Author Topic: Cheap Secret Santa  (Read 12180 times)

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lcmamom

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #60 on: December 21, 2012, 10:52:50 AM »
We used to have a Secret Santa at my office where you gifted for a week then we had a party where a larger gift was given with a reveal.

One participant was having money problems and gifted small items during the week, candy bar etc...  The giftee was a friend of hers who would come to her and complain about what crappy gifts he was receiving.

So for the final reveal she had two gifts...the first was a dollar store plastic poop and the second was something he wanted.  We all had a good laugh and he was rightfully embarrassed.  It was a close knit office, so no feelings were hurt.

Venus193

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #61 on: December 21, 2012, 01:41:05 PM »
The small gift thing in my last office was over a three week period but didn't have to be daily.  I did a build-up on it that included the following stuff:

Coupon for $1 off at Starbucks
Regular candy bars guys like (Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers)
Bag of good trail mix
Share-able size high-end candy bar (cherry liqueur filling)
Block-shaped candle with the Playboy rabbit head (cherry-scented)
Playboy Club ash tray (found in my mother's house during a big clean-out)
Unique martini glass (thrift-shop find) and an airline-size bottle of Stolichnya vodka (James Bond's original favorite)

The presented gift was a copy of the Criterion Collection's edition of Fellini's 8 1/2 (acquired free for bonus point credits) and a special edition of Caswell-Massey's Presidential soap collection (purchased at a 33% off sale).



Final total value was over the limit, but everyone was impressed.  People had to guess who their Secret Santa was and he guessed incorrectly before realizing that it had to be someone who was routinely in the office earlier than he was.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #62 on: December 21, 2012, 02:08:51 PM »
Quote
The "cheapskate" might not be able to afford (or might not want to afford) that much for a co-worker.

That was my thinking as well.  You never know someone's financial situation, and it could be that this person is doing the best they can.  They could have a lot of other people in their lives to buy for, they could have debts you don't know about, whatever.

$25 for coworkers seems really high to me.  Even if I can afford that, I'd almost be a bit resentful that I'm having to spend so much on someone at work when I could be spending that much more on my family instead.

Yes, I realize that it may not be mandatory to participate.  But there could be a reason why he doesn't want to opt out.  Doesn't want to be embarrassed that he's not able to afford it, so he tries to hide it and be a part anyway, doesn't want to be left out when everyone else is doing it, needs that one little "spark" in his life right now to offset something stressful in his real life, whatever.

I don't think you (generic) should be judging him like it sounds like he's being judged.

And, if he's just doing it because he's a jerk, so be it.  But that's not really something for you to determine.

This was my thinking too.  There are some people who are rather proud and don't really want to let on to others that they are not doing too well, financially.   I'm kinda like that and while I wouldn't go with the cheapest thing ever, I would try to find something nice (or even make something) that didn't cost me $25 but would be something the receiver would like.  But I would participate if only so I didn't either a) look like a scrooge or b) have to let on my reasoning. 

As it is, when I mentioned to some people at church my dh lost his job, I was quick to say that we were staying afloat because he had savings and a severance package to get us through.  It was true, and while things were a bit tighter wrt money for fun stuff, we didn't go hungry and bills were paid on time. 
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Morty'sCleaningLady

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #63 on: December 21, 2012, 02:13:13 PM »
We had our Secret Santa on Monday.  I brought in a bag of Starbucks Christmas Roast whole bean coffee, worth $15 - our spending cap.  The gift I unwrapped was an okay bottle of Australian wine.  Then, in the swap part, I ended up with a hideous faux brass pen holder.  It's got a price tag of $16.99 on it, but it screams Dollar Store 1/2 price bin.  I'm furious.  I've put it aside and will rewrap it (with a Dunkins gift card) next year, so someone else can dispose of it.

If it is that bad, why would you gift it to your co-workers?

And are you planning to regift it right in front of the person who bought it?  That seems mean.

