General Etiquette > general

Cheap Secret Santa

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I have been lurking here for a long time, so I know you will pull no punches.  Every year our Admin team chooses names for a Secret Santa, there are 9 of  us.  We know each other pretty well and each year almost everyone gets something that they like.  We have a $25 limit, some go over, but one person's gifts always look like they cost about $5.00.  Where most give nice  costume jewelry, scarves, etc, this person always gives tacky ornaments that light up, or items that probably come from the Discount Housewares store that have been marked down to $5 from $25.  So, I have 2 questions. If the spend amount is $25 and you find something marked down from that, shouldn't you still spend the whole $25?  The second question is what should we do about it?  One of the team members engaged the cheapskate in a conversation about how thoughtful some of the gifts are and that they must have put a lot of thought into getting the perfect gift for that person, hoping to encourage her to buy something decent for a change, unfortunately, it didn't work.

This is exactly one of the reasons why I loathe Secret Santa at work--because you almost invariably have one person that picks up the cheapest, tackiest, ugliest item off a clearance rack and thinks someone should be thrilled to receive it.  (On one famous instance, we had someone give a gift card that had already been used.  Although I felt sorry for the recipient, I was glad in some respects as it killed the practice in that office.)

It should be made clear from the beginning that participation in the exchange is not mandatory--but that those who do participate are expected to gift something that is an equitable amount, in new condition, and that further instances will cause the practice to be shut down.

Or you could simply form small groups, do the exchange amongst yourselves and leave that person out (if you know for sure who it is).


--- Quote from: xanne on December 19, 2012, 10:49:31 AM ---The second question is what should we do about it? 

--- End quote ---

Maybe reduce the amount everyone is supposed to spend.  The "cheapskate" might not be able to afford (or might not want to afford) that much for a co-worker.  I have family members who are in the $15 range, to me co-worker gifts should be in the $10 and under range, $15 at most.

I think this is the reason that a lot of offices are getting away from the Secret Santa thing.  It always causes disappointment and hard feelings.

Probably, the best thing to do would be to send a company-wide announcement that participation in the Secret Santa is not mandatory, but anyone wishing to participate should spend a minimum of XX dollars not exceeding XX dollars.

Honestly, I kind of feel like the $25 stipulation is satisfied if the discounted item is actually honest-to-goodness worth $25. If it's junk and never should have been $25 in the first place, yeah, that's cheaping out. But if the item is really worth $25, then if you add other items onto it, that person is getting gifts worth way more than what other people in the exchange will get.

Obviously this is pretty gray! What's "really worth $25" isn't really set in stone. One can only hope people will use their common sense and consideration. It sounds like either this person isn't doing that and is picking items that never should have been $25 at all, or else that their tastes are way different from those of the rest of the office, which can lead to disappointment.


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