Kris Kringle or Secret Santa- call it what you will, it is almost upon us.

That one time in the whole year that you have to buy a present for a randomly selected co-worker and in return, you receive a present from a randomly selected co-worker. (Unless yours is rigged. Mine is not exactly rigged, but the organiser is somewhat open to suggestions *wink wink*)


The Rules.

In a perfect world, this is how the workplace Secret Santa should go down.

  1. All participants are randomly assigned a person to buy for.
  2. There is a fixed spending amount and fucking everyone must stick to it or else.
  3. Participants should give the organiser an indication of what they might like. This can be passed on to their purchaser if they are struggling to choose something.
  4. Spend the agreed amount. Do not raid your own cupboards for something roughly of that value that you think will do. It won’t do.


Tips for the buyer:

Is regifting okay? 

No, you tightarse, it is not. Everyone goes into the work Secret Santa knowing they will spend the requisite $20 (or whatever the amount is). Is it fair if they spend the $20 while you just drag out and regift a generic coffee mug gift set you shoved in the cupboard a year ago? Of course it isn’t! Don’t be that guy!


What about homemade? 

I actually love quality homemade gifts. Jams, sauces, sweet treats- gimme, gimme, gimme! You just have to be sure that the dollar value is appropriate. If it’s not food, the same applies. Not everyone will appreciate the effort that went into your homemade Christmas decorations, for example. Especially if you aren’t actually all that creative usually and just decided to have a crack at it before work on the day that gifts are due.


We once tried some Turkey art from Pinterest. Didn’t go well.

How about stuff that has been opened or used?

Are you drunk?! Of course that’s not okay! One year, my friend was given a box of chocolates. A pretty standard, impersonal sort of gift but one that most will at least get some sugary joy out of. Unfortunately, her favourite strawberry creams were gone. Caramels, too. Yes- the lazy, inconsiderate gifter had given her a box of chocolates that were half eaten. This was regifting taken to whole new level of lazy fuckery. If this is something you’d do, ban yourself from any future Kris Kringling immediately.


“But I’m so broke this time of year!”

I hear you, friend. Aren’t we all? Christmas, school holidays, all those social occasions- I get it; it adds up. Here’s the thing, though. I am yet to hear of a workplace that has compulsory Kris Kringle. Secret Santa is not specified as mandatory in your contract. It’s optional.  Being broke is no excuse to join in and give a colleague a shitty excuse for a present. Only commit if you can spare the cashola.


Tips for the receiver:

Set the bar pretty low.

You can’t go into Kris Kringle with high hopes. You may well be getting a present from someone who hardly knows you. Hopefully you’ve provided a suggestion or two to your organiser and you’ll get something half decent.

Kris Kringle gifts aren’t usually going to be diamond-encrusted or state-of-the-art anything. Best case scenario is going to be a nice bottle of wine, lovely candles, something tasty or a useful voucher. Don’t expect something highly personal or priced above the spending limit.


Try to be gracious.

I don’t mean you should feign appreciation for partially eaten foods or half bottles of perfume. If someone has actually tried to get you something you’d like, then you should let them know that it was appreciated. Say thank you. Pass the message on through the organiser if you don’t know who bought it. Even if it’s not exactly to your taste. If you can tell they a- bought it and b-spent the required amount and c- it’s not crap then get that gratitude out there. Being polite doesn’t cost a fucking cent and just about everyone appreciates it.


If you get a shitty present, speak up.

I mean seriously shitty. Not “not quite what I wanted” but actually craptastic. If you gave the suggestion of wine and got a bottle of sav blanc when you prefer verdehlo, get over it! Your buyer actually tried.  I’m talking a gift-wrapped packet of chips or a tin of biscuits older than your Nan. You don’t have to have a conniption over it but you should let the organiser know. They don’t have to publicly name and shame (though I wouldn’t object) but they can have a quiet word, letting the horrible gifter know they aren’t welcome to join any future Secret Santa sessions. Most people try to follow the rules and give a decent present. I have to wonder about those that don’t. What kind of person has to be blacklisted from the office Kris Kringle?!?!?


