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Monday, 9 December 2019

''What Is This?'' Why Secret Santa Is A Terrible Idea Personally




By Waiching

Christmas is my favourite time of the year; besides your birthday, this is the one special occasion where you get to spend it with the people you love, as well as those you get along with - and don't get along with and talk to very much at work, getting into the holiday spirit and all that good stuff we know.

Though Christmas has its bad sides: cringing and tedious Christmas songs being blared out at work, people who chastise anyone who isn't Christian & who chooses to celebrate it in their own way.... and of course, we come to Secret Santa: by and large, perpetually one of the worst things to ever exist and is up there in the top 2, or be it number one for being the most despised Xmas thing, ever. I took part in Secret Santa last year & this year .... and after that experience, I will go on record to say that I will never undergo anything like that, ever again.

I am no scrooge and as I mentioned, I love Christmas: for all of its materialistic connotations and vibes it sends out to others, it's just nice to get into the tradition and spirit. But as a fully grown adult, I am aware of what to buy, who to buy for and that I should be entitled to purchase whatever I feel like (with some thought given into it and without going overboard with the spending) and buying it for the people I know, who I talk to and mingle with the most. & that includes work. If I want to get them a present, I'll do it myself without being forced to, and if I don't, then I won't. 

Secret Santa goes in the complete opposite direction and takes the gift-giving thing to a different level.... but in one that doesn't really and truly satisfy or benefit both parties... because you or them are literally basing your decisions on assumptions and being obligated to do so, and not purposely going out of your way to know the person fully to be able to make a good decision- as opposed to asking and finding out more about their likes, interests, hobbies and things like that.

It's... unfair, it doesn't give equal billing to both the recipient of the gift and giver of the gift, and there is a chance that one or both of them will end up with a present that will go into the bin, afterwards. & that especially is money flushed down the toilet. & a waste of time and of your resources. Even if it is to be approached in a light-hearted, jokey manner; I mean, some may see the funny side to it - it's accepting the item that they won't take too well in. 

As for the minimum price cap, this is to prevent overspending - but even this acts as a disadvantage because if you can't think of anything decent to buy for that someone in that or under that region & in working under a strict or tight budget, and you opt for any piece of tat, it says, well it makes the other person sad, upset, annoyed and yourself, probably, have regrets in doing so. Alas, nobody ends up satisfied.

If you draw out a person's name out of a hat or box and you don't know him/her particularly or that well, one might ask them what they want or what they would like... yet that defeats the purpose of Secret Santa. On the other hand, you purchase something with no inclination or thought behind it, but for perhaps it looks fancy on the outside, but its use-value is not of use to him/her. It sounds awkward and the probability and stakes of ending up with an item you never expected or you don't truly want, is high.

Secret Santa poses a number of issues: it causes division, but one other significant problem is that it forces the person to build and foster better relationships at work. We spend more time with our colleagues than we do with friends and loved ones when we are working 5 days or more a week, correct? Yes. When ultimately, in real-life, unless you are the type who does this, nobody goes to work to make friends or form informal friendships with their coworkers, other than to be civil and respectful to them, earn a living, do their work, get paid and go home. When you force work relations and the idea of work relationships through a game with a simple concept, but the execution itself lends itself to dissatisfaction and puzzled and disgruntled looks and fake smiles on people's faces, that practically sums up the main and hugely fundamental flaw with it. & that this is all done with anonymity. 

It's difficult and challenging as it is trying to buy for our loved ones, but when it's with people you just work with (and nothing more), do we need to explain how difficult it is to decide what to get that person who you rarely talk to or don't converse with often?

There are certain things you could get under a budget, which wouldn't and arguably shouldn't disappoint the other person: chocolates, biscuits, edible stuff, wine (unless they don't drink booze, like me).... or ideally, to save them the hassle, get them a gift card. Oh and gifts such as perfume, deodorant, a person of a non-Christian faith or be it no faith receiving a mug or cross pendant chain, can be seen as either too personal, offensive, passive-aggressive or mocking to the other person.


Christmas is the time of giving, more so than the receiving and whilst it is touted that it is the thought that counts, truth is, unless you have given some considerable thought and effort into your gift, this festive sentiment falls on deaf ears and is nothing but a hoax really. If Secret Santa is seen as a meaningful way to spread good cheer and happiness, then unless this whole concept is changed for the good, rarely so many people will end up feeling jolly.

When gift-giving is reciprocal, a two-way relationship thing, it becomes a complicated and enforced thing, and this is something that we don't truly want. 

And besides, I'll be sticking with gifting presents to people I know and of whom I talk to the most at work and in life, as opposed to so-called strangers and anyone I brush shoulders with and make chit-chat with for a few mins or be it very rarely.

Secret Santa is just baubles.



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