A Secret Santa is a holiday tradition, with different names in numerous countries. In it, there's a system of secret picks, where a group of people pick names of someone else in the group and give each other gifts without saying who it came from.
It's often played straight, but there have been a number of times where someone sneaks their name in as the only one for the group. Hilarity Ensues
. May result in one or more characters engaging in Convenience Store Gift Shopping
In some cases, the exchange itself is still the same but with a different name, like "Holiday Helper," to be more respectful to non-Christians since Santa Claus
is associated with Christmas. Another common Christmas-affiliated name for it is "Kris Kringle"; while this is another name for Santa Claus, if it's used it's normally in the context of a Secret Santa arrangement.
- Junie B. and her class are assigned to do this in Junie B., First Grader: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells (P.S.: So Does May) and Junie B. is less than thrilled when she is assigned be secret Santa to her nemesis, May.
- In Planet Tad, Tad's class participates in one of these, with Tad as a secret Santa to a girl that he likes. It bombs badly when he chooses chocolate as his gift and she thinks that her Santa is trying to make her fat.
- Done in House, where he slips his name as the only one to mess with his team. They figure it out quickly, but he ends up getting gifts from all of them anyways.
- Also in the 2012 Christmas episode of Pawn Stars, when Chumlee, who is organizing the company party, puts only his name in the Secret Santa hat. The others figure it out, call him out on it at the party, and do a proper Secret Santa.
- In The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Maddie organizes the Tipton staff Secret Santa and makes sure that London picks her name, hoping for an expensive gift.
- Monk had an episode called "Mr. Monk and the Secret Santa". Stottlemeyer forgets to buy a gift for his Secret Santa, so he regifts a bottle of port someone had sent him. Then the bottle turns out to be poisoned...
- Happens in a Christmas episode of The Office.
- And again, though not as a major plot point.
- Happens in season four of Friends. By the end of the episode, pretty much everyone knows who got who.
- In Glee, Sue slips her name in as the only one.
- The Baby-Sitters Club has the club play this in one TV episode. At one point they all go to the same store.
- Organized by Di V, of all people/electronics, in Penny Arcade...except that the only name in the hat is Di V.
- College Humor created a Black Comedy version called "Kovert Krampus," named for the Krampus, a holy jolly goat beast of Alpine folklore, who travels alongside Santa, maiming and punishing the naughty children. Rather than buying gifts for each other, the staff punish each other for their lies and transgressions, with a $20 spending limit.
- A Christmas Special of Hey Arnold! uses this as the basis for his difficulty in finding a gift.
- This is a plot point in an episode of Brace Face. Sharon pulls Nina's name, and is morally torn between buying her a nice present and not buying her anything at all.
- The Simpsons: In "'Tis the Fifteenth Seasons", Homer gets an extravagant present from his secret Santa (Carl). Homer forgets to bring something for Lenny, since he's Lenny's secret Santa, so he goes to a snack machine and buys him some Certs.