Kris Kringle

As the days grow longer and the holiday season draws closer, people have always gathered with family and friends in togetherness and joy. With its roots in Christmas, Kris Kringle has become one of the most popular traditions to celebrate with family, friends and co-workers in the spirit of the holidays. But what is Kris Kringle and how did it come about?

Are you already familiar with Kris Kringle? Then you can start drawing names straightaway!
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What is Kris Kringle? One of the most beloved gift exchange traditions

Kris Kringle is a synonym of Secret Santa, a gift exchange tradition that has its roots in early Christmas traditions. Originally, Kris Kringle was derived from ‘Christkindl’, the German word for Christ Child. Today, it’s celebrated as a gift exchange occasion that renews bonds between family and friends, and as a moment to solidify connections between usually busy co-workers – like a Kris Kringle office party. Creating a Kris Kringle gift exchange means creating a moment of togetherness and delight. There’s always the anticipation of “who will be my Kris Kringle?” It’s always a fun surprise!

Kris Kringle

Planning a Kris Kringle gift exchange?

Play the Kris Kringle game! Traditionally, Kris Kringle is played as a gift exchange through a draw, typically by drawing names out of a hat. Of course you can also use our Kris Kringle / Secret Santa generator.

Classic Kris Kringle game
This is the mostly widely played version of the Kris Kringle gift exchange. A group comes together, everyone writes down their name on a piece of paper, and each participant draws a random name out of a hat. You are the Kris Kringle for the person you draw. Next you write down a gift suggestion or two on a wish list and your Kris Kringle chooses a gift for you from that list. But of course, you don’t have to do it all with papers and hats anymore, now you can draw and create wish lists easily online using a Kris Kringle generator! The fun part of the classic Kris Kringle game is keeping a secret and, of course, being surprised by a gift!

Kris Kringle rules

How does Kris Kringle work? Kris Kringle Rules

The rules behind traditional Kris Kringle are simple: It’s a mystery for both gift giver and receiver – and that’s the fun!

So, how do you get started with your gift exchange?

  1. You bring a group together. Let each participant write down their name on a piece of paper, and put it in a hat, a box, or other container.

  2. Shake the hat a bit, then give each participant a chance to pick out a name. Of course, you can use our online Kris Kringle generator instead – you know you’ll never draw yourself; you can set exclusions and even add another member to the group later. It’s fun and easy, and you can create customized gift guides.

  3. Next, set a budget for how much each participant should spend.

  4. Let each participant make their own customized wish list to let their Kris Kringle know whatever their heart desires!


For more detailed rules, or to get inspired to make up your own creative rules, see these Kris Kringle / Secret Santa rules.

The best Kris Kringle gift ideas

Don’t know what gifts you should choose for the Kris Kringle celebration? The Gift Finder at DrawNames is full of great Kris Kringle gift ideas. The extensive Gift Finder will make personalized gift suggestions so you can complete your wish list in no time at all! And if you don’t know what to buy for your favorite relative, just enter their age and gender, and the Gift Finder at DrawNames will do the rest. You’re sure to find the perfect gift for them to celebrate the festive season!
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