It's better to give: A student guide to secret Santa - Student Life - Student - The Independent

It's better to give: A student guide to secret Santa

Secret Santa is the best way for friends to give each other gifts without busting through the overdraft

It’s that time of the year again, and being a student, you’re probably worried about how you’re going to scrape together enough money to get presents for your friends and family. Luckily, at uni everyone seems to agree that Secret Santa is the perfect solution.

You could pick names out of a hat, but then you may find that you pick yourself and have to choose again and if at that point there are only two names left in the hat and you know who’s choosing after you, you’ve ruined the surprise. A lot of people are pretty awful about keeping who they have a secret and it doesn’t make matters better if you accidently order your housemate’s present to their name instead of your own!

To avoid situations like these, follow this list of handy tips before you do your own Secret Santa:

  • Don’t order online – unless you do it weeks in advance, but it’s unlikely your friends will be thinking about Christmas presents that early on. Even if you ask for next day delivery (bad move, it costs extra!) you may find that your postman delivers the parcel at 7:30am when nobody’s awake, so you have to wait and pick it up from the post office anyway.
  • Set a budget – it’s never fun when you’ve made a massive effort and spent £15 on a friend and then your present is a pair of novelty sunglasses, but sometimes it can be just as bad when people go over the spending limit. If you’ve stuck to the £10 that everyone decided on and then all your friends spend £20, they’ll make you feel embarrassed and you’ll end up looking stingy.
  • Choose a theme – a cute idea is to find personal gifts that remind you of your friends. For someone who loves travelling, you could buy a map to stick on their wall where they can scratch away the places they’ve been or, if it’s in your budget, buy tickets to a gig of a band they like.
  • Don’t ruin it by telling everyone who you have and asking who they have – this is easier said than done. Even if you do end up telling each other who you have, try to resist the temptation of showing your friends what you’ve bought as it spoils the surprise! If you start telling each other who you have, you can probably work out who is buying your present by a process of elimination, or if there’s only person that when you ask them who they have won’t tell you…
  • Use a website like www.secretsantaelf.co.uk instead of picking names out of a hat – you type in the names and email addresses of the participants and it messages you the name of the person whose gift you’ll be buying. This solves the problem of picking your own name out of a hat.
  • Put on a Christmas playlist and decorate your table with tinsel and candles to get in the Christmas spirit (keep the tinsel a good distance away from the candles) and make Christmas dinner with your housemates or friends from home (or both!) Swap presents after you’ve eaten your main course. That way, the food won’t go cold and you give your stomach a break before devouring the mince pies and Christmas pudding. If you’ve managed to keep it a secret for this long, try to guess who bought your present.

Now you’re all set to have the best early Christmas day at uni!

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

PE Teacher (Female)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: Teacher of Girls PE for Wiltshire scho...

KS1 Teacher

£105 - £120 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randsta...

Primary Supply Teacher's Urgently Required in Hull and Grimsby

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: We are looking for KS1 & KS2...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week