Call it what you will -- Secret Santa, Yankee swap or White Elephant -- a gift exchange takes the pressure off buying holiday gifts for each person in a group. It's an especially budget-friendly idea for gift-giving in the office or in large groups of friends or big families. How it works is simple: Everyone's name is thrown into a hat (or some other container), shuffled around and then each person picks a name out of the hat. The name you choose is the person you buy a gift for, but no telling! It's supposed to remain a secret until the recipient guesses (correctly or incorrectly) the gift giver.
One drawback is that you could end up buying a gift for someone you don't know well. There are, however, plenty of universally appreciated items, including food and gift cards. Many gift exchanges cap the amount to be spent on gifts, which means you can stop worrying about spending too much on the guy in marketing who never remembers your name.