Our family’s secret Santa as of right now has 20 participants. (Not sure if this is a normal amount or if it’s a lot. I’ve only been in SS’s with 5-7 people at work.) We have rerolled 5 times, because we’ve either, A) changed the rules after getting our recipient or, B) added people. We started with 10, decided to add spouses, then kids (??) and now random family friends.
Our current rules are ridiculous, in my opinion. We were told to put affordable gifts “that a kid can buy,” but everyone is putting their expensive life wishes on the list. Then, we have to get at least 5 gifts from the wishlist, with no budget, and you have to declare how many gifts you are giving in the group chat to make sure you receive the same amount… which makes no sense.
You also need to add where your gifts can be found. A few people have also started saying that they are going to buy from lists other than their recipient’s. On top of that, everyone keeps editing their lists, adding and removing things that they think of.
I’ve explained how inconvenient this is becoming, and even tried the angle of the financial burden being placed on the parents (of multiple kids, there’s 6 kids total in the group). Most of the group agrees, but are explaining that they are “gritting their teeth for family’s sake.”
The list I got today after a month of back and forth (I’ve been asking since this seems to be a serious project at this point), is riddled with luxury name brand items like Dior and Louis Vuitton that I know no one in the group can afford... maybe two people can buy one of these items. And that’s a strong maybe.
Nothing on the list can be found for less than $200. And I checked. Did I mention that we are not allowed to deviate from the list unless explicitly stated that we can? Yeah.
This doesn’t feel like the essence of gift giving, or even Secret Santa. There’s so many rules, no element of surprise. At this point, we are just giving each other items to unwrap. I’m one of three who followed the rules, and no one edited their list when this was brought up. My entire list is $100 in total.
NTA. "We have to get at least 5 gifts from the wishlist, with no budget, and you have to declare how many gifts you are giving in the group chat to make sure you receive the same amount… which makes no sense."
This is INSANE. Growing up, the adults in my family also did a gift exchange, and they were of a similar size to your group of twenty, here. But they did it right: you get one name, and you buy one gift.
My family started doing Secret Santa before the pandemic shut down our get togethers. We each got one name and had a $50 limit. You could break that down however you wanted, one gift or several, whatever you thought your recipient would like. Some people put lists on the site we used, others didn’t. It was mostly about picking out something the recipient would like.
I agree that it is insane. I pushed back a lot in the beginning. Didn't get anywhere. Some members even called me cheap for wanting to get one gift. I’ve never heard of getting multiple gifts as a minimum.
NTA and I'd drop out. I'd even do it in a family chat if there is one. I'd let them know you would be willing to rejoin with one gift for the person you drew and a budget of XX. Otherwise, Merry Christmas.
NTA. This is turning into a disaster. $200 minimum is ridiculous, kids in the group or not (what's wrong with them 😑). I would back down even if it put a strain on my relations with these peoples. If everyone buys 5 gifts, that's $1,000 minimum, it's scandalous.
NTA. I'd back out. No shame. I refuse to participate in exchanges like this because the other person always skimps out. I spend the limit and my partner gives me 2 dollar store dish towels. Don't play the games.
Edit: Quite a few of you are interested in specific items requested from my recipient. The list I got includes luxury handbags, a PS5, baccarat rouge with a specification of NO DUPES, Dyson air wrap, naked cashmere robe, a plane ticket to Bali... to name a few. The cheapest is a green Amazon kindle which is $203 with tax.