Secret Santa Online

Are you planning a Secret Santa celebration? Then organise your Secret Santa online on drawnames. Enter the names of the people you’re celebrating with and let our Secret Santa organizer do the rest of the work.

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Secret Santa History

How did Secret Santa start in Canada?
The Dutch settlers brought their tradition of Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) with them to the New World 400 years ago. Santa Claus in Canada is largely based on Sinterklaas. Both bring gifts to children and adults alike. Since family and friends often exchange gifts at Christmastime, Secret Santa was invented to simplify the gift-giving and to have a little fun.

How did Secret Santa work before the internet?
A group of people would put their names into a hat and then secretly pick a name out of the hat. They would buy a gift for the person whom they drew.

Why organize your secret santa online?
When family members and friends live far apart, the hat process can become tricky. This is why drawnames offers a free online Secret Santa generator.

Each group chooses one member to become the organizer. The organizer enters every member’s name and email address and sends an email with information regarding the celebration. Then the Secret Santa generator draws names and sends everyone their drawn name.

Each member makes their own wish list and can ask their giftee questions anonymously. Unlike other services, drawnames does not require logins and passwords. It’s fast, fun and free!


Santa Claus, Sinterklaas and the Christmas man
In the Netherlands the character of Santa Claus is distinct from Sinterklaas, known instead as de Kerstman (the Christmas man). Although Sinterklaas is the predominant gift-giver in the Netherlands in December (36% of the population buy each other gifts), 21% of the Dutch population exchange gifts during Christmas and 26% exchange gifts on both days.

Sinterklaas is traditionally celebrated on the 5th of December, with songs, chocolate letters, pepernoten (ginger nuts), speculaas (spiced biscuits), marzipan and hot chocolate.

A gift, a poem and funny gift wrappings
In the Netherlands the gift is often accompanied by a Sinterklaas rhyme in which jokes are made about things that happened the past year, relating to the person drawn. It’s a good opportunity to legitimately make fun of your family, friends or colleagues in a humorous way.

The gifts themselves may be just an excuse for the wrapping, which can be quite elaborate. The Dutch go all out and use paper mache and colored paper to make creative gift wrappings. In both the Netherlands and Canada, the gift is given anonymously and the drawn person must guess who their giver is.

Our Dutch Heritage

The Secret Santa gift exchange is also very popular in the Netherlands and other countries. is the most popular online Secret Santa generator in the Netherlands. drawnames is the English sister website of


Our mission is to simplify your holiday gift-giving and give you more quality time with your family and friends. Our service to you is free.