Fashion Fanfic: Inside One Direction’s Annual Secret Santa Gift Exchange

One Direction love exchanging gifts.
Photos: Getty Images, Photoshop: Maeve Keirans

Chances are good you’re doing one of the following three things right now: 1.) getting your hands dirty in the kitchen helping prepare Christmas dinner, 2.) running around the mall picking up last-minute presents for those cousins you forgot were coming over, 3.) holing up in your room, eyeballs deep in wrapping paper and Scotch tape for the foreseeable future. Yea, us too. But we prepared a little light reading on the off-chance you need a momentary escape from your uncle’s fishing stories or something to read on your phone as you tell your relatives you’re catching up on “work emails.” That’s right, ladies and gents. It’s a new installment of Fashion Fanfic (Christmas edition!) starring One Direction.

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the tour bus, four members of One Direction struggled to wrap their Secret Santa gifts. Liam was the only member tucked behind the velvet curtain in his bunk. He had picked up his final Secret Santa gift for Louis weeks earlier, so he went to sleep as the other boys scattered throughout the bus, trying to tape their last gifts closed.

One by one, the boys finished wrapping and set off to bed. They had a big day ahead of them: a sold-out show in New York City and the third and final day of their annual Secret Santa gift exchange. Secret Santa was something the boys had done since The X Factor. That first year, in 2010, they decided to do it to cheer each other up after getting the boot from the show. Even though their lives had changed dramatically since then, this was one tradition they still maintained.

After waking up the next morning (Harry first, Zayn last), they gathered around in the bus’ lounge.

“Alright, Harry, you go first since it’ll take you the longest to guess who your Santa is,” Liam said.

“Let’s see, the first day, I got a scarf…which I intend to use as a headband. The second day, I got a tiny hoop earring, and, um, as you guys just saw, my final gift was a pair of black jeans with fully intact knees. So, um, it seems like…this person knows me pretty well, shares my love of, um, skinny black jeans, and knows his way around, um, earrings for men, so…Zayn?”

“Yeah, man, Happy Christmas. Good guess,” Zayn replied.

“Can I go? Can I go? Can I go?” Niall was eager to open his final present.

It was widely accepted throughout the group that whoever landed Niall had the easiest job: he adored literally everything he had ever received. Last year, for instance, Louis had forgotten their gift exchange entirely and picked up some candy for Niall at every gas station they stopped at. Niall was thrilled.

“OK, so first of all, a massive thank you to whoever got me these presents. I got a framed picture of me and my future wife, Katy, a Green Bay Packers snapback, and a new pair of Wayfarers…” Niall briefly broke into an acoustic rendition of “The Boys Of Summer,” and Liam jumped in, beatboxing.

“Lads, lads, we have things to do, shows to play,” Harry reminded them.

“Oh, right. Liam?” Niall guessed.

“Good guess, mate, but it wasn’t me,” Liam said.

“It was me, Niall! Do you like your gifts? I’ll get you something else if you don’t,” Harry chimed in.

“Yea, man, they’re great! OH! GREEN BAY PACKERS snapback! I should’ve guessed. I forgot you’re a massive Cheesehead. That’s what they’re called, right? Cheeseheads?”

“I’ll go.” Louis was getting antsy. It was only two hours ’til showtime and his new, unkempt hairstyle actually took more time than it let on. “Let’s see. I got a pair of socks, which, as you know, I will never wear. I’m sorry if my feet smell and bother you, but I’m not that sorry, if you know what I mean.”

The other four nodded. They knew, obviously. Years of skipping socks had left Louis with permanently smelly feet. Liam, who was Louis’ Secret Santa, figured he’d at least give it a try this year. Last year, Niall had also attempted introducing socks into Louis’ wardrobe and also failed. Miserably.

“The second day, I was handed an unwrapped notebook from Zayn, which means Zayn is not, in fact, my Secret Santa. The notebook, I think, is for song-writing, so even though it looked like a last-minute effort, it is actually quite thoughtful. And then today, whoever this person is, has really outdone himself. Well done, sir. This signed David Beckham football is so sick, actually. Like, top three gifts of all time, to be quite honest. That leaves Niall and Liam as my gift-givers, and I’m gonna go with…Liam.”

“Ugh, you know what, I was trying to throw you off with the whole Zayn thing, but I think I really shot myself in the foot with that one. You’re right, though, the notebook is for writing, and I hope we can just, like, chill and write like we did for Midnight Memories.”

“I’m in. As long as I don’t have to wear these bloody socks.”

“Yeah, I figured. That’s fine with me. I’ll go, then? Does that sound good, lads?”

“Go for it,” Niall replied. Niall figured responding quickly would throw Liam off his present-giving path.

“OK, so my Santa re-gifted me an electric razor, which is weird, but appreciated. He also got me a pair of red underwear, since mine were stolen in Australia, and, finally, a dartboard with a picture of Boy George’s face on it. To be fair, I would guess Zayn because the dartboard is rather artistic, but I know he loves his electric razor, so I’m gonna hafta go with Niall.”

“Yeah, well, as you can see,” Niall said stroking his baby-soft face, “Harry and I don’t need electric razors yet, so we’re giving them away. Don’t worry, I didn’t use the razor. Brand spankin’ new, just for you.”

“Hey!” Harry piped in, “I can grow hair on my upper lip, thank you very much, Niall. I’m thinking about a mustache, actually.”

“Congratulations, Harry, would you like to see my chest hair?”

“I see it every day, Niall. We live together, remember?”

“You jealous? Just kidding! I’m just really proud of it. Alright, Zayn, buddy, your turn.”

Just like the past three years, Zayn was the last to guess. Waiting meant he didn’t actually have to guess, just name the person who was still left. He liked it better this way.

“Alright, so obviously my person is Louis, and I will say I would’ve guessed that even if there were other people left.”

“Yeah right, man,” Louis responded.

“No really. I mean, only you know what kind of skateboard I like. You’re the only one who dares to wake me up in the morning, which the rolling alarm clock you got me will now do. And you also accidentally signed the tattoo shop gift certificate you got me, so, I’ve known since the first day of giving.”

“Shut up. Did I really? I am an idiot.”

“Naw, man, it’s cool. I’m excited to go with ya. Thanks.”

“Well, lads, another year extraordinarily hectic year, but we still somehow managed to fit in our gift exchange,” Louis was starting to get sentimental. “I’m proud of us. Job well done.”

“Ditto, fellas. Couldn’t be prouder,” Zayn said as he motioned toward the door. “Now, let’s go say hi to the girls screaming outside our bus.”

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