Yes, but I'm including a nice gift card for the full amount of the draw in the package.  And I think whomever brought it in knows that it wasn't an appropriate gift.
Formerly Mrs.Bart

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #64 on: December 21, 2012, 02:26:33 PM »
The last SS I participated in was years ago so I don't quite remember all I gave. I think the cap for the weekly presents was $5 so I got a few things from Five Below that were like little inside office jokes.  My giftee was a receptionist who had to deal with some nasty folks so one week I gave her a necklace with a pendant that was hand shaped with the evil eye in it, to ward off any nastiness.  She had a good chuckle when she found it.  Another week I gave her a funny little pen that had a funny face on it and hair sticking out the top.  I think I gave her some nice cocoa one week? I just remember the hand and the pen. 

The final gift, it's funny, it turned out to be a better gift than I realized.  My giftee was just someone that was always pleasant and tried to be happy even when people were bugging her so I got her a Willow Tree "Happiness" figure.  http://www.citylightscollectibles.com/Happiness.html?gclid=CK2Cmf6crLQCFUid4AodAyIAUw

Turns out she loved birds and had parakeets! I didn't even know that! LOL!
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

oogyda

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #65 on: December 21, 2012, 05:50:13 PM »
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.
I think it is surprising that anyone would make a judgement about someone spending less for a gift (and possibly all they can afford) but not about those who overspend. 
She may not want to opt out because it would be awkward for all if she were the only one with no gift.  I think you just have to look at it in the spirit of what it is and appreciate the thought.  Maybe it's time to think about lowering the amount you may spend or instead take up a collection and present it to a childrens organization, the food bank or something like that.

I agree with Bijou. 

I also think you all have some learning to do on the art of graciously accepting gifts (no matter what they are). 
It's not what we gather along the way that matters.  It's what we scatter.

heathert

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #66 on: December 22, 2012, 01:06:10 PM »
I hate SS too but I'm at a new job with only five other people in my department, which includes my boss. Everyone else did it, so I did it too but I hate it because I really can't afford to just give everyone gits (especially people that aren't friends outside of work). If I could opt out without a bunch of fall-out I would, but I am well aware it would not go over well. 

I really don't like Christimas as much anymore.

Shalamar

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #67 on: December 23, 2012, 02:02:38 PM »
At my old job, it was traditional to give new female hires suggestive gifts for Secret Santa.   So, the first year I participated, I wasn't surprised to get a Playgirl calendar and various, ahem, toys.  I laughed and took it like a good sport.

The following year - same thing.  I was like "Oookay", because I wasn't a newbie anymore, but whatever.   I still laughed about it, but I was secretly a bit upset.

The next year, I was given a potted cactus.   Nice, eh?  Except that the planter was made to look like a drunk Native American, and part of the cactus stuck out of his pants to resemble, well, you know.  So, it was not only offensive, it was racist to boot.

I'd had enough of being a good sport.   I'll probably go to E-Hell for this, but I flung that planter into the nearest garbage can with all my strength, right in front of everybody.

Amava

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #68 on: December 23, 2012, 02:12:46 PM »
At my old job, it was traditional to give new female hires suggestive gifts for Secret Santa.   So, the first year I participated, I wasn't surprised to get a Playgirl calendar and various, ahem, toys.  I laughed and took it like a good sport.

The following year - same thing.  I was like "Oookay", because I wasn't a newbie anymore, but whatever.   I still laughed about it, but I was secretly a bit upset.

The next year, I was given a potted cactus.   Nice, eh?  Except that the planter was made to look like a drunk Native American, and part of the cactus stuck out of his pants to resemble, well, you know.  So, it was not only offensive, it was racist to boot.

I'd had enough of being a good sport.   I'll probably go to E-Hell for this, but I flung that planter into the nearest garbage can with all my strength, right in front of everybody.

 :o :o  And then what happened?
And did you ever find out why they kept doing that?

Shalamar

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #69 on: December 23, 2012, 04:15:22 PM »
I got a normal present the following year.   :)

Why did they do it?   I don't know, but I suspect that I'd done too good a job of pretending that I thought such gifts were funny.   That planter, though ... I'd NEVER said or done anything that should have led them to believe that I'd find that humorous.