#IBOT @ Capturing Life.


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  • LOL. Nailed it.
    “Is regifting okay? No, you tightarse, it is not.” ROFL.

  • LydiaCLee

    Ah, Kris Kringle…there’s always a few, isn’t there? Ha!

  • I used to love secret santa back in the day but then they changed it to everyone giving a charity donation – which you can’t really argue with but did take the fun out of it. A little bit.

  • Natalie @ Our Parallel Connect

    Hahahaha the pressure the the KK gift. People should’t take is seriously, it is meant to be fun. I love to get something either funny or uplifting – depends if I have had a wine yet ….

    • Definitely fun- but not if everyone isn’t playing fair 🙂

  • There’s always one person who gets the Secret Santa dud – I don’t think I’ve ever done a Kris Kringle without a dodgy gift. Another great HM gift guide, it makes me wish I had a Secret Santa gig to join in with this year! Although it wasn’t a Kris Kringle, this post totally reminded me of that one time, a student teacher in my classroom gave me a bottle of French wine. I took it round to a mate’s house for wine and nibbles and when we opened it, it was water! Disappointing and embarrassing! Bahaha!

    • Oh my goodness! How bloody awkward! She could have at least filled it with a cheaper wine haha! That is cringeworthy!

  • And here I was stressing over the classroom KK’s!
    At my last workplace, I opted out of doing these altogether. It felt insincere. I didn’t know half of the staff. Why buy them presents? (It was an exclusive private school in Melb.)
    The school actually made staff pay to join the yearly gifting program! Sad – yes.
    A funny post!

  • Lol. I have received some shocking Kris Kringle presents in the past. One particular workmate took it upon herself as a challenge to give the dodgiest least wanted present ever. I think she missed the point!

  • I actually haven’t done KK in ages. I also have no memory of any presents I’ve either given or received in the past. Clearly they made a huge impact 😂😂😂

  • I kinda of hate doing these! I always get something I hate and throw in the bin. I think I’m too fussy for Secret Santa presents – or the people I do them with are crap are choosing a present!

  • I love that I don’t have to do this crap anymore! Love having a small workplace within my own home, I guess I could always do a secret Santa with myself, what a surprise that would be 🙂

  • I was once given a pot pouri padded coat hanger at the office Kris Kringle. I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed. But it was not a joke.

    • Someone went to a craft fair, perhaps! 😀 😀

  • Lauren Threadgate

    Our family does a secret santa every year. Thankfully the quality of gifts are much higher than those we used to exchange around the office!

  • I am a big fan of KK and really miss not working in an office at this time of year. So long as the limit is low; no one gets hurt, right???

  • Haha. We do Kris Kringle for one side of our family with a moderate spend limit. Each person gets told three things on that persons wish list that meets the budget. It worked so well last year we are doing it again this year. When I worked in transport, the Kris Kringle gifts were a little inappropriate. Thankfully I never got anything dodgy. Probably cause they knew I was a good church girl.

    • Family KKs can be awesome! At least you know the person you buy for!

    • That’s what we do with my husband’s side of the family and it works really well because people get what they want and it means we don’t have to try and guess what to get everyone (and don’t have to buy a gift for everyone either, which is expensive in a family as large as ours!).

  • Hehe! Very funny! At our work we used to have one guy who for Kris Kringle gifts would visit the local op shop and buy the worst (& cheapest) thing he could find. Hence why one year I ended up receiving a one metre long wooden fork to hang on my wall?!

  • One of the benefits of working from home – no more office KK 😉 . I always put so much time and effort into the KK gifts I bought, but the year I got a book signed by the author TO THE PREVIOUS OWNER – oh and with some pages with shapes cut out of them for craft – I stopped participating anyway.

    Visiting from #teamIBOT x

  • jess

    I love doing KK with my friends, as you can actually put thought into it and get something useful or funny. But with the office version? Blurgh, too hard.

