SECRET SANTA | 3 Top Tips for employers

Secret Santa is a great way to have some workplace fun at Christmas.

The main premise behind Secret Santa is that employees pick a colleague’s name at random, buy them a gift and keep their identity in the dark.

It sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? However, in the shadows lurk some surprising risks.

Here are three things employers need to be aware of to ensure Secret Santa is an entertaining activity for all:  


1. Don’t force people to participate

Although the majority of your employees may love the idea of Secret Santa, others may feel that it’s a chore. 

Some may feel anxious about buying a present for a colleague they don’t really know, whilst others may be worrying about the cost. 

Whatever their reasoning, don’t make employees feel like Scrooge! Not everyone celebrates Christmas, or celebrates it in the same way.  

2. Clearly state the budget and deadline

It’s useful to state a budget for gift giving. This could be whatever you like, but in many cases, it £5, £10 or £20. Make sure that it’s reasonable for all your employees. Remind them that they should not go over budget and give them clear information about where to put the gifts and by what date to avoid disappointment.

3. Give them some ideas

When buying the gift, employees should always have at the forefront of their mind the following question: is this appropriate? 

One person may find the gift funny, whilst another may find it offensive. It is important that all employees are aware of how their gift may affect the feelings of others.   

Give them some ideas of things which would be considered appropriate and things which would not be. Employees should refrain from risqué, vulgar or tongue-in-cheek gifts, such as sexy lingerie, phallic-shaped items and nude calendars. 

Equally, do not poke fun at people’s vulnerabilities, for example, giving someone hair dye, diet pills or deodorant. All employees should be respectful of the individual’s religion or beliefs, sex, age, race, disability, etc.  Giving someone something offensive could lead to grievances about bullying or harassment and lead to breakdown of workplace relationships.

"All employees should be respectful of the individual’s religion or beliefs, sex, age, race, disability, etc."

Our Employment Law Advisers are on hand to give you comprehensive, straightforward and commercial advice. Contact us to discover how we can support your organisation. 

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