It’s that time of year again. The whole family is getting together to try to tolerate one another and survive another meal together. In between tiptoeing around the minefield of taboo conversation topics and eating dry turkey comes the dreaded part of all family Christmas get-togethers: Secret Santa.

No one is supposed to know who got who what, but it is always pretty obvious to guess based on the time, thought, and love that went into picking out the gifts—none.


We’ll start with an easy one here. Grandma probably didn’t understand the rules and went ahead and put her name on the package. If she didn’t write it on the gift, she’ll probably mention it was from her as soon as you open it to see a knickknack that—she says—has been sitting around her house for so long and it’s time she passed it on as an heirloom. It’s a plastic California Raisins figurine.


This one is easy to tell because it is most likely either in a plastic bag from the store it came from or hastily wrapped in old newspaper with duct tape. Most likely a bottle of whiskey or some cigars, regardless of your age or drinking/smoking habits.


She is going to give you a cheap bottle of wine. One that she “tried over at a friend’s house and just absolutely loved.” Even though you know, it was pulled randomly from her cabinet full of wine that she drinks two bottles from a night.


This one is tricky because it could be almost anything, but it will definitely be over the price limit that was set by everyone when the names were drawn. Whatever it is, it is going to be expensive, and he will write it off as no big deal. He wants to show off his new promotion and how well he is doing so no one realizes he’s had crippling depression since his divorce. But hey, at least his compensating will score you a new phone!


Most likely a new format/version of the Bible (seriously how many of those do they need?) or maybe a prayer book. It could also be some kind of religious candle, prayer knickknack, or “Godly-trinket” you’re supposed to keep with you at all times for protection. For some reason, your mom has been on a newfound religious kick. You’re not sure if this is better or worse than the ones from a couple of years ago when it was relaxation incense, charm beads, or some sort of healing stone that Gwyneth Paltrow says you should stick in one of your bodily orifices.


This one is the most difficult. Oddly, his gift will be very similar to your mom’s, wrapped the same, and your name on it will also be in her handwriting. However, she will nudge your dad and gesture to him that this is the gift that “he got you” as you open it.


This is just going to be something that they found in the back of their car that they’ve been meaning to return to the store. Or—for ultimate thoughtlessness—it could be the gift that you gave them last year.

After the fake smiles and thanks, you can say your goodbyes and head out to your car with your amazing present in hand. The gift will most likely just sit in the back of your car as you completely forget about it. You’re just happy to get out of there before the political talk really started. Though, now you have a gift in case you draw your sibling’s name next year!