Do you dread Christmas at work? Do you have awkward memories of last year’s Secret Santa when you didn’t understand the joke that was your present? Did you see somebody receive a horrible present and put on a forced display to avoid the tension? Secret Santa is a great way to have fun and save money, but some people worry about buying for somebody they might not know so well. It’s a difficult route; most people buy novelty, fun or comic gifts to provoke the reaction of laughter whilst other people go for the safe options of chocolate and food. You risk the former not going down so well whilst the latter will never thrill anybody, so what is there to do?
Stick within the set price limit. It’s always embarrassing when you open a present that cost double the limit and your given gift was much cheaper. You’re following the rules, so you don’t deserve to feel belittled by it. Make sure that everybody agrees to stick to this limit; lower limits can be more fun because of the thought that has to go into finding budget presents.
Make sure that you put it the right amount of effort. It might be a lot less risky to go for a box of chocolates or sweets but nobody is thrilled by that gift. If you don’t know the person that you’re buying for, ask around and try to find out something about them. Don’t try and fulfil all the emotions in a single present. Decide if you’re going to try and be funny, genuine, ironic etc. Trying to buy something to make everybody laugh that’s practical for the receiver might fall flat on its feet. Decide on a theme and stick to it, you’ll get better results.
Make sure you leave enough time to buy the gift you’re looking for. Christmas rushes can strip the shelves bare in the weeks running up to the big day, either order it online or buy it well in advance. You don’t want to be forced into buying a replacement gift that doesn’t have the personal touch your original idea had.
If in doubt, play it safe. Not safe as in a box of basic chocolates, but if you’ve drawn your boss out of the hat and you have an idea in mind; be sure it will go down well. A lot of the best gifts can be 50/50, they’ll either make everybody roar with laughter or offend them. These might be okay between close friends who can laugh the awkwardness off, but don’t take this big a risk in the work place when that promotion push might be on the line!
Lastly, be civil when you receive your gift. If you’ve received it from somebody you don’t like, it’s Christmas! Put your differences aside and don’t ruin the fun of everybody else’s unwrapping. Always be polite and say thank you for any gift, even if it’s going in the bin as soon as you get home!