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To refuse to participate in Secret Santa this year...

(221 Posts)
helen3000 Sat 25-Nov-17 09:42:22

This is trivial - first world problems and so on.

So in my workplace (22 people,) we had a secret Santa last year. (First time we have done it.) We all work different shifts, (as the place is open 12 hours a day,) and some people work different days to others. We decided to pick names (out of a box!) and buy for whoever we picked. You probably all know how it works, you all pick a name, and whichever name you get, you buy for. (And the person you pick is unlikely to have got your name.)

So I picked someone - I will call her Alison - and set out to buy her a gift, which I did. I wrapped it, and left it in the 'Secret Santa cupboard' where we were all due to pick up our gifts on the Friday (the 23rd) which was our last day. People were picking them up at different times because of the varying shifts.

So, everyone went excitedly to the 'cupboard' for their gifts at varying times of the day (on the 23rd,) for their Secret Santa gift. I was one of the last on that day (1pm til 6.30pm shift,) and I went for my gift. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. sad

Long story short, I had no gift. I asked the manager where it was, and she said she has no idea, and didn't even know who was meant to be buying me, When I asked a few others, no-one else seemed to know either. confused

Suffice to say, I was the only one without a gift. The only one out of 22 people. sad

I did contemplate picking a name (this year,) and just not buying a gift (like someone did to me last year,) but that would probably make someone feel as shit as I did, and it is very unlikely I will pick the person who didn't get a gift for me last year.

It's trivial I know, but I was really hurt.

So AIBU to refuse to participate this year?

chanie44 Sat 25-Nov-17 09:54:35

It's fair enough if you don't want to participate. If you tell the organiser in advance, they can take your name out and not give you anyone to buy for either and that way, no one looses out.

Personally, I can't be bothered with secret Santa as everyone in my office just buys crap that will end up in landfill. One year, I picked up my gift and I thought 'please don't be one of head massagers' and when I opened it, it was.

Glumglowworm Sat 25-Nov-17 09:57:22

YANBU that's horrible that you were left out! I bet it's just a lazy/greedy dick that was supposed to buy for you and couldn't be arsed/thought they'd rather get something for nothing, rather than anything personal

at my office it's names out of a hat but there's an organiser who knows who was supposed to buy for who, and presents are due in several days before they're given out, so there's time to chase up anyone who's forgotten. I think because people know there's accountability they're less likely to take the piss.

But to set that up at your workplace you'd need to be the organiser which is I totally get you don't want to and is a thankless task in every workplace.

keeponworking Sat 25-Nov-17 10:02:09

I hate it on a whole variety of levels. Bah humbug.

The most fundamental reason I hate this (along with the constant pressure to respond to 'team xmas lunch' invites and the like - I work for three teams, am I supposed to pay to go out three separate times?) is that it assumes that those involved are able to fund these activities.

If you say no (probably more so if you're in a place where you all work the same hours in the same office) you look like a miserable antisocial git, when in fact it might be the case that you simply can't afford it and have budgeted every single penny you have to try and get through Xmas, without these added costs.

I think it's wrong to do it because of that because it places pressure on people who can barely afford it, and I don't think that's right.

"Oh, surely everyone can afford a £5 secret santa?", well, no, they can't actually. I find once the wheels start turning on SS there's NEVER an option to not join in - I've never once been asked do you want to do it or advised sometimes only some of us do it as lots of people don't like the concept. Never.

When every penny counts and you have no savings, I personally can do without it.

On top of this, the utterly ungrateful responses is a whole other reason why I don't do it. I wouldn't spend money buying presents for ungrateful members of my family, so I'm not sure why I'd do it for people I work with!!

GinDoll Sat 25-Nov-17 10:11:49

I don't do it. The one year I did I put time and effort into choosing a gift and I got my gift; a month late and it was clearly regifted Christmas presents which the "secret santa" ( she told me she was my secret santa!) knew would be unsuitable but didn't want herself. I was also quite hurt. More so because I had considered us friends 😃 oh yeah and the other time I did it my secret santa was with me when I got the present for the person I was gifting to and just bought the same thing 😆

helen3000 Sat 25-Nov-17 10:15:54

The budget is £10 too! Which is a lot (for some) to spend on someone they may not like, and then to get nothing back?! Well that was just hurtful and upsetting. I mean, if half a dozen people hadn't got anything, it may have softened the blow, but you are right @glumglowworm that it was horrible.

If I had been the manager, I would have checked the gifts, and if one person had been left out, I would have got a gift for them out of petty cash or something. It made me feel so left out. sad I am a bit insecure anyway, and struggle to make friends, and never fit into any cliques etc, so this just made me feel like shit. sad

DJBaggySmalls Sat 25-Nov-17 10:19:51

Yanbu, £10 is too much, and the organisers should have kept track of who is supposed to be buying for who. No one should be left out, its the point of it.

cheeseslovesme Sat 25-Nov-17 10:22:06

I wouldn't participate if I was you, that sounds really shit if someone did that. I would make it known to all why as well. I don't do secret Santa as I can't really afford to, and a colleague ended up with a used shower/bath set complete with hairs (boak) so she's not doing it either.

