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How to be the best secret Santa

As we approach Christmas, many offices will have kicked off their annual ‘secret Santa’ gift exchange.

What's better than shopping for a mystery present and then getting one in return? Of course, there is potential for things to go downhill quickly: You may get paired with someone you don’t know, you may receive a strange gift, or your gifting partner could forget the gift entirely!

We have put together valuable Dos and Don’ts after hearing various horror stories to prevent any secret Santa nightmares this holiday season – use them wisely.

1. Do: read the person’s name you have chosen correctly

You may think this is a no-brainer, but make sure you properly read the name of the person you will be gifting to. It’s not ideal to receive ladies bath salts and bubble baths to realise your gifter thought she had chosen ‘Jane’ not ‘James’. The gift was probably enjoyed nonetheless, but always double check!

2. Do: remember less can be more

While a gift from Tiffany's is definitely on many wish lists, an office secret Santa with a limit of £10 is certainly not the time or place for such a gift. It is not only a blow to everyone who stuck within the budget, but it also makes the gifter look over-the-top.

3. Don’t: gift anything inappropriate

You may think you are being funny but gifting a new member of staff a bottle of champagne and fluffy handcuffs is an HR disaster waiting to happen. If you want to make sure fun is had by all, avoid putting people in an uncomfortable position!

4. Do: find something unique

No matter the budget, we promise it is possible to find something unique and interesting under the designated amount. Make an effort, you don’t want to be the person who gifts a box of expired chocolate.

5. Don’t: trust all the insight you receive

Be wary of pranksters. Not all information from ‘trusted’ sources can be actually trusted. If you don’t know your recipient well, stick to a thoughtful but safe gift. You don’t want to end up as the person who bought an Arsenal fan a Chelsea themed gift. 

6. Do: just do it

Maybe you get paired with your best office friend, someone who annoys you or someone you barely know. Don’t lose the holiday cheer and let this get you down. Pick something interesting. Need some ideas? Try these tried and tested picks.

Written by Suzanne Haysler, account director at PR agency The PHA Group

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