The Office Secret Santa: How to Choose the Perfect Gift

By TOI Staff   November 1, 2022   Update on : November 1, 2022

The Office Secret Santa

Christmas as a holiday permeates every aspect of our lives, personal and professional. Indeed, workplace Christmas celebrations have become almost as traditional as the holiday itself, between office ‘Christmas Dos’ and, of course, the staff Secret Santa.

But office celebrations have been somewhat muted in recent years. The coronavirus pandemic saw the majority of workers work from home, and restrictions prevent Christmas gatherings beyond the immediate family. Even since the recession of pandemic restrictions, the working landscape has changed irrevocably, with more people working flexibly or from home overall.

Still, the upcoming Christmas is one of the first unbounded by the impacts of the pandemic – and a perfect opportunity for businesses to rekindle festive traditions with team members new and old. This promises to be a great season for facilitating workplace cohesion, especially for newer members of staff that may not be as well ingratiated as others socially. But can Secret Santa complement these efforts, and if so, how should you approach it?

Secret Santa, and Divided Opinion

Secret Santa is a tradition in and of itself, forming a social and inexpensive way for everyone to get involved in the Christmas spirit. But some of us are unapologetic Grinches when it comes to the activity – and the numbers are growing.

According to research undertaken by instantprint, the percentage of people who dislike their office Secret Santa has risen from 19% to 23% since 2019, with nearly a third of workers admitting to being an office Grinch. Further to that, roughly one in every ten of us would like to see the office Secret Santa cancelled altogether – with anxiety given as a leading cause of concern over the holiday.

The Best Secret Santa Gifts

The same survey identified some of the best gifts to give at an office Secret Santa, as told by those fortunate enough to receive them themselves. The top of the list for most popular Secret Santa gifts at 58% was chocolate and sweets; these treats are near-universally enjoyable, and a great all-around option that proves popular even amongst those who are difficult to please. Alcohol was a relatively close second, with many of us using the festive season to kick back and relax.

Choosing a Secret Santa Gift This Christmas

But what should you choose in carrying out your own Secret Santa responsibilities. Chocolate and sweets seem a strong option, but this is also a chance for you to demonstrate a proper understanding of your given colleague’s likes and needs.

For example, they might be one of an increasing number of employees starting their own side business as a passion project. You could gift them a personalised set of business cards as a token of goodwill for their new venture – or with joke information as a novelty.

Whatever you choose to do with your Secret Santa, fun should be at the centre of your decision. Christmas is a time for spreading joy; as long as your choice of a gift places a smile on your colleague’s face, you’re doing office Christmas right.

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