Forget Secret Santa and stop Recyclers in their tracks

by Elyse on October 8, 2008

With Christmas just around the corner, I am sure someone in your office has started to try round-up people for the Secret Santa. The poster gets put on the noticeboard with the only response being a groan from the employees; not everyone in the office is keen to be involved because of some bad experiences they have had in the past.

There are some people that stick to the rules, spend their 5 bucks and buy their colleague something meaningful and useful. Then there are those that go above and beyond and spend double or triple the set amount because they are generous and want to give something the person will actually like. And finally…there are the Recyclers.

Recyclers are those people who join the Secret Santa just so the boss doesn’t think they are not a team player for not getting involved; then they dig up an old Secret Santa present their partner was given last year and try to recycle it for their own Secret Santa. Imagine the joy on the receiver’s face when they open the gift to find some mouldy bath bombs. The 30 bucks that person spent on a coffee plunger for Bob from Sales is at least being well received. Tracy from Accounts doesn’t look too impressed with the eatable underwear she was given. Funny…Ray from I.T. thought she would think it a good joke. This is exactly the problem, not everyone shares the same humour and likes as you.

My recommendation…forget Secret Santa and invest your money in something everyone will actually appreciate. Why not get everyone to give $5 each and buy new coffee mugs with personalised names, filled with lollies. The great thing about having your own name on your mug is that it can’t be stolen…unless the thief has the same name as you! Using an idea like this means that way everyone gets the same gift and no-one gets upset at not getting as nice a present as someone else; everyone spends the same amount of money and gets something they will actually use.

Some other ideas could be stubby holders, travel mugs for those long train rides to work or photo frames so they can put photos of loved ones on their desk.To make things a bit more special HR could pick the present, arrange to have the presents gift-wrapped and use the staff social funds to have a BBQ where everyone can open their gifts.

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