Historically, the giver of gifts to children during winter
(before and after the official birthday of Christ was
determined) was either known as Saint Nick (a Catholic
Bishop who gave to the poor) or the Lord of Misrule (a pagan
Eventually, a blending of these two characters created
Father Christmas or Santa Claus or Kris Kringle.
There have many variations in the stories about Santa Claus
– his clothes, physique, origins, etc, but all seem to agree
that he lives in the cold north! All, of course, have him
delivering gifts to Children around the world.
many lands, including Australia, Kris Kringle is no longer a
common name for Father Christmas. Instead, it has become a
term relating to the sharing out of gift giving.
Often, a large group of people, be it extended family or
friends, finds that buying gifts for everyone else in the
group becomes expensive and time consuming; in fact, it
becomes a chore rather than an act of generosity. In these
situations, a Kris Kringle arrangement works well.
Details may vary, but essentially, the Kris Kringle works
such that each person only buys one Christmas gift and
receives only one also. This reduces the stress and expense
of buying for a group, and can make each present more
group can make their rules for Kris Kringle gifts. Some
Includes everyone over 18 – children get individual presents
gift is to cost approximately $50.00
Couples aren’t allowed to buy for each other (ie redraw a
can’t buy for the same person two years in a row
gift vouchers – the present must be tangible
Obscene and bad taste gifts are banned
A General Kris Kringle
Particularly useful for groups where it is unclear how many
people will be present, the group agrees to bring a single
gift of a certain value that could suit anyone.
the appropriate time, the gifts are handed out randomly and
anonymously. If a Santa is available, he can pull each gift
out of his sack and hand them out – it’s not only children
who can have fun with at Christmas!
to the general nature of this Kris Kringle, the gifts are
often fun tokens or treats.
A Specific Kris Kringle
this case, each person is given a name of someone else in
the group to buy a gift for. Often, the names are selected
by drawing them out of a hat.
Again, a dollar value is set and the gifts are bought to
meet a specific person’s tastes and needs. The gifts are
handed to the correct person either anonymously or openly.
way to keep the gift-buyer anonymous is to have each person
pull a named gift tag from the hat that can be used on the
wrapped present. This was no one else knows who was selected
and not even the hand-writing on the tag will give it away!
Selecting the names at the time you hand out gifts will give
each person a whole year in which to select the gift they
will give. This allows the gift to be thoughtful and
personal, as well as reducing the need for rushing in
allowing everyone to know who is buying for who gives the
opportunity to make requests or suggestions for gifts. This
is practical and satisfying, but a little less magical. An
ideal compromise to know who is buying for whom, but make
sure there is a little extra in the present that is
Tash Hughes is a Mum of two in Melbourne. She is also a writer and owner
of Word Constructions. Tash is available to write articles and profiles for any
business, as well as doing other business documentation projects. You can see
her site and services at www.wordconstructions.com