Secret Santa: Asleep at the Reigns?

An Exploration Of The Shortcomings Of Our Holiday Traditions


By Katia Campos ‘22, School News and Features Reporter

With Thanksgiving long since passed, I think it’s safe to say that winter is approaching. With winter comes the joyous holiday of Christmas. We at FCS have a special way to show our school spirit and love for the holiday... a little something called “Secret Santa.” For those of you that are unaware of what Secret Santa is, it’s an annual tradition in which the Student Council randomly assigns each upper school student and teacher a fellow classmate or colleague to purchase a small treat for right before Christmas. In the past, the Student Council has suggested that nobody spend more that $5 on a gift.

According to Student Council Vice President McKenna Blinman ‘19, the event has been arranged for many years. “We continue this [tradition] because it is a relatively easy way to spread holiday cheer and show others in the community how much you care about them,” says McKenna. She continues, “the joy of getting a gift from someone but not knowing who it is, [and] seeing the work they put into sharing a little happiness [is] unbeatable. Witnessing your person’s joy as they open their present from you might be even more gratifying than getting a gift.” McKenna ends her interview by saying, “the event is really about spreading happiness and holiday cheer around our campus, and it’s immensely successful when everyone participates.”

Even though the Secret Santa program strives to spread cheer throughout the entire campus, there are unfortunately situations where people end up not receiving anything from their Secret Santa, causing them to feel let down. Focus reporters went out in search of people who hadn’t received gifts in years past to see what their experiences were like. Max M. Cohen ‘19 says that he has experienced this situation before: “I had spent a few days trying to figure out what I would get from my Secret Santa, and I had picked a pretty cool gift, candy of some sort. I was thinking, ‘I can’t wait to see what I received.’ You know, like a letter of some sort, something small. I kept waiting, every day. It never came, and I was really disappointed.”

Sadly, Max wasn’t the only one not to receive anything from a Secret Santa. Pierce Hayton ‘20 received the same treatment when he was in ninth grade: “It was the last week before Winter Break and I was waiting the whole week. I was excited, it [was] my first year of high school, my first Secret Santa, and Friday comes and goes and I received nothing.” Despite Pierce not receiving anything that Friday, he didn’t give up hope. Pierce says, “I [thought] to myself, ‘Maybe they just missed it, I’ll get something after break.’ Then, the first week after break [came and went] and it was a huge disappointment.” Despite the sadness of Pierce’s ninth grade experience, the story has a silver lining, because in tenth grade, he did receive a gift. He reflects on how it felt: “It was fantastic. It was just so nice. I finally felt that somebody actually thought of me, and it made a huge difference.”

Students not receiving anything for Secret Santa can be quite devastated. The Student Council encourages that everyone participate to avoid this situation. Let’s all get into the ring and fight the injustice of not receiving a gift together. This year, let us leave none of our classmates or teachers behind, and actually have fun trying to surprise the person that we’ve been assigned to. You never know, sometimes all someone needs is a little gift to keep them going, to give them hope for a new day. On that note, have an excellent Secret Santa! Happy Holidays!

© 1845-2018, Focus, the official newspaper of Friends' Central Upper School

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