Where did the Secret Santa Tradition come from?

And behold, we have arrived at the time of year-end festivities and bright lights. There are a thousand and one different Christmas traditions, but there is one custom that is practically universal: offering gifts. Let us guess. You just read these last words and remembered Secret Santa! Did we get it right?

This game is a true classic. Whether at work dinners or family gatherings, this cultural tradition never loses its magic – and the only requirement is that there are enough people to make everything more interesting. If you've already played, you know what the game involves: in a family or work group, each person is assigned to secretly offer a gift to another participant. The funniest part is that no one knows who your “secret friend” will be – they are only revealed at the time of exchanging gifts. What most of us are also unaware of is the fact that there is a story behind this old-school habit.

Apparently, this tradition is fundamentally Western and was born when Larry Dean Stewart, an American known for caring about humanitarian causes, decided to donate anonymous gifts to people in need in the United States.

However, in the eyes of other countries with different cultures, Secret Santa (as it is also called) must be experienced in a completely different way. In Scandinavia, for example, the tradition is not to give something to someone, but rather to leave gifts in people's homes, knock on the front door and then run away.

Today, Secret Santa represents not only a tradition, but also what we can call business – there are even options on the Internet to exchange gifts with strangers from all over the world.

Whatever way is chosen to embrace this cultural custom, the purpose remains: to value the true spirit of giving and practice gratitude. And more important than the surprise, when discovering who our “secret friend” is, or than the enthusiasm of carefully choosing a gift for someone we like, are the elevated feelings that invade us when there is a union – be it whether professional or family (friends are also our family). So, live Secret Santa as it deserves to be lived, in the company of the people you really like.

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