Come Christmas time, I always cringe when I hear ‘Secret Santa’ mentioned around the office. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because I’m anti-Christmas…I LOVE Christmas…I’m just not a big fan of Secret Santa and with good reason. As ‘Left Ear’ said in the remake of The Italian Job – “I haaad a baaad experience!’…or in my case, 2 bad experiences. Here I run you through both of my awful experiences, in the hope that you learn from my mistakes.
Bad Secret Santa Experience #1
For those who may not know, I lived in Port Pirie for 5 years after I graduated from uni. My husband Marc moved there for work and I joined him a few months later. Anyhoo, for one year’s Secret Santa my team settled on a spending limit and agreed that the gift needed to be associated with the first letter of the person’s name; pretty straight forward really – in my case something starting with ‘B’.
‘B’. I was hoping for – a book, a book voucher, a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates – all super safe gifts that would be perfect for the office Secret Santa.
When the day arrived to exchange gifts, 2 of my colleagues walked into the office with those wooden wine boxes you get at bottle shops. Wine!! Cha-ching!!
Hold onto your hats….because I celebrated too soon!
The wine box I received was filled with newspaper which is pretty commonplace. I was about to slide off the Perspex lid when the newspaper moved!
And then it moved again!
On the third rustle of paper, my Secret Santa present was revealed….I’d been given a live mouse!!
As you can imagine I was gobsmacked!
- Who gives someone a live mouse??
- What the hell was I going to do with it??
- How do you go from ‘B’ to ‘mouse’??
To this day, I still don’t know the answer to #3.
I mentioned above that 2 of my colleagues walked in with wine boxes. Another team mate was also given a mouse, but the other recipient (a ‘tough as nails’ sort of bloke) was terrified of mice! He promptly dropped the box on the floor and leapt onto the nearest desk.
Luckily, one of the women in my team took both the mice home for her grandsons….phew!
As a result of the above experience, I have a golden rule when it comes to participating in Secret Santa. I will accept:
- Humourous presents
- Offensive presents
- Sexually charged presents (if need be)
Bad Secret Santa Experience #2
My other bad Secret Santa experience happened a couple of years ago here in Adelaide and was more disappointing than anything. Once again the value had been set and I had already amused my team mates with the ‘tale’ (ha – get it 😉 ) of my ‘no animal’ rule. Because I was on maternity leave at the time, I missed the official gift swap in the office earlier in the day, but was given my present that night at the work Christmas dinner.
My Secret Santa was the team oddball and he gave me a mug. The thickest, heaviest, poo brown coloured mug you’ve ever seen….with no handle….and a plastic lid!
He was positively gushing when he gave it to me, telling me that he knew how much I loved drinking tea and thought his choice was a winner.
This dude was lucky I was still breastfeeding at the time (and stone cold sober) because had I been drinking I probably would have given him a verbal smack down explaining that tea is best drunk from fine bone china and a handle is somewhat mandatory. A lid however, is not.
Due to my sobriety, I was extremely gracious but then hastily threw said mug with no handle and a lid in my handbag. With one of my fellow readers as my witness, #muggate was far worse in person than I’ve made out. Trust me. I only wish I had a photo of this god awful mug to share with you.
Part 2 of the Christmas party was a show at a nearby comedy club. I decided to ‘accidentally on purpose’ leave the mug under a bar stool and I would be rid of the silly thing. Mission accomplished….erm, no!
I returned to work from maternity leave in the new year and on my first day back the handle-less mug with a lid was sitting on my desk. Someone had rescued the mug and brought it into the office so we could be reunited once again. Really??
Suffice to say, it went straight into my wheelie bin as soon as I got home.
Based on the above, it’s understandable that I suffer from mild Secret Santa anxiety at this time of year. I was delighted when I learn that the office I am currently working out of has opted to forego Secret Santa this year. Yippee 🙂
Do you have any Secret Santa horror stories?? Do you have any rules?? I’d love to hear them and know there are others out there who share my plight. Leave me a comment below or head to the List and Assist Facebook page.
Until next time….
Happy Secret Santa shopping!