How to put the razzle dazzle into your work Secret Santa

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. The lights on the office Christmas tree keep winking at you, tinsel-clad staff all but jingle when they walk past, and Michael Bublé is hitting all the right notes to get you in The Zone. By way of a final push to get you over the festive starting line, here are some tips for making this year’s office Secret Santa a big hit.


  1. Offer employees an opt-in

To avoid adding stress and dud gifts to your Secret Santa initiative, don’t make it compulsory. If everyone taking part has chosen to do so, more thought will go into each gift and the goodwill created will rocket.


  1. Set a budget and communicate the rules of play clearly

To keep things fun, set the budget low and communicate it clearly. No exceptions allowed! The office elves will be grateful for the steer and delight in the challenge. The most common cap is £10 but £20 is reasonable too. In addition, be clear about the rules of play. Some of your newest recruits may never have participated in a Secret Santa before and remote working gives our jolly friend a whole new digital set of clothes to be considered. Allow for virtual draws (for random recipient allocation) plus time and budget for postage.


  1. Consider a wish list or questionnaire

Part of the magic of Secret Santa is the research aspect. Investigating the interests and hobbies of a colleague you don’t know is not only fun, but also a great opportunity to get acquainted. However, if last year’s Secret Santa was met with anything short of overwhelming enthusiasm, consider offering participants the option of sharing their present wish list, or a short questionnaire about their hobbies and tastes, with their mystery present buyer.


  1. Don’t leave it to the last minute

Between all the Christmas parties, festive preparations and end-of-year reporting, December is one of the busiest months of the year. Well done if you have already sent out the initial invite for your Secret Santa. For those of us who haven’t, Christmas will work its magic in any case. Just be sure to send out your notification and repeated reminders soon to make sure no one is left out on the Big Day.


  1. It probably goes without saying but…

It probably goes without saying but… is always followed by something that doesn’t go without saying! Secret Santa is a time for fun and humour, but some employees might let that eclipse their otherwise well-developed compass of what’s appropriate in the workplace and what’s not. So don’t hold back from stating the obvious. Remind participants that gifts will be opened publicly and no, the new recruit in Accounts would most certainly not like some new red underwear…


Now all that remains to be done is to choose your gift. Happily, GQ Magazine has published a fantastic guide brimming with ideas for this year’s Secret Santa. And on that festive note, dear reader, we will leave you. It’s time to dash to the shops…


Whether you’re participating in a Secret Santa initiative this year or not, the team at ABL Recruitment hopes that Santa is good to you at work, at home and wherever the holiday season takes you! Enjoy the festivities and Happy New Year!