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Economical, practical, ecological... They adopted the Secret Santa as a family


This Anglo-Saxon tradition, which is well established in our country, delights our readers. After trying it, they adopted it, and it's final!

  • The principle of Secret Santa (or Canadian Christmas) is simple: we draw the name of a guest and we offer a gift only to this person on New Year's Eve. 

  • A practice that is spreading more and more in French families.

    For economic, ecological or organizational reasons.

  • Our readers tell us the reasons that led them to opt for this formula, and why they don't want to go back!

No more nauseating deluge of gifts at the foot of the tree.

Some families have found THE miracle cure to avoid shielding their cooker hoods in record time a few days before New Year's Eve.

Make way for sobriety thanks to Secret Santa, also called Canadian Christmas.

This Anglo-Saxon tradition consists of picking the name of one of the guests who will be given a gift at Christmas.

And only him!

The draw generally involving only the adults of the family.

“This little game was first imposed in companies to bring a touch of conviviality, but it then spread to homes, explains Arthur Anjou, author of several books on Christmas*.

A few years ago, it was perceived as a tradition not belonging to us, like Halloween.

But this is no longer the case and the practice will undoubtedly become the majority in the coming years”.

Sign in support: according to a survey** for Ademe published in December, 60% of French people would be ready to organize themselves as a family to limit the number of gifts between adults.

And in some families, the crease has already been taken for a long time.

As in that of Véronique, who responded to our call for witnesses: “We have been doing a Secret Santa as a family for adults for three years.

And it's good.

For Apollo,

the Canadian Christmas has even become a routine: “With our families and in-laws, we have adopted this concept for 4, 5 years.


“A budget of 40 euros per person”

A propensity to reduce the airfoil which is primarily due to the desire of the French to save money.

Because between the small dishes in the big ones and the gifts, Christmas often appears as a money pit.

This is what motivated Clémence to take the plunge: “We switched to this formula between adults in my family and in-laws a long time ago, mainly for economic reasons, because we are quickly numerous.

Ditto for Albane: “We are 27 people.

Every Christmas, it becomes more and more difficult to give presents to everyone.

We have opted for the draw for a few years, with a budget of 40 euros per person for all participants over 17 years old.

It works quite well.


The approach is also ecological: “It was in large families that reflection on abundance took place first.

They have understood that offering a string of small gifts, which are not always useful, represents a form of waste,” observes Arthur Anjou.

Moreover, according to the same survey for Ademe**, one in four French people say they receive gifts that they never use.

"The Secret Santa allows you to target better, to spend less and better, to not have lots of useless gadgets", comments Véronique.

And as a reference budget is fixed (generally from 30 to 50 euros), this facilitates the choice of the gift.

“This principle softens the mental load at Christmas”

“Having only one gift to offer makes it chiader,” adds Arthur Anjou.

Apolline agrees: “We can devote a larger budget to it and be sure to aim right!

And it removes the risk of offering something that will not be appreciated or risking cluttering more than anything else.

But doesn't the fact of having only one present at the foot of the tree generate a form of frustration?

No, according to Clémence: “We don't really have the feeling of depriving ourselves.

We are already very spoiled and do not need much more.

And according to Arthur Anjou, “the principle of the anonymous donor until D-Day reactivates the pleasure of the surprise that we felt as a child at Christmas.


The stress of Christmas shopping is also reduced, as Véronique points out: “It removes the burden of ''having'' to find a present for everyone present”.

"It softens the mental load at Christmas," adds Arthur Anjou.

A few disappointments to be expected…

There are still a few diehards not convinced by the Secret Santa.

“The older ones are sometimes a bit hostile,” notes the author.

"Some members of our families have expressed their wish not to participate, because they want to offer a gift to everyone," says Véronique.

And chance does not always do things well, we sometimes pick the name of the brother-in-law that we do not adore.

"In this case, we often offer a book, because it's a gift that allows you not to get too involved, while not unmasking your mixed feelings too much", notes Arthur Anjou.

Conversely, when one of the participants receives a gift from a family member to whom he is not close, he runs the risk of being disappointed: “The gift has an important symbolic value.

And some tend to overinterpret, in a somewhat paranoid way, the present that is offered to them”, comments the author.

Forgetting that Christmas should remain a light party...


Noël: “Of course I'm going to spoil Poupette!

“… They are going to give a gift to their pet


Toupee boots, vampire disguises, pair of scissors… The rotten Christmas presents have once again swept under the tree


How to survive the holiday season?

, Arthur Anjou, Librio-Flammarion, 5 euros.

** Survey "The environmental impacts of the end-of-year celebrations", carried out online by ObSoCo for Ademe, on a sample of 1,252 people representative of the population of metropolitan France aged 18 to 75 and according to the quota method.

  • Company

  • Christmas

  • Party

  • Family

  • Christmas presents

Source: 20minf

All news articles on 2022-12-19

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