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Buying Christmas Gifts for Colleagues

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As Christmas gets closer, what do you do? Only buy gifts to people you like in the office? Or not bother at all?

One easy approach to solve this awkward problem is to have a workplace Secret Santa. That way you only need to buy a gift for one person and it provides a fun activity for the whole workforce.

To explain, Secret Santa is used to make Christmas shopping easier and to gift to people that you might not normally have on your Christmas list. It involves a group of people swapping names for a secret gift exchange.

So how does a Secret Santa work? Below, we provide a step by step guide of how your office can take part, as well as how to find the perfect gift for your colleague.

  • First send out an email around the office with details of what a Secret Santa is, what the budget would be, the date of when the gifts need to be exchanged and asking them if they want to participate
  • Once you have all the names of the people who want to join in, write these down on a piece of paper
  • Cut out the names, fold them so that you can’t see through the paper and then put them in a hat
  • Those involved then need to pick a name at random
  • As this is Secret Santa, the name of the person they have picked needs to stay secret

Now it’s time to shop. All gifts need to be wrapped and either left under a Christmas tree or on the desk of the recipient. If possible these gifts need to be left so that the person receiving them doesn’t know who the gift is from – adding more mystery

With Secret Santa, as you might not know the person who you’re buying a gift for very well, it can be difficult to choose something. So, if you’re not so great at buying gifts, we’ve got some tips and tricks to help you out.

Avoid alcohol – don’t just assume all people will appreciate a bottle of alcohol as much as you or someone else. This especially so if you don’t know the person that well – they may for example have recently given up drinking or don’t like the type that you’ve just bought them. If they do like alcohol, buy them something associated like a hip flask, wine charms or experience.

Keep it appropriate – unlike sending gifts to close friends who’d understand your sense of humour, joke or x-rated gifts probably aren’t best for Secret Santa. It’s advised to keep these gifts PG as not to offend the recipient.

Consider making a gift – Although this could be time consuming people will appreciate your effort rather than if you bought something off the shelf. It shows that you have thought about what they’d like and put the time and effort in creating it for them. Find out what they like, casually slip into conversation or take a look at their desk. Do they have any pets, do they like baking or perhaps reading? If you know some of these facts you could create gifts around their likes.

Buy something practical – if you’re stuck at what to buy it never harms anyone to play it safe. By buying a practical gift it’s more than likely going to be used. For example if the person you’re going to buy for is always looking for a pen, consider buying a big tub of pens for their desk.

Don’t forget when planning a Secret Santa make sure you start it at the beginning of December, so to give people enough time to think about and buy the gift.

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