As we hurtle towards the big day, offices around London and the UK have two major things to worry about. The office Christmas party, and the organisation of office Secret Santa. Businesses large and small can feel a bit reluctant in embarking on this tradition. So here at HL, we want to sprinkle a bit of joy and inspiration over your office Secret Santa! Hopefully, your office environment will be that much more festive and a heap less stressful.
Set a budget and make it small. An office Secret Santa is supposed to be fun and a bit silly – it’s not about lavishing extravagant gifts on Jenny from accounts. £5 to £10 is perfectly sufficient.
Christmas is a time for inclusion, so try to make sure that no one’s left out. That means part-time workers and contractors too. At the same time, appreciate that some people hate this kind of thing with every essence of their being. So don’t force them to join in! For larger corporate offices, it may work better to focus your Secret Santa schemes within departments to make it a little more manageable.
Make it a bit easier for everyone involved and choose a theme. Perhaps the gift has to begin with the same letter as your recipient’s name. Maybe direct your participants to choose office stationery? Or everything has to be a certain colour. How about limiting gifts to food and drink? Your colleagues will probably thank you for relieving some of the demands of effort!
If a theme is not for you, it can be worth collating wish lists. Or at the very least a guide to interests and things to avoid! It’s incredibly helpful to be clear in this way when your business involves lots of remote working. This approach can be very admin-heavy, though, and really works best for those corporations that have set a larger budget.
Depending on your office social vibe, there may be some gifts that can make your colleagues feel… um… awkward! So it’s worth laying some ground rules and listing any banned items! Perhaps a good principle to follow is to stick to items that you would be happy to display on your office desk!
Maybe your office is utterly hectic at the moment and no one has two minutes spare to shop around. Or perhaps it’s just that no one is up for taking on the managerial role of an office Secret Santa. A lucky dip event is just as fun and minimises the workload. Everyone contributes a generic gift and they’re distributed at random. You could even add a bit of blindfold action to make the present giving a bit more sparky!
Maybe your business has ecological principles or sustainable ethics. Perhaps you can see a chance to extend your corporate charitable responsibilities. So set a rule for participants to purchase items from a local charity shop. In this way, the gifts must be chosen with more consideration and you will minimise waste. You’ll be surprised at the level of creativity that can be displayed, and you’ll be supporting a good cause at the same time!
Fitting it in
The present giving is an event that can actually bring stress into the office. Colleagues are busy; trying to tie up loose ends before the Christmas break. It can be hard to enthuse everyone involved to take some downtime (at the same time!) and gather in a meeting room or reception area to exchange gifts. Make sure phones are diverted or covered so your hard working reception colleagues aren’t left out. Put the word out that there will be mulled wine and mince pies aplenty – this will encourage most people! Basically keep it short, sweet and fun!