The holidays are supposed to be a time of festive celebration. Well, how festive is it when Uncle Bob imbibes one too many hot toddies and begins to tell lewd stories from his a army days at an office holiday party. What about the sticker shock caused by the electric bill issued for the first month of running your Christmas light display? The holidays present a smorgasbord of stressful events, but perhaps no other event causes more consternation than secret Santa gift exchanges. From inappropriate gifts to gifts that make you look like a penny pincher, secret Santa gift exchanges can go awry faster than Frosty the Snowman melting under the Miami sun. However, you can control your office secret Santa gift exchange by learning about different ways to hold the gift exchanges.
Win the Secret Santa Lottery
The Secret Santa lottery takes much of the stress out of office gift exchanges. Instead of ruminating over what to get one of your co-workers, you buy a gift that goes in the middle of the room for a Secret Santa lottery. The holiday version of the NFL draft includes randomly selected draft order numbers from a hat. Your co-workers select gifts, without knowing who gave the gift, which considerably reduces the stress caused by trying to find the perfect gift. Secret Santa gift exchange lotteries provide an excellent platform for giving tasteful gag gifts. This secret Santa gift exchange also goes by the name of Yankee Swap.
The Conventional Secret Santa Gift Exchange
Many offices run traditional secret Santa gift exchanges. Instead of pulling a draft number out of a hat, you pull the name of one of your co-workers. The conventional method for running secret Santa gift exchanges does not mean you exchange gifts with another person. It means you give a gift to one co-worker and receive a gift from a different co-worker. This way to hold a secret Santa gift exchange requires co-workers to remain anonymous, even after the gift exchanges. Anonymity adds an element of intrigue, since you try to guess which co-worker gifted you.
End the Suspense…and the Aggravation
Conventional secret Santa gift exchanges can cause several problems, from the disparity in gift values to inappropriate gifts that offend co-workers. A growing number of offices have implemented secret Santa holiday gift exchanges that eliminate the “secret” element of the gift giving equation. A manager pairs up workers based on compatibility and then the paired co-workers discuss what they want for secret Santa gifts. This secret Santa method works only if the secret Santa organizer places a minimum and maximum amount on gift value.
The White Elephant in the Room
An interesting twist of the Yankee Swap allows co-workers to “steal” gifts. The term white elephant defines something of limited value to the owner. In this case, the white elephant is the gift selected by a co-worker, because the next person selecting a gift via the lottery system has the option to choose the gift chosen by the person who selected immediately before him or her. If co-worker number one loses a gift to the co-worker who selects second, then co-worker number one must select another gift from the nameless wrapped gifts remaining in the gift collection.