You shouldn’t have… No, you really shouldn’t have! – The Works’ Secret Santa Do’s and Don’ts

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Offices and work places across the nation are gearing up for the annual art of giving gifts, otherwise known as The Secret Santa.

From a badly knitted scarf to a bumper pack of socks, everyone has a memory of an awful Christmas present. And a recent Works’ survey reckons eight out of 10 of us will fake festive joy when we unwrap disappointing presents from workmates this Christmas. These ghastly gifts might be devoid of thought or loaded with assumptions that your colleague has made about you – and it’s debatable which is more depressing!

But Secret Santa has become a staple of work life and it’s now an office tradition that leaves us stressed out and confused every year, but we all love it.

There’s a host “safe-bet” presents – essential oil burners, incense sticks, gloves and hot water bottles – that are guaranteed NOT to raise a smile and most of these gifts end up stashed away, given to charity or, even worse, kept until next Christmas and passed on again, which means getting the ‘right’ present for someone takes a lot of patience and thought.

It’s not clear where the Secret Santa idea came from, but it is thought the original Secret Santa was an American philanthropist, Larry Dean Stewart. He coined the name and spent 20 years doing random acts of kindness throughout the year. People soon adopted the Secret Santa idea, seeing it as a way of exchanging gifts anonymously. By the time of Larry Stewart’s death in 2007, Secret Santa had become as part a tradition of Christmas as the day itself.

So with all that goodness and warmness in mind, here are our Do’s and Don’ts of your Secret Santa at work!:

Secret Santa Do’s

• Talk to their work friends – you may not know the person you are buying for, chances are they’ve got friends at work who may be able to give you some tips. But be prepared to be set up by these ‘friends’ so do have your wits about you!
• Stick to the budget, going over will only make others feel bad.
• Remember to deliver your gift in time, you don’t want anyone to be left out.
• Don’t be a scrooge, do take part!

Secret Santa Don’ts

• Do not assume that everyone shares your love of puppies and kittens/Homer Simpson/novelty jewellery/ Michael Buble.
• Steer clear from anything ‘sexy’ – you don’t want a harassment case on your hands. So chocolate willies are a big (or small) no-no! Underwear should be avoided at all costs.
• Calendars featuring nude firemen or Sir Cliff Richard are just not funny and they will be half price on Boxing Day anyway.
• Be grateful for whatever you receive, don’t be the spoilt brat at work – wait until you get home to shed a few tears!
• Don’t be cheap – a ‘personal’ voucher for a year’s worth of tea making or doing the filing probably won’t go down well.

We hope that you have a fantastic Christmas holiday and that next year holds great things for you and your career!