Valdosta Daily Times


December 9, 2012

Secret Santa isn’t fun . . . It’s cruel

VALDOSTA — My office is doing this really cool holiday contest. We are being asked to craft Christmas ornaments to be used on the tree in our lobby. These ornaments will be used on the tree for the next few years.

Aside from giving me an excuse to bust out Pinterest, I think it’s a really respectful way to solicit holiday participation that doesn’t require employees to bust the bank.

While I think that secret Santa is fun, it requires people to spend money during a time when many are already struggling to buy for their own family. Most work places give the option to not participate, but who wants to be the one person in the office not receiving or giving gifts. It creates an uncomfortable and difficult situation for many employees that several managers or supervisors are never aware of.

I’m not trying to be a wet blanket and sully all your office, holiday fun, but here are a few suggestions to keep the holiday spirit alive without killing your Christmas budget.

1. Santa isn’t meant to be secret, for crying out loud, he’s a saint!

I have never been a big fan of secret Santa, but still, several offices around the U.S. do it. If you must do this, be mindful of those who are trying to remain conservative with their budgets.

Set a price limit that is low such as $10. That way, the gifts stay fun and it requires everyone to be a little more thrifty and creative.

Also, don’t do a seven days of Christmas deal. It’s just cruel to require your employees to spend that much time and money on something that is supposed to be “fun.”

2. You only get what you give.

I love that offices do a big Christmas lunch. It’s a great way to get everyone together at one time and show appreciation for all their hard work.

However, what I don’t like is when offices ask for cash to help with the lunch.

If the company or business owner can’t front the cash, then do a pot luck.

My office does this and it always turns out great. We have the freedom to spend however much we want to make whatever we want.

Also, with so much variety, there is at least one thing that everyone likes to eat.

However, make sure you read my budget diary on why you shouldn’t use your co-workers as guinea pigs for new recipes. It’s a time to celebrate, not to experiment.

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