Author Topic: Secret Santa  (Read 6485 times)

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Honey

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Secret Santa
« on: August 27, 2012, 07:16:24 PM »
So... I know this is way early.  But, with the end of summer upon us, I found myself thinking about the upcoming holidays.  My mind wandered to my office Secret Santa gift exchange, and the question that always pops into my head... would it be rude to decline to participate? 

It's not about money.  The amount is reasonable, and I can afford it.  My issue is with the way it's done.  Everyone is so afraid of getting something that they won't like.  The amount is set at $20.  Everyone writes their name on a piece of paper along with 3 very specific items that they would like.  80 to 90 percent of the people write down the names of 3 stores to which they would like a $20 gift card.  Then, names are drawn, and the other person runs out and buys one of the 3 listed items... i.e., a gift card (or other specifically named item).  I just don't get it.  Why bother?  We all then sit around and watch everyone open the items which they requested (mostly envelopes with gift cards).  Surprise... not!

The typical submission looks like this:

Mary Smith
$20 gift card - Macy's
$20 gift card - Bed Bath & Beyond
$20 gift card - Target

I hope I'm not being a Scrooge, but this just isn't any fun for me.  All I'm doing is exchanging $20 that I can spend anywhere for $20 that I can only spend in one place.  And, I've tried writing surprise me... I just get a $20 gift card to a random store.

Luci45

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Re: Secret Santa
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2012, 07:24:37 PM »
Not rude, but sometimes office politics prohibit opting out. I opted out the 4 years I worked in an office, but I didn't really want to advance in that field so didn't much care.

I opted out at the school, too, but the teachers knew I didn't socialize much, although I was well-respected for my work, so no problem there, either.

BatCity

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Re: Secret Santa
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2012, 07:30:54 PM »
So here's what you do...

Participate.  Get the wish list from your "target".  Get her two really horrendous things from a thrift store or garage sale*.  Present them first.  Make a big show out of it.  Then for the third gift, give her the three things she really wants.

*Don't pay more than 50 cents.  And if you want, you can milk it: "I only paid fifty cents for it!  Can you believe it?  I saw it and it made me just THINK of you!"

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Isometric

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Re: Secret Santa
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2012, 07:51:27 PM »
I don't think you have to participate, nor give a reason why. Some offices can be very precious about their Secret Santas though, so it may be "easier" to participate. To me it's more a social aspect, rather than actually getting a present you really want!

Could you write things you actually would like, but not specifics? Like "Candles" "Chocolate" or "Gloves"? Or you could try "suprise me" again, but add "no gift cards please!"


O'Dell

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Re: Secret Santa
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2012, 08:14:37 PM »
Since you are thinking of this so early, why not come up with something you think would work better in your office and suggest it?

What about a white elephant (I think that's what it's called when people bring gifts and steal from one another).

My husband worked for a place where they had to "regift" something they had gotten in the past. He says it was a riot. The first year it was just the office staff but they were having so much fun that some other workers asked to be included. Some of the regifts were downright outlandish. I think there was a mannequin of some sort involved. And who cares at the end who got what? A person gets a laugh and can bin their "regift" at the end if they don't want to take it home.

If suggesting something new isn't an option for you, then declining probably isn't a good option either. But it's technically not impolite to decline to participate.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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Tabby Uprising

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Re: Secret Santa
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2012, 08:28:56 PM »
Not rude, but sometimes office politics prohibit opting out. I opted out the 4 years I worked in an office, but I didn't really want to advance in that field so didn't much care.

I opted out at the school, too, but the teachers knew I didn't socialize much, although I was well-respected for my work, so no problem there, either.

I very much agree with this and think it is a "know your audience" kind of situation.  It's always best to play it safe with a work environment.  But, I also really love O'Dell's idea of suggesting an alternative.  A white elephant gift exchange sounds like the right kind of fun for an office.  You don't really need a $20 gift certificate from a co-worker and have more gift giving stress on top of your personal gift giving.  This is silly stress relief and dare I say, almost a team building activity to boot.

Honey

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Re: Secret Santa
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2012, 08:46:52 PM »
Since you are thinking of this so early, why not come up with something you think would work better in your office and suggest it?

The people running it are convinced that this is the right way to do it, so that no one is disappointed... or surprised.  Alternative suggestions would not go over well.  Personally, I'd just prefer not to participate.  As someone said, I don't need the stress of having to find a specific item around the holidays, and who needs a $20 gift card in return anyway.  Thanks for the good ideas so far though.

Venus193

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Re: Secret Santa
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2012, 08:49:55 PM »
I agree with Luci.  Sometimes the political situation just won't allow it.

Having said that, how many people participate?  If it's a large office your lack of participation might not be noticed.  Can you take vacation time when it's happening to avoid dealing with it?

CakeEater

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Re: Secret Santa
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2012, 09:45:27 PM »
Every work secret santa I've been involved with was completely optional. Maybe a big smile and "I'd rather not, this year" when you're asked to sign up.


NotTheNarcissist

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Re: Secret Santa
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2012, 10:15:14 PM »
It is not rude to not participate. I love Secret Santa but I've always had the best Santas. I firmly believe it is not rude to not participate. People need to get over themselves even the office divas.

kherbert05

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Re: Secret Santa
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2012, 11:16:27 PM »
I like the way our school does it. If you want to participate, you go to a meeting after 3:30 and put your name in. No-one bugs those who opt out.
Don't Teach Them For Your Past. Teach Them For Their Future

Brisvegasgal

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Re: Secret Santa
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2012, 11:41:50 PM »
I'm not a fan of Secret Santa either so when one year a colleague suggested that instead of buying gifts for each other, we buy them for a charity, I totally supported it.  I've also suggested this for all of the other teams I've been in. 

I'm not sure how it would work where you're from, but in Australia, many stores (like Target) run a gift wishing tree type charity and for one year we purchased food for the local animal shelter.

Honey

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Re: Secret Santa
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2012, 11:56:32 PM »
It is not rude to not participate. I love Secret Santa but I've always had the best Santas. I firmly believe it is not rude to not participate. People need to get over themselves even the office divas.

I like the idea of Secret Santa... it could be fun.  But, just exchanging gift cards seems to defeat the purpose.  It feels like everyone is just going through the motions to avoid the stigma of not participating and offending someone.  I mean really... last year I was tempted to write:

Honey
$20 cash - 4 x $5
$20 cash - 2 x $10
$20 cash - 1 x $20
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 11:59:40 PM by Honey »

CakeEater

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Re: Secret Santa
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2012, 02:43:39 AM »
^ At least you've given them options!

StarFaerie

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Re: Secret Santa
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2012, 03:22:04 AM »
It is not rude to not participate. I love Secret Santa but I've always had the best Santas. I firmly believe it is not rude to not participate. People need to get over themselves even the office divas.

I like the idea of Secret Santa... it could be fun.  But, just exchanging gift cards seems to defeat the purpose.  It feels like everyone is just going through the motions to avoid the stigma of not participating and offending someone.  I mean really... last year I was tempted to write:

Honey
$20 cash - 4 x $5
$20 cash - 2 x $10
$20 cash - 1 x $20

That made me laugh so hard. Thank you :)

I think it depends on your office politics. I can't opt out of mine as much as I want to as the gifting is done in a staff ,meeting so it is obvious who is and isn't involved and I would be seen as not being a "team player", but your work may have a different situation.