Don’t Be a Grinch and Ruin Your Secret Santa Exchange with These Mistakes

No one wants to be seen as the Grinch in the office who ruined Christmas, but it could be you if you don’t avoid these Secret Santa mistakes.

Participating in a Secret Santa exchange at the office can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a potential minefield for offending or disappointing people. You want to put some thought into your gift so that your Secret Santa partner is happy when they open it. Otherwise, your un-thoughtful gift will put a damper on what should be a fun holiday tradition.

Here are some of the major mistakes to avoid when participating in the office Secret Santa exchange:

Trying to Go Too Cheap

Look, I know times are tough, but if you buy your Secret Santa buddy a cheap key chain or a ballpoint pen they are going to think that you are stingier than Ebenezer Scrooge. Don’t try to get away with skimping on your Secret Santa gift as it shows that you really don’t care about your co-workers. You will also feel super guilty when the person who has drawn your name gets you something really nice.

If you are short on money you can go towards the lower end of the price range but try to find something of decent quality to give. If you can find something on sale you will be able to pay a lower price and still get a nicer item which looks like you spent more.

secret santa

Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thegreatgonzo/1434244197/

Spending Too Much

On the other end of the spectrum, spending too much on a Secret Santa gift is also a bad idea. If your gift is obviously more expensive than everyone else in the office, it will make it look like you are showing off and will make everyone else look bad. Stick within the price limit that was established at the beginning of the Secret Santa exchange and you can’t go wrong.

Giving the Obnoxious Gag Gift

A gag gift can be a lot of fun, but you have to know the person well enough to be sure that it will match their sense of humour. If you give a goofy or offensive gag gift to someone you don’t know very well they might not find it funny at all, especially if it is rude or sexual in nature. Gag gifts are best when they are given to someone who you know well and especially if they reference an inside joke that you know the person finds funny.

Referencing a Sore Spot

Don’t give Johnson in accounting a bottle of Whisky for Christmas before doing a little research first to make sure that he is not a recovering alcoholic. It’s hard to avoid potentially offensive gifts when you don’t know the person very well, so before you buy something check with one of their close friends to find out whether or not it is acceptable. You wouldn’t want to buy a Christmas ham for a Jewish co-worker, a package of cookies to someone with a gluten allergy, or scented bubble bath to someone with sensitive skin.

Giving the Boring Gift Card

A gift card can be a great option for someone who you don’t know very well, as it allows them to make their own choices and treat themselves to something nice. However, getting them a super vague gift card to a huge chain store makes them feel like you don’t know them at all. Take your time to do a little bit of research so that you can find out what they are interested in. Ask other people around the office who know them better than you to tell you about their hobbies and interests. If they love reading, they might enjoy a Barnes and Noble card or if they like fishing and camping you can get them a gift certificate for a nearby outdoor supply store.

These are some of the major faux pas which can ruin a good Secret Santa exchange, so avoid being a Grinch and making these mistakes this Christmas.

Committing these mistakes during a Secret Santa exchange can really annoy people and make you the Grinch of the office.

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