Thousands of New Zealand residents are making room on their shopping lists for an extra person this holiday season. As Travel + Leisure reports, the nation is entering the seventh year of its Secret Santa program, and this time even Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is getting in on the festive tradition.
The gift exchange started in 2010 when Twitter user @WebSam posed the idea on his page. Anyone who wanted to participate could connect through the social media site, then scour the profile of their assigned person for clues revealing their taste in gifts.
The event was so popular that in 2013 New Zealand’s postal service NZ Post signed on to sponsor it. Now, there’s an official New Zealand Secret Santa Twitter handle (@nzsecretsanta), a hashtag (#nzsecretsanta), and a physical warehouse that handles the flow of packages. This year, over 3600 kiwis have elected to take part. The recommended budget is set at around $10, and Secret Santas have until December 10 to mail their packages to the NZ Post, so it arrives to its intended recipient by Christmas.
Because Secret Santas are designated in a private message, no one knows who has them until their package arrives. Ardern has shared that she’ll be shopping for one lucky citizen this December.
If you don’t live in New Zealand, there are still plenty of holiday gift exchanges, Secret Santa being just one of them, that you can organize without a few thousand people.
[h/t Travel + Leisure]