did make her a bit happier each day.

In the end, I learned you can send Secret Santa gifts to anyone at any time of the year. And while they may find you a bit strange for doing so, your generosity will definitely liven up their day.

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