AdalindSchade Sat 25-Nov-17 10:22:47

Just say no - say last year you didn't get a gift and it put you off the whole idea.

gingerclementine Sat 25-Nov-17 10:23:28

Yes, just don't do it.

Ifailed Sat 25-Nov-17 10:26:11

get a load of these in.

TheNoseyProject Sat 25-Nov-17 10:26:40

So if all 22 others got something then someone merrily took their present KNOWING they hadn’t got you one! Or someone took yours as well as their own (less likely). That’s total crap!

I asked my team if they wanted SS this year. Most said no. I think it’s been a relief! I always ask my team. No assumptions here.

Don’t take part and if people ask why tell the truth. ‘I took part last year but didn’t receive anything when everyone else did so I’m opting out this year.’

TheNoseyProject Sat 25-Nov-17 10:27:54

The manager should have had a couple of spare generic presents. See why I offer my team a choice? It’s a nightmare to oversee too!

helen3000 Sat 25-Nov-17 10:36:06


a colleague ended up with a used shower/bath set complete with hairs (boak)

Urgh that's grim! 😂😂😂


The manager should have had a couple of spare generic presents.

Yeah I thought this too. Like I have always had a few at home (wrapped up!) so if someone suddenly gave me one who I was not expecting one from, I would have one for them IYSWIM.

MaybeDoctor Sat 25-Nov-17 10:39:32

The only thing I can think of is that they used the same wrap as someone else, then another recipient picked it up thinking it was a two-part present.

Not great though.

I am all for making Christmas simpler these days, focusing on my core family rather than a whirlwind of trying to meet everyone's expectations.

StealingYourWiFi Sat 25-Nov-17 10:43:40

I refused this time for the first time. Mainly because I’m sick of bloody Baylis and Harding bath sets. Does anyone actually LIKE getting bath sets?!

LanaDReye Sat 25-Nov-17 10:43:53

I would keep it simple "no I won't contribute as it was mean that my secret Santa didn't bother last year".

ToothTrauma Sat 25-Nov-17 10:48:32

This happened to me last year. The company boss found out who my santa was and basically stood over them until they sorted it. Worked out great for me - I got a tenner grin

megletthesecond Sat 25-Nov-17 10:54:49

Yanbu. I've refused to do it the last few years. We're all employed, housed and clothed adults who don't need random tat in our lives.

I did suggest we had a £5 budget for charity shop gifts but that was ignored.

MyrandaRoyce Sat 25-Nov-17 10:55:36

I’m not a fan of Secret Santa either. My husband’s extended family does it & has added in-laws as we’ve joined the family. Every year I either get a generic bath set in fragrances that I can’t stand, something that I’m allergic to or like last year, some half-used stationery hmm
On one hand, I appreciate the thought of being asked to participate in a family event but on the other hand, nothing makes you feel more like an outsider than receiving gifts that blatantly say “I don’t know you, can’t be arsed to think of anything you might like and have bought something you’ve said you’re allergic to”.

YellowMakesMeSmile Sat 25-Nov-17 10:56:07

Yes I'd opt out too after no gift.

SS can be great fun but sadly there are those that just take and don't give i.e. No present or quite clearly not to the value it's meant to be.

helen3000 Sat 25-Nov-17 10:56:57

Thanks folks. I think I will refuse and say it was because I never got anything last year. And although it sounds petty, I think I am entitled to refuse.

AntiGrinch Sat 25-Nov-17 11:01:36

""Oh, surely everyone can afford a £5 secret santa?", well, no, they can't actually. "

Yes. In my office they say "oh it's not expensive, up to £10". I'm really sorry but I will be buying my niece and nephew presents worth little more than that this year, and I feel mean as I have been more generous with them in the past and would love to be - but I just can't.

I don't have the guts to opt out though although I really resent it. There are single childless people on huge salaries at my work who can have no idea that I literally cut the food budget to buy my children Father Christmas slots at their school fair. So a couple of weeks ago when I was in a really good Oxfam second hand book shop, I bought a really mad quirky book for £1 and I don't care who I get, they're getting that. they won't necessarily like it, but if I had spent a tenner they wouldn't have liked it anyway. they can just show it around and everyone can laugh and it can just get donated back to Oxfam and honour is satisfied.

(Even that quid could have been spent on something for my kids' stockings though)

popcornpaws Sat 25-Nov-17 11:04:50

I done it the first three year I worked for my current employer, I spent time and effort choosing a gift I thought the recipient would like.
Each year I recieved what can only be described as a load of shite.

I know it sounds ungrateful and not in the spirit etc but I could think of lots of "decent" things to buy for a tenner but it seems some people think passing on unwanted crap (old jewellery in a battered box) cheap candles that no way cost a tenner etc is okay.

For the last two year I haven't done it, and it feels great!

trainedopossum Sat 25-Nov-17 11:06:17

I feel hurt on your behalf. And I don't understand why your boss kind of shrugged her shoulders when it could have been sorted so easily. A Secret Santa gift might be trivial but the hurt feelings of being the only person left out (and then being left to twist in the wind) are not.

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