Five rules for Secret Santa awesomeness

It’s that time of year again.


Sometimes you’ll be given a name from a hat, sometimes you’ll just be told ‘bring a gift for Secret Santa’. Sometimes you’ll be told “there’s going to be a fun game as part of the Secret Santa”- to which my reaction is usually

Secret Santa comes upon us often unexpectedly, rather like this:

I have a particularly fraught history with Secret Santa. There was the year I gave a nice Lush gift box for the knitting group Secret Santa and got…a button. The year I carefully made a gift for someone only to be given a random assortment of flotsam from a charity shop. I’ve had things I actually wanted stolen off me, and been stuck with thoughtless gifts. I think we all have. And yet I persevere. I’m stubborn that way.

But, for the sake of any others out there under a Secret Santa curse, I would like to present you with five rules for your Secret Santa gifting that will, hopefully, make your experience and that of your recipient more festive than f***ed off.

1: Stick to the budget.

You’re not going to get any special prizes for going over-budget, so resist the temptation to buy something that costs more than the price limit you’ve been given. And don’t go way under, either. That’s just mean.

2: No ‘funny’ gifts.

You wouldn’t want to be stuck with one. Don’t stick someone else with one.

3: If you’re allowed to state preferences, be reasonable

Give people some leeway to work with, but remember rule number 1 about the budget. And don’t provide a long list.

4: If someone else has stated preferences, pay attention to them

If they haven’t asked for reasonable things, then see if you can interpret what they’ve asked for into some idea of their tastes. If they have expensive tastes then a small amount of something fancy is probably better than lots of something cheap (so for example a mini bottle of the posh fizzy wine instead of a big bottle of Lindauer- or just get them some strawberries to accompany their posh fizz instead).

5: Don’t make the gift.

Unless it’s an exchange of handmade gifts. Save your crafting time for yourself, or people who you *know for sure* will appreciate the effort.

And remember, keep smiling no matter what you’re given.

After all, if it’s the work Secret Santa, you can always “accidentally” leave that “hilarious” gift on the bus.

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