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*)
In a perfect world, this is how the workplace Secret Santa should go down.
- All participants are randomly assigned a person to buy for.
- There is a fixed spending amount and fucking everyone must stick to it or else.
- 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.
- 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.
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.