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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Froogalista on November 13, 2018, 09:03:25 AM

Title: Workplace Secret Santa
Post by: Froogalista on November 13, 2018, 09:03:25 AM
I started a new job half a year ago. Today I just got an e-mail announcing the workplace secret santa. Of course, the e-mail says you can notify the secretary if you do not wish to participate. However, given that I'm in a contract position and in my last review I was told I need to "integrate more" I don't really have a choice. The suggested spend for $25. It just makes me so mad that I have to spend that when my contract was only renewed by a few months, I don't get any benefits, I have students loans that are only 50% paid off although I graduated in 2011. I don't want to spend 25$ when I am making all this effort to pinch pennies; haven't purchased a coffee or clothing since April, spent a bunch of time renegotiating cellphone and internet, taking time to walk further to the cheaper grocery store, buying quick sale items etc.  Does anyone have any suggestion on cost effective gift ideas?
Title: Re: Workplace Secret Santa
Post by: ketchup on November 13, 2018, 09:22:09 AM
I'd opt out.  You can "integrate more" by goofing around with colleagues on the clock, like the deity of your choice intended.
Title: Re: Workplace Secret Santa
Post by: I'm a red panda on November 13, 2018, 09:24:35 AM
Don't participate.

Eat lunch in the breakroom more. Say hi to coworkers when you pass them in the hall. Make small talk when you go refill your cup of water.  There are other ways to integrate.
Title: Re: Workplace Secret Santa
Post by: frugaliknowit on November 13, 2018, 09:25:50 AM
I'd opt out.  You can "integrate more" by goofing around with colleagues on the clock, like the deity of your choice intended.

+1
Title: Re: Workplace Secret Santa
Post by: 4alpacas on November 13, 2018, 10:07:52 AM
I'm going to break the trend and recommend you participate.  You can bake cookies or homemade granola (check out Budget Bytes (https://www.budgetbytes.com/category/recipes/dessert/page/2/)). You could pot a succulent in a mug for a desk plant.  Put some thought into the gift and don't get caught up on spending $25.  Pretty packaging can really dress up a gift, so think about what you can reuse when you're opening stuff.
Title: Re: Workplace Secret Santa
Post by: catccc on November 13, 2018, 10:18:49 AM
I'd opt out, too.  We have had exchanges at work, but I'm over it and haven't participated in years.  I hate compulsory spending.  Unless you are handing out a coupon for a guided hike or something...
Title: Re: Workplace Secret Santa
Post by: I'm a red panda on November 13, 2018, 10:25:59 AM
I'm going to break the trend and recommend you participate.  You can bake cookies or homemade granola (check out Budget Bytes (https://www.budgetbytes.com/category/recipes/dessert/page/2/)). You could pot a succulent in a mug for a desk plant.  Put some thought into the gift and don't get caught up on spending $25.  Pretty packaging can really dress up a gift, so think about what you can reuse when you're opening stuff.

If I was part of a secret santa with a recommended spend of $25, I'd be pissed to get homemade cookies or granola. That's not $25.
Title: Re: Workplace Secret Santa
Post by: SKL-HOU on November 13, 2018, 10:30:26 AM
There are other ways to integrate. You won't be seen as "integrating" just by participating in SS but not doing anything else anyway.
Title: Re: Workplace Secret Santa
Post by: AMandM on November 13, 2018, 11:04:02 AM
Check out what you get for $25 when you buy a gift basket, e.g.:
https://www.target.com/p/alder-creek-gifts-ghirardelli-mug-christmas-gift-basket-2lb/-/A-54164746
https://www.target.com/p/dylan-s-candy-bar-holiday-giant-tackle-box-36-13oz/-/A-53681036
https://www.target.com/p/christmas-etched-wood-whitewash-gift-basket-26-39oz/-/A-53695965

You can recreate the same thing cheaper DIY. Thrift store containers, tissue paper, ribbon. Dress it up.
Title: Re: Workplace Secret Santa
Post by: Spiffy on November 13, 2018, 11:57:35 AM
I think it is fine to say that you don't want to join in on the gift exchange. When I decline, I always joke that I come to work to make money, not to spend it!  After last year's white elephant game, everyone traded to get back the item they bought. What a waste of time. If they think it is fun, fine, but I am not interested. But don't get me started about the year that the "Office Christmas Party" was to go out to lunch, paying our own way, to a place that gives a hefty discount to everyone except two of us in the group (non military). Wow. And a happy Christmas to you, too, Jerk.
Title: Re: Workplace Secret Santa
Post by: LifePhaseTwo on November 13, 2018, 01:47:13 PM
There are other ways to integrate. You won't be seen as "integrating" just by participating in SS but not doing anything else anyway.
+1

The workplace that I just retired from was a bit of a minefield at Christmas. I found that some Secret Santa gift recipients can be quite judge-y... If the gift you gave doesnít meet up with their expectations, that could do you more harm than good. You might be better off integrating in other ways, as other posters have suggested, especially if your heart really isnít into the whole Secret Santa thing anyway.