Author Topic: Cheap Secret Santa  (Read 11883 times)

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blarg314

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #75 on: December 24, 2012, 01:17:26 AM »

If you can have a situation where somebody is spending money they can't afford, to buy a gift for someone they don't particularly like and who probably won't enjoy the gift, for a religious holiday they don't celebrate, but feels they can't say no because it could harm their ability to earn a living and/or subject them to social ostracism, then something has gone seriously wrong with the whole gift giving concept.

Even for voluntary SS gift exchanges and the like, I think it's inappropriate to overspend by more than about a dollar. That is just setting it up for competition - you spend the required $10, but get a gift for $25, and it looks bad. So the next year, you spend $25 so you don't look cheap, and so on.


25wishes

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #76 on: December 24, 2012, 09:02:40 AM »

If you can have a situation where somebody is spending money they can't afford, to buy a gift for someone they don't particularly like and who probably won't enjoy the gift, for a religious holiday they don't celebrate, but feels they can't say no because it could harm their ability to earn a living and/or subject them to social ostracism, then something has gone seriously wrong with the whole gift giving concept.



POD.

miranova

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #77 on: December 24, 2012, 10:53:37 AM »
Some of the gifts listed here as "tacky" or "cheap" are perfectly normal gifts to someone.  Not saying that they are to my taste at all, but that doesn't mean they were deliberately cheap and/or tacky gifts.  Everyone has different tastes.  There are people out there who actually enjoy those things, otherwise they wouldn't be made and sold.  I think it's silly to get disppointed about getting a tacky gift or one not to your taste at an office exchange from someone you are not personally friends with.  Why would you be expecting something exactly to your tastes in that situation anyway?  These aren't your friends or family members.  It's a work obligation.  Believe it or not someone might have actually bought the candle holder or pen holder thinking you would like it because THEY like it themselves. 

I learned this lesson years ago when one of my bosses bought a food item that I thought was absolutely disgusting to the gift exchange and I ended up with it.  I almost thought it was a joke but then found out it was something he genuinely enjoyed and thought was a great gift!  Luckily I pulled off a genuine thank you instead of acting like he was joking or letting on that I thought it was a terrible gift.  I threw it away later.  I gurantee you that he did spend the expected amount on it and thought it was a great gift.  He is just out of touch with what people might want.  Picking out "tacky" and/or bad gifts is not really the same thing as cheaping out.  Maybe they are just bad at picking things out.  Unless there was a price tag on it, you don't really know that they only spent a few bucks on it.  I've seen some pretty horrible stuff with high price tags on it in my days!

Shalamar

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #78 on: December 24, 2012, 12:08:49 PM »
Now I'm curious.  What was the food item?

siamesecat2965

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #79 on: December 24, 2012, 03:05:24 PM »
Now I'm curious.  What was the food item?

Fruitcake? I can see that, since many people, including myself, don't care for it.

miranova

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #80 on: December 24, 2012, 03:34:10 PM »
Now I'm curious.  What was the food item?

I don't want to offend anyone and in a forum this large there will be someone who loves the item and I just got done calling it disgusting so to avoid hurting any feelings I'll just say that it was gross to me but he wasn't joking.

GrammarNerd

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #81 on: December 24, 2012, 11:53:56 PM »
My (part time) workplace does a secret santa and it's specified up-front that it's very optional.  Not everyone does it.  And they have a potluck that coincides with the final 'big' gift exchange/reveal, and it's clearly stated that people are welcome at the potluck even if they're not doing the secret santa.  So the secret santa is still fun, but it's downplayed a bit.  And it's a $10 limit, so it's pretty easy to participate.   

The 'coordinator' sends out a questionnaire at the beginning with a bunch of questions: favorite store, favorite cookie, favorite candy bar, what you like collect, etc.  Then that info gets passed on to whoever you get.  It's specified that you're supposed to get a small present each week (which is really two weeks) and then the 'big' $10 present at the end.  I've been doing it for 5 years and it's low-key and fun.  Even people not in the SS exchange do the potluck, and last week, there was a bunch of raving about what each person brought for the potluck (people really liked my contribution!!  yea!).  So it's all fun.

I think the key is to put forth some guidelines and to keep it relatively low-key (and low-budget).  It seems as though there's a lot of room for disappointment when there's a lot of expectations (or it's a higher monetary requirement).

LibraryLady

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #82 on: December 26, 2012, 05:46:37 PM »
I know Christmas is past, but in our small library, instead of exchange names for SS, for the past couple of years, we just contribute
what we would have spent to the locale organizations that sends care packages to local soldiers who are stationed overseas. It is
usually enough to send 1 or 2 packages/

Lynn2000

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #83 on: December 28, 2012, 10:27:16 PM »
This has been an interesting thread. I've never been somewhere that did a Secret Santa before. I'm trying to picture it being done in my office and it just wouldn't fly. I mean, people just wouldn't be interested, and you would need someone who was really into it, and really organized, to make sure it all went smoothly. Which obviously happens in some places and leads to fun experiences.

I spend about $10 each Christmas on a gift for the one co-worker I feel closest to, and even then I sometimes struggle with what to get him or if I even want to get anything for him this year and if I do should I include something for his wife, etc.. So I wouldn't think it much fun to be assigned to give a gift to someone else, whom I didn't know as well, possibly with a higher monetary limit/expectation. Would that mean I shouldn't give a gift to that one person I feel closest to? But it's nice to hear that it does work in some places.

I would think a group charity donation would run into some of the same obstacles, though. Can people really opt-out without looking like an uncharitable person? What if someone has a philosophical disagreement with the charity chosen? I mean, I think it's great to donate to charity, but personally I feel uncomfortable doing so publicly and I already have charities I donate to, so I might opt-out of a work scheme for those sort of reasons. But obviously if everyone in the group is simpatico on the idea, there's no problem.
~Lynn2000

loopyluna

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #84 on: December 29, 2012, 11:30:15 AM »
Every Secret Santa I've been involved with for the last several years has left someone with hurt feelings or resentment. All were pitched as "optional," but all had unpleasant consequences if you tried to opt out. One group would assign you a name anyway, then publicly shame you if you didn't play along.

This year, someone at work suggested doing a Secret Santa across our level of management. You could hear the crickets in the background. The only common ground we have is that we are over-worked and under-paid, and generally speaking we don't like each other. The social chair of our professional organization was the one who suggested it, and she has a history of micromanaging social events. No one had the time, energy, or money to participate. All of the red flags were there. Fortunately, no one ever mentioned it again after that day.

otterwoman

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #85 on: December 29, 2012, 01:08:03 PM »
Back when I was living in my college dorm, the dorm floor had a Secret Santa. It was optional. I choose not to participate, but rather than being scorned, I ended up being everyone else's co-conspirator! I was the only non-player, but by the end of the week I knew who everyone had. I helped hide gifts, snoop out ideas and distract people. I had a great time!

Bijou

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Re: Cheap Secret Santa
« Reply #86 on: December 29, 2012, 01:46:59 PM »
At my work there was someone who wanted to participate every year and every year failed to bring a gift for the person he drew in the exchange.  No apologies or anything.  I don't think he ever made it up, either.  I remember the year he drew one of the clerical staff and they sat by while he opened his gift.  (grrrrr) And he was in the higher paid bracket with no family at home.  He caused hurt feelings year after year.  I think they finally stopped him from participating.  I didn't get a gift one year but at least the person gave me a card explaining that my gift was on the way (I did get it later). 
I've never knitted anything I could recognize when it was finished.  Actually, I've never finished anything, much to my family's relief.