How to Start a Secret Sister Program

by Culture & Society Editor
Spread holiday cheer around the workplace with a Secret Santa exchange.

Spread holiday cheer around the workplace with a Secret Santa exchange.

Secret Sisters are typically promoted through a common group, such as a church, work or social group. The women are paired up secretly and swap unexpected gifts, cards, poems or prayers, encouraging one another until the big reveal.

Determine if a Secret Sister program is of interest to your group. Ask around or have a quick vote. Make sure to explain that it is a voluntary program, for a specific length of time and with monetary limits.

Create a questionnaire to be used for the Secret Sister program. Include name, address, email account, favorites (foods, gifts, candles, books, magazine, music, etc.), dislikes, birth dates, anniversaries and other pertinent information.

Write the guidelines for the Secret Sister program. Include a time frame, the monetary limits, the expectations and rules.

Set a dollar amount that can be easily met by your participants. Be clear on how many gifts or notes are expected and the limitations on money spent.

Distribute questionnaire form. Allow them to take it home to fill out but make sure you remind them to return the completed forms to the Secret Sister Coordinator.

Assign Secret Sisters as randomly as possible. The Coordinator won't be able to participate but needs to keep track of the master list, address any problems and plan the reveal party.

Explain the Secret Sister system thoroughly as you hand out names. Give simple ideas for gifts and cards. Emphasize the monetary limit and expectations so everyone has a good experience.

Monitor the program throughout the year. Make no one has moved away, gotten sick or dropped out without addressing it. Keep an eye on the swap table to assure everyone's gifts and cards are being picked up. Answer questions as they arise.

Plan a reveal party. It can be as simple as a swapping of notes or as big as a luncheon or cook-out. Match up your Sisters and allow them some time to get to know one another and to give thanks. Don't forget each person has two people to socialize with at the reveal-their Secret Sister and the Sister who had them.

Tips

  • Set up a central location where Secret Sisters can leave and receive cards and gifts anonymously. It can be a small table, a ledge above the internal mailboxes or near the front door.
  • Keep a master list of the assigned Secret Sisters in case of emergencies or problems. Also refer to it each year in order to prevent reassigning the same Sisters again.

Photo Credits

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