Only two concepts to remember

There are two concepts in the mix when it comes to Secret Santa. One involves gifts, clearly not from the regular Santa, but from an anonymous source nevertheless. And the other is that the source remains secret.

I thought I didn't need to explain any of the above when I asked my daughter to coordinate a potential Secret Santa for our family to trial for the first time this year. My daughter lives in Berlin and was the ideal third party to make it happen.

But before my daughter pulled names out of the givers and the receiver's hats, she ran a little poll to check that everyone was on board. The poll was confidential and not even she could see who had voted for which option.

And just like that it became evident that any secret in this family is anything but. It appeal secrets in this family involve a metaphoric megaphone.

Because accompanying the votes was a lengthy trail of emails (send all) chatting about the voting choices. Everyone had an opinion, from trying the secret Santa (or should I say not-secret Santa) either for groups or couples, to sticking to the shopping list for 18, or to buying nothing at all, unless the recipient is under the age of 18.

According to the email trail, people voted according to what they thought the others wanted, rather than what they wanted and people made all sort of interesting assumptions.

My son said that as host for the big day, the final decision was mine, but please make it quickly. If you have to shop for 18, you need some time.

My husband and I are the only people who kept our votes secret, even from each other, but it's not difficult to piece this silly sorry secret Santa saga together.

And so as the final adjudicator on a tied result, I am going to suggest we give this shared gift giving a go. I am going to suggest we put our shopping efforts for 18 into one person and try hard to get it right.

So now, we have to find some devious way to figure out the best gift ever, without the recipient figuring any of this out.

I hope we get the gift right. Because I have a feeling that keeping it a secret is about as likely as Santa wearing purple.

- Linda Muller