Secret Santa: Tricks of the Trade

Secret Santa:  two words that offer more stress than actual excitement during the holiday season. I’m always in a gift exchange with my immediate family, which helps when there are around 35 of us. The other exchange I’m in is a random drawing with about 15 co-workers. You would think with an office of that size it wouldn’t be too difficult to learn at least a couple details about each individual; but that’s not always the case. After drawing my boss last year, it was easy enough to shop since he’s the person I know the most in the office. This year, however, was quite different when I was given my Secret Santa name. This year, I was given a co-worker that I know just about nothing about.
So, where to start?

If you’re caught in this situation, what steps do you take on in finding a completely acceptable gift for a co-worker?

Here is a list that might help with your gift selection:

1. Ask fellow co-workers, especially those who work directly with the individual, for suggestions on their interests.
2. LinkedIn. There is is a strong possibility that your co-worker is like many other professionals and currently have an account on the site. If you’re lucky they have even provided some additional information on things they like. TV shows, movies, sports teams, books, and companies (Amazon/Starbucks) all provide valuable insight into what someone might appreciate this holiday season.
3. Other social media sites might give insight into what their interests are as well. This usually would imply you’re closer with the person to be connected with them, beyond just co-workers, however some might give you more information.
4. Wine! Make sure your co-worker drinks to start, because if they don’t this is a major fail. But this is certainly a gift that is given and in some cases re-gifted shortly after.
5. If all else fails, find a nice card and some gift cards to a place you think they might enjoy. In many of these situations $20-$25 seems to be an appropriate enough amount to spend. Hopefully you don’t get them a Starbucks card if they hate coffee.

In short, Secret Santa is nothing to stress over. This is definitely one instance when the cliche, “it’s the thought that counts” is perfectly acceptable. Happy shopping!

-Scott

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