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The Do’s and Don’ts of Secret-Santa Giving

4 Minute Read

Christmas parties will be in full swing soon! That means you might get invited to a Secret Santa gift-giving party or two. You might even have one at work.

So what exactly do you need to know about these parties? 

Here are the do’s and don’ts.

1. Do pay attention to the rules.

That means not showing up to the party with a $50 gift when the organizer specifically said nothing over $10. Why does it matter? Because everyone who actually followed the rules and bought the less expensive gift then feels cheap. Plus, you look like a show-off!

2. Do get creative.

Come on, you can do better than a box of store-bought cookies, can’t you? Find something useful and practical that they can use all year long. You’d be surprised at what you can find on the discount aisle or in discount stores for $10.

3. Do show up.

Every party has one. It’s the person who signs up, seems all gung ho about attending, then never shows. Don’t be that person. Because when you’re that person, somebody at the party gets shafted on a gift. Commit if you can attend and bring a gift, but don’t sign up if it’s not in the budget or you’re too busy.

Related: 4 Ways to Avoid Giving Out of Obligation This Christmas

4. Do know who you’re giving to.

You drew Joe’s name. Joe loves Stephen King novels and grilling. And you bought him a coffee-table book about lighthouses. Why not a paperback Stephen King novel or a grill spatula with his favorite football team’s logo on it?  

5. Do know exactly what you’re giving.

In the Secret Santa drawing, you drew Sally from accounting. Sally doesn’t eat red meat. You know that because she tells you every time you go to lunch. While shopping for Sally’s gift, you see an interesting cookbook titled The 50 Greatest Recipes in the History of the World. You think to yourself, Sally will love this! However, you don’t note the subtitle: All of Which Include Red Meat.

6. Don’t give anything inappropriate (unless that’s the point).

You know that thing you bought at that store for that fraternity party 20 years ago, and everybody loved it? Remember that? Yeah, don’t buy that thing for your office Secret Santa party. Unless that’s the point of the party (refer to #1).

7. Don’t be cheap.

Definitely be frugal. Definitely make the most of your money. But don’t be cheap. If you’ve committed to bringing a gift, don’t be the only one who shows up without a gift. If you’re flat broke, you can always bake cookies or give a coupon for a night of babysitting. 

8. Don’t act disappointed.

Oh no, I got the bag of cookies while Johnny over there got the iTunes gift card! We all have those moments when we find ourselves thinking like a disappointed 6-year-old. Don’t let that inner 6-year-old come out to play at the party though.

9. Don’t stress over finding the perfect gift.

Follow the rules and buy something appropriate, but make sure you have fun! Remember, this is a Christmas party! Enjoy it and have fun with it. Don’t stress so much over finding the perfect $15 gift that you forget about spending time with your friends or coworkers.

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Related: 5 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Gift

10. Don’t bring a used gift.

It’s fine to repurpose a gift if you haven’t used it, but nobody wants your scratched-up DVD of Aladdin or your coffee-table book that you actually spilled coffee on. At least make an effort!

Bottom line: Go out and have fun at your Secret Santa party! It’s a great way to get in the Christmas spirit and hang out with friends without having to spend a lot of money.

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