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Secret Santa Etiquette


At workplaces all over Australia – nay, the world – there will be Secret Santas or Kris Kringels in the coming two weeks; two names for the same quaint workplace ritual. It's where one secretly pick a co-worker's names out of a hat and buy that person a gift - up to a certain agreed upon value. The point is to be creative and buy within the price limit and to not admit it was you who bought the gift for the giftee.

At Media Dell’Arte this year our price limit was doubled from five to ten dollars. Last week we had the Secret Santa exchange at our annual Christmas lunch. In years past, there have been controversial presents that led to recriminations (sometimes lasting a whole twelve months). If the gift is a little vague or inappropriate then that can lead to all kinds of speculation as to the actual meaning of the gift and the identity of the giver. Frankly, I believe this harms workplace relations and cuts into valuable drinking and merriment time.

However, if you really want to dent workplace relations, do what I did.

However for dramatic purposes, I must flashback before we continue. This year I’m a little strapped for cash, so I have to make cuts. For example, recently I was found a great Secret Santa gift and strongly considered buying it for myself, but instead bought it for my intended giftee.

I was seized by a “pay-it-forward” mood. Deny myself this gift, I thought, and give it to one who might enjoy it more than I would. I found myself to be very noble for having these sentiments. And I was saving money. My co-worker Big Red will confirm all of this, if asked.

So flash forward to the Secret Santa lunch. My noble gift had been given and it went over okay. And I had received my gift – goggle eyeglasses – you know, the glasses frames with the eyes hanging out on springs.

After the drinking had gone on for about two hours, one of my co-workers took a liking to these, so I suggested that she could have them as a gift from me.

Yes, some of you are way ahead of me at this point. I was all glistening and Yuletide-y with my Pay It Forward 'tude and my Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All.

But I didn't think about the person who had bought this particular gift, I was actually re-gifting it right under her very nose. Pretty recklessly gutsy, eh? That’s the kind of guy I am.

And I know it was a she who bought the gift, because she ‘fessed up immediately after my generous act and let me know that she had actually spent more than the Secret Santa price limit. She took it quite well, I must say. Better than me, anyway. Hence this confessional blog.

Later that evening I received a mysterious MMS. It was my Secret Santa re-gift, lying there on a pub table. It was all a little sinister.

Mind how ye go in the next two weeks Kris Kringellers – and learn from my tale.

Elevate the Insignificant,

Mr Trivia


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