Shops are beginning to stock their Christmas wares, festive lights have been hung in the streets, the first Christmas songs will be playing on the radio any day now and it’s not even December yet. You may roll your eyes when you see such early preparations for the festive season, but can you blame people? November is dark and cold and people need something to look forward to.
What’s the Point of Secret Santa?
Many offices do Secret Santa in the run-up to Christmas to get employees into the festive spirit. Secret Santa is a cheap way of gift-giving with a group of people, so everyone in the group ends up with a Christmas gift but no one spends more than a few quid. If it’s fallen to you to organise your office’s Secret Santa this year, here are some pointers to help you keep everyone happy.
How to Organise Secret Santa
Don’t assume everyone will want to be involved. Send out a group email asking who wants to participate in this year’s Secret Santa and ask that everyone reply (even if only to tell you they’re not interested) before a certain date. When the deadline comes around, write everyone’s name on pieces of paper, put them all in a hat and gather your Secret Santa participants. Have everyone draw a name from the hat – but warn everyone in advance to keep it a secret! Word travels fast, so if one person starts telling others who they got, the secrecy will soon unravel, taking from the fun of it.
The Price Tag
It’s a good idea to set a price limit on presents. If one person gets a bottle of expensive cologne and somebody else gets a novelty mug, it’ll be embarrassing for everyone involved. (Remember the episode of “The Office” where Michael bought an iPod as Ryan’s Secret Santa gift? Yeah. Not advisable.) The price limit should be low. In my experience, this actually encourages people to put more thought into finding a good gift. Plus, you don’t want to put undue financial strain on people, especially at Christmas time.
Gift Ideas to Get People Thinking
If you like, you can send out an email giving people pointers on what kinds of Secret Santa gifts to get. Something related to the person’s interests is always a good idea as you can be sure they’ll get use out of the gift, however small it is. Some people like to take the humorous route, which can also work well as long as the gift is incontrovertibly humorous and in no way offensive. Finally, you all work in an office, so quirky office supplies or nice mugs are another safe option for Secret Santa.
When it comes to Christmas, there are definitely cynics out there who lament the materialism of the holiday and the early onset of Christmas mania, but at the end of the day, it’s a time when people spend time together and exchange gifts to show how much they care for the people in their lives. The holiday makes long, hard winters that bit more bearable and happy even for everyone, so don’t be a Grinch this Christmas season!
Guest Author: William Pollock, regional manager of a company that produces all in one printers.