What is a Secret Santa?
Secret Santa is a Western Christmas tradition in which members of a group or community are randomly assigned a person to whom they anonymously give a gift.
Deriving from the Christian tradition, the ritual is known as Secret Santa in the United States and the United Kingdom; as Kris Kringel or Kris Kindle (Christkindl) in Ireland; as Secret Santa, Kris Kringle, Chris Kindle (Christkindl) or Engerl-Bengerl in parts of Austria; as Secret Santa or Kris Kringle in Canada and Australia; as Secret Santa, Kris Kringle, or Monito-monita in the Philippines; as Angelito in the Dominican Republic; and as "Wichteln" in Germany. "Wichteln" is what a "Wichtel", a wight, does, a good deed. In Poland, the tradition is celebrated on the day of 6 December (Mikołajki).
All of these names derive from traditional Christmas gift-bringers: the American custom is named after Santa Claus, or St Nicholas (Poland), while Chris Kindle and Kris Kringle are both corruptions of the original name of the Austrian gift-bringer Christkindl, which means the "Christ Child". Exceptions are the UK (where the traditional gift-bringer is Father Christmas) and the Philippines (which has the Three Kings). Spain and in most places in Latin America use amigo secreto (secret friend) or amigo invisible (invisible friend). In Israel, this game is called גמד וענק (A Dwarf and a Giant) and is mostly played during Purim.
The term Pollyanna is used in Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey.
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