Secret Friend



By Maria. Maria is from sunny Brazil. Her native language is Portuguese. Maria has been studying English most of her life and now teaches English to high school and college students.

CHRISTMAS in my country of Brazil is quite similar to other Christian countries. Families get together for dinner on December 24th about 10.00 p.m. The main dish is turkey. There is music and some dancing. On December 25th they get together again for lunch. Usually they pray or go to a religious service, too.

     Usually before dinner on December 24th, or sometimes after dinner, people exchange presents. Those presents are a result of a kind of game they play days before the Great Night. The game is called Secret Friend. Here is how it is played:

     People meet early in December to “pick” their secret friend in a kind of raffle. Every participant picks a little paper where there is the name of his or her secret friend. This gathering is also a special event just like Christmas. There is very delicious food and people have a very happy time together. Some people say they are tired of playing Secret Friend and that they are not going to take part but, in the end, they cannot resist and play again. During the days before Christmas Night, everybody writes messages to his or her friend, but they do not put their names on the message. This is what makes the game such fun! Everyone imagines who could be the person sending them funny letters. In the letters (for fun, of course) people ask for impossible presents: to dine with George Clooney, to travel to the moon, to see the making of a film in Holywood, or to own a very expensive car.

     When the moment comes to exchange presents, each person describes his or her secret friend from the letters that person has written. Everybody then tries to guess who the secret person is.  This is when there are many jokes and people laugh a lot. 

     Sometimes people give a t-shirt of the football team his friend hates and everybody laughs. But after that, the person gives a “real” present. It is a way for everyone to get a present, but it does not take so much money!

     People play Secret Friend at their workplace or at school, but the best one is at home with family. In the end, it is just an excuse to be together to love each other.

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