  • I’m mean. If I didn’t like the person, I would TOTALLY regift. But only unopened regifting. I’m not THAT cruel 🙂

  • Oh man, I used to hate the Secret Santa at work, it was the worst, and we did all have to participate, there was none of this optional stuff. Everyone went in the hat and everyone had someone to buy for. Thankfully I didn’t get any really shitty gifts, that was reserved for the boss’s wife and it was CRUEL. I see your co-workers half eaten box of chocolates and I raise you $20 worth of already-scratched scratchies (with none of them winners) and chocolate wrappers done up to look like they had chocolate in them when in fact it was just screwed up paper. So basically just gift-wrapped rubbish. That is what she got. No matter what you thought of her (she was lovely by the way, and always very nice to everyone) nobody deserves that and needless to say that was the last year that Secret Santa was done. The poor woman was almost in tears, it was just so cruel. It ruined the work Christmas party and has left me really wary of Secret Santa now! At least working for myself if I do a SS I know I’ll get something decent, lol!

  • Oh, man. I forgot about this. I’m returning to work on Monday – if I get dragged into a KK it’ll just give me one more thing to stress about! I’m feeling stressed enough!
    In my last job, my team just went out for Christmas lunch instead. Max Brenner, if I remember correctly. (Which had been my idea, but I had morning sickness, so had to pretend to gorge It worked well.

    • So that sounds weird! There were some extra sentences before ‘it worked well’. Not sure what happened! x

    • Max Brenner would do nicely!

  • Ha ha ha!! I haven’t worked in an office for years- I forgot about the Kris Kringle shittery! Who on EARTH gave half a box of chocolates????

  • Haha so funny – i have always done okay with the office Kris Kringle, there are some terrible gift givers out there though. A half eaten box of chocolates, are you kidding me?!!! hehe

  • I was given a pair of panties with cats on them from my old CEO. #creepy #inappropriate

  • The re-gifting thing is so tight, I’ve been on the recieving end of it one too many times!

  • Such a minefield! I’ve had some shockers; bad candle action (not good ones) and crappy regifted Christmas decor but I’ve seen worse – a bottle of dishwashing liquid, regifted dusty glassware, cheap makeup and a book about undies.

    The best was a handpainted plate with a cartoon of me and all the things I liked on it. That was so good I actually cried!

    • $2 shop candles uggghhh. Dishwashing liquid??? Really, people, really???

  • I’m like… “Buy me booze!” Anyone and everyone knows I love champagne so even if the limit is $10 you can easily get a bottle of Yellow or similar for that price. But once I was in a workplace where we had to buy something OTHER than food / alcohol. That was hard. Thankfully I had someone easy and could buy a book, but I cannot remember what the hell I got.

  • I had to keep my mouth shut at the Breast cancer support group Christmas party , the lady opposite me drew the first [$5] gift and it was mine – she didn’t want it (Wiltshire star cookie cutters – I thought all old ladies like baking). I felt so bad . She didn’t stop whinging.

    I got a sensational Natio foot spa pack (worth more the set $5) but I didn’t feel so bad I wanted to swap her.
    I did buy it .
    A ‘relative’ loves to re-gift stuff – doesn’t matter if you gave it to her or not.
    The Dragon boat Christmas KK is getting Christmas cookie cutters and wooden spoons – like or not.

  • I’m a stay home mum so haven’t really been involved in any sort of KK but enjoyed this post!

  • Ah, now this is one of the things I miss about working at home by myself. The randomness of the Secret Santa farce. Where I used to work, the names would be put into an envelope, but all the “easy’ ones to buy for would be taken out by the favourites, leaving the “difficult” people to buy for – yeah, thanks for that! 🙂 #TeamLovinLIfe

  • I was once given plain white tea light candles that cost $2 even though our limit was $10. I don’t have high hopes for KK but you can get decent stuff for $10. Even a scented candle would have been thoughtful! This year, we just had the Stealing Secret Santa yesterday and I scored a yellow cat flower pot and a box of wafers. My contribution was a humourous cup and chocolates.

    • Oh man, tea lights?! Flower pot is way better!

  • writeofthemiddle

    OMG laughing! No you’re not the only one who gives a shit about the rules!! I miss Secret Santa. I have no workmates anymore. Wahhhh!! You are a crack up – loved this post more than Christmas! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife