Secret Santa Etiquette (Yes, Really)
Once upon a time, Secret Santa was a stress-free way of buying something nice, naughty or just plain daft for one designated office colleague.
It was always meant to be a bit of low-cost fun, which didn’t need to go beyond a few pounds and certainly didn’t require much thought. A cheapie bottle of wine or a box of chocolates usually did the trick.
But Santa’s secret sidekick just got serious – and he’s not ho-ho-ho-ing any moreΓÇª.now, the dreaded “e” word has squeezed its way into Secret Santa tradition. “Etiquette” has been forced upon us and the days of carefree that’ll-do shopping are numbered, as we’re lumbered with the extra weight of etiquette responsibility.
Apparently, there are a number of ways to avoid falling foul of Secret Santa. Green & Blacks, purveyor of organic chocolate heaven, recently launched a list of Secret Santa dos and don’ts to help office dwellers stay on the right side of the Man in Red.
Set a Price
Before you all rush out with your plastic to buy the best ever Secret Santa present, make sure everyone has agreed a spending limit. Secret Santa is not a traditionally expensive custom, and ┬ú5 each usually does the trick. But buy a cheap gift for someone that’s just spent a small fortune on you, and yule be sorry.
Secret Santa organisers usually put all the names in a hat and let each person draw theirs out randomly. If however there are certain rivalries or tensions in the office, it might be worth getting involved to make sure that bitter rivals aren’t buying for each other – or you could end up with a festive fight on your hands. If in doubt, don’t dish out names at all. Tell everyone to buy a generic unisex present and then distribute them randomly on the day. Boring but oh so tactful.
Your sense of humour might not be shared by the receiver of your gift, so if you’re planning to buy something “funny”, do so with caution. That Weight Watchers subscription might go down like a ton of bricks. It’s a season of goodwill after all, so make sure your gift really does spread some cheer – otherwise go for something a little less risky.
Remember that if you’re trying hard to make your recipient blush this year, you might answer for it at next year’s Secret Santa handout. As Green & Black’s so delicately put it: “That kinky and slightly inappropriate Fifty Shades inspired paddle might come back to haunt you in 2013…” You might enjoy being haunted by a kinky paddle, but if not, maybe you should stick to safe presents. Or hand in your notice before next Christmas.
If you’re really stuck for ideas, there are certain things that are well loved and will most certainly go down a treat. Naturally, chocolate is one of them. Vouchers, a lottery ticket, booze (assuming your recipient is not tee-total), ΓÇ£smelliesΓÇ¥, photo frames, accessories and daft office paraphernalia are always good ideas to fall back on.
Stick to these handy hints and you’ll have Christmas well and truly wrapped up.
What is the best – or worst – Secret Santa present you have ever received?