Secret Santa and Yankee Swap

The Secret Santa (“amigo invisible”) is a popular tradition where each member of a family or group of friends is given the task of buying an anonymous Christmas gift for another person in the group. Who gives a present to who is decided at random.  Each person then has to guess who has given them the present. The origin of this tradition is thought to come from the Scandinavian custom of julklapp in which people would knock on their neighbour’s door, leaving a gift on their doorstep, and run away before the door was opened.


A Yankee Swap is an American tradition where each guest brings a wrapped present to a party (usually within a determined price range). All the presents are put together in a pool and each party guest draws a number to decide the order in which they can choose one of the gifts. The guests will then try to swap or exchange gifts with each other until they end up with the gift they like the most. The origin of this tradition is thought to come from the American love of bartering (“hacer trueques”) and bargaining (“regatear”).


You will find more Christmas vocabulary if you follow TE! on Facebook.