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Holiday Gifts & Lifestyle

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Tips for successful office Secret Santa exchanges

The holiday season provides plenty of opportunities to socialize. Holiday celebrations are sometimes akin to family reunions, but friends also tend to celebrate together in December. Such celebrations sometimes include different groups of friends, and that may require hosts to do a little extra to break the ice so everyone relaxes and has a good time.

Secret Santa gift exchanges can make for a great ice breaker, even if guests are buying gifts for people they don't know. If you plan to make Secret Santa part of your holiday party this year, consider these tips to ensure it goes off smoothly.

• Start planning early. Hosts likely know everyone coming to their party, so they should take the lead and organize the Secret Santa exchange. Let guests know as early as possible, even including the information in the party invitations, so they have time to shop.

• Make it optional. Forcing people to mingle and exchange gifts is never a good idea. Give guests the option to participate ask them to indicate if they will or won't when they RSVP.

• Set a reasonable gift limit. Figure out a budget that works for everyone. There are plenty of gifts to be had for $20 and under. Gag gifts or "dollar store" gift themes can ensure no one goes overboard in terms of dollar value.

• Consider a wish list. Asking participants to fill out wish lists ensures that their Secret Santa buddy will have an idea where to start shopping.

• Enlist a digital helper. Technology can make organizing Secret Santa exchanges even easier. Elfster is an online gift exchange app that can help hosts effectively organize their Secret Santa parties.

Fun is key to Secret Santa exchanges, so make sure to keep things lighthearted when planning the party and exchanging gifts.

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