Essential Etiquette for Secret Santa at Work


Secret Santa is an essential undertaking for offices up and down the country. It takes away the awkwardness of who in the office to buy for and in the process should cut down on some of your Christmas spending. However, it’s not as easy as just going and buying a present; there are some essential pieces of secret Santa etiquette that are very important to uphold…

Set a spending limit – and don’t make it too high

Unless everyone in your office drives Bentleys, set a low spending limit so that everyone is on a level playing field and no-one feels they’re being priced out of joining in. £10 as an absolute maximum is sensible as this allows you to buy decent presents without spending a fortune. Christmas is expensive enough as it is, so don’t go spending a fortune. Websites such as Not On The High Street are great for searching for presents under a specific price and are the perfect kind of secret Santa presents.

Stick to the deadline date

Come up with a suitable date when you can all exchange your gifts, maybe the last day before everyone breaks up for Christmas (if indeed you do). More importantly, however, is that everyone sticks to that date. No excuses. It’s simply not fair if everyone gets their gift apart from one person because their secret Santa forgot to bring it in. If you’re worried you might forget, bring it into the office earlier than the set date and pop it in your draw.

Think outside the box

Getting someone a gift voucher or something equally as boring is a massive no-no. It shows absolutely no imagination whatsoever and you’ll be forever remembered as a boring old square. Instead, try and think of something a little different. Whether it’s something utterly bizarre like these sushi socks from Firebox or something more personalised like a photo mug from Zippi, something a little different will go down much better than some boring.

Be aware of office politics and rivalries

Pretty much every office has its politics and there are always the odd few people who don’t really get on too well. With that in mind, you need to try and avoid those people drawing each other in the secret Santa draw or things could get very awkward, very quickly. If this does happen, simply redraw it and don’t make a big deal out of it.

Don’t buy anything utterly ridiculous or inappropriate

Whilst it’s good to buy something a little unusual, take a moment to consider whether it’s appropriate. For example, if you’re a guy and you buy a female colleague underwear then you’re on a one-way ticket to an office tribunal. Likewise, buying alcohol for someone who’s Muslim would also be a disaster. If you think this might be a problem, websites such as Elfster allow people to make their own wishlists.


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