It looked a bit like this, only worse:

http://streamers.com/bisque/wedding/xr-indian.jpg

Venus193

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #70 on: December 23, 2012, 06:27:16 PM »
In my opinion that's grounds for a sexual harassment suit.

andi

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #71 on: December 23, 2012, 06:38:58 PM »
My take on SS was that you gave a gift that was valued at the price limit - so if it was a $10 limit and you bought a $10 item on Salween for $5 - that was ok

Ive always loved doing SS - I've done them at every office I've worked at and never had a problem - I like to give gifts and anything received back was extra. I still have a handmade snowman "jumpy" puppet I got years ago.

 However - this year I have to say Im a bit peeved.  We had a totally optional SS at my store, gifts were supposed to be brought on Saturday - as of 4 pm Sunday, two of us have not received a gift.  I'm a bit disappointed but shrugged it off - the other girl is NOT happy. Right she's on a mission to find out who the two culprits are - cross referencing who participated with who wasn't at work the last two days. 

Allyson

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #72 on: December 23, 2012, 07:30:03 PM »
One thing I found really frustrating about some of these exchanges was this...if you opted out, you got the side-eye and some grumbling about being a 'bad sport'. But if you opted in, and just weren't a good/creative gift-giver then you got even more grumbling about who gave the unthoughtful gift card when other people did these really fun, creative things. I feel the same way about potluck type deals...you can't mandate everyone participate and then demand high quality when it's something plenty of people aren't great at. Either make it an 'everyone does it' thing and accept varying levels of quality, or have it only be for people who are really enthusiastic about whatever it is.

Also the fact that women seem to get more pressure around these events does put me off. People seem to 'forgive' guys a lot more easily when they give an unthoughtful gift or make a meal that isn't homemade from scratch.

Venus193

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #73 on: December 23, 2012, 08:02:05 PM »
I discussed this thread with my college bud and we agreed that this practice should stop.  Both of us think that the implied obligation to participate is unfair and that some of the spending parameters are inappropriate.  I hope my next office doesn't do this.

RegionMom

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #74 on: December 23, 2012, 11:49:46 PM »
It all depends on the office culture.

My old job (private church) school had 30-40 employees, and we had secret pals or prayer pals for the semester. You could choose one or neither. 

At orientation, the tech/admin person passed out a form where you could fill in your favorite snacks and drinks, what you wanted or did not want, fave colors, etc...
For prayer pals, it was more personal, with family details and specific prayer needs that could be shared if you wished on the form.

These forms were tweaked every couple of years until they were fine tuned and almost error-proof if you followed what was written by the pal you drew.

(I worked here over a decade.  It was not intrusive and I am still friends with many people there.  SP gifts were fun and it added to work enjoyment.  That, and the fact that the director often came around door to door during naptime/quiet time with bite-sized chocolate and/or candies for the teachers!)

The it/tech made copies of the forms and then kept track of who drew who, by having the recipient write their name on the outside of the folded up paper.  When a teacher moved away, she re-assigned with permission and all was well.

When I subbed in a jr high last December when a teacher quit abruptly, I knew the girls' homeroom I was suddenly in charge of needed extra love and attention.  I assigned secret santas and made sure each girl knew to gift each other.  I also came in each morning and added a small treat to their in my room locker stockings, whether a mint, a hershey's kiss, a Christmas pun, a small candy cane, a pencil grip eraser, etc...

When one girl reported that after a few days she had not received anything from her pal, I discreetly asked the giver if she had forgotten, to learn that she was planning a bigger gift at the end instead of little gifts leading up to the last day breakfast party/reveal.  No feelings hurt, and all was well.

Both times it took time and organization and care and reminders. 

I would not expect a business full of adults that may not interact with each other even at lunch to suddenly feel led to give awesome gifts, especially if the one in charge of the pal'ing does not lay out careful expectations.

gift range (say $5-$8, or $20-$25)
Be aware that value and cost are not the same
some standard line about non-discrimination/harassment, be professional, etc...
you WILL be revealed











Fear is temporary...Regret is forever.