Awkward, Festivities, Humor, You're Fine


Every year, I fail at Christmas. Three years ago, I bought an entire box of Christmas cards to give to all of my coworkers, family members and friends. I got distracted by one thing or another, and the cards were never sent. Two years ago, Christmas crept up so fast, I ended up baking brownies and sending them to my family. And then I did the same thing last year. But this year, I get an A++ for Christmas. Until yesterday.

Here is the dilemma. My company had their office Christmas party last week. My department was a little boring in the fact that we basically sat around in silence eating cookies, mac and cheese, and possibly spiking the eggnog (that’s just about the craziest thing we did). Meanwhile, the department down the hall had an ugly sweater party, and they played Christmas carols, ate pizza, played games, etc. My department does a Secret Santa every year. I decided not to participate. I’m still fairly “new” to this company, and I only know a couple of people fairly well. Plus, I’m nearly broke now after finally, for the first time ever, getting each and every one of my family members and friends a Christmas present. Once the party was over, I thought “Okay good. I can now focus on family.”

Flash forward to yesterday, and my coworker Katie hands me this giant Christmas bag. It’s a full/queen plush blanket. It’s the softest thing I’ve ever owned. If I thought getting up early in the morning every day was hard, it just got a hell of a lot harder with this blanket.

xzcxzKatie forgot to take the tag off and I saw she spent $40 on me.


I didn’t even think to get my boss and Katie something for Christmas. I THOUGHT THE SECRET SANTA WAS FOR THAT. I blatantly chose not to participate for this very reason. So now, of course, I have to get them a gift by tomorrow.

It gets worse.

My other coworker, Michelle, whom I don’t particularly like very much, but I tolerate, also gave me a gift. I was praying to the gods all evening last night hoping it wasn’t going to happen, and voila, a gift was handed to me this morning from her. So in order to not look like a dick, I have to get Michelle something too.

What is the point in Secret Santa if we are just going to give all of our coworkers presents anyway? That is the reason behind Secret Santa – to include everyone. When we were in elementary school and we did Secret Santa, you got your person the gift, we all exchanged them in the classroom before Christmas, everyone got a gift and went home happy, and that was that. I didn’t slip other kids in my classroom a gift on top of my Secret Santa gift. That would be cruel and insensitive.

Exchanging gifts at work is painfully awkward and confusing. If you get one person a gift, you feel obligated to get the rest of your coworkers gifts as well, even if you don’t know them very well. That’s why I was thankful for the Secret Santa – I didn’t feel like I had to get anyone anything if I wasn’t participating. The only thing I did partake in was bringing Peanut Butter Pretzel Bark to the party, which was basically my gift to everyone. This job is costing me a fortune this year.

Please feel free to share any Secret Santa horror stories in the comments. Or go ahead and be bitter with me.


21 thoughts on “Not-So-Secret-Santa

  1. I just cleared out my office drawers for the first time in forever and found Christmas cards that I had written and for some reason not handed out to my co-workers, I thought they were from last year but one of them was for a lady who worked with us that died 2 years ago!!!!! Oops!
    UGH I hate when people you don’t expect buy you gifts, SO awkward!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Auntie Dy says:

    Oh boy , you really do not have to give them a gift Jess . It is about them giving not you . Buy them a cup of coffee or take them to lunch . Tell them you are so appreciative of how thoughtful they are , but you just were not planning on giving gifts this year . They may have done it because they know you are alone . Or the just adore you like everyone else 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a big fan of the Dirty Santa/White Elephant gift exchange. Then you don’t have to personally know anyone involved. You just go with a random $10 limit style gift, toss it in the pile, and leave the rest to chance.

    I hate the feeling of obligation that comes with gift giving. I had a whole conversation with my mom about a month ago about how I really don’t like receiving gifts at Christmas because I feel obligated to give something in return. And then, literally two days ago, she informs me that she and my sister want to get together with me before we go to my grandmother’s house on Christmas Eve to exchange gifts. Uh, I didn’t know we were doing gifts this year. This is the first I’ve heard about it. “I know you don’t like to give gifts, but I do. I don’t want you to feel obligated to get me or your sister anything.” Tough. It doesn’t matter what you want. I feel obligated now. Thanks for that. So I have two days to figure out what to get for my mom and sister. And possibly my step father and my sister’s boyfriend. Can I just skip this week and head straight into 2017?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha I love Dirty Santa/White Elephant gift exchange. Which reminds me, I think I have a White Elephant exchange on Friday. Whoops. Looks like I need to buy more presents haha. I love buying gifts for my family and close friends, it’s just the coworkers that I find confusing and awkward because I don’t want to leave anyone out. Good luck Christmas shopping! Drink lots of Gatorade beforehand.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I must have come off like I hate giving gifts to people I care about… Really, I don’t mind getting things for people. Like, if I happen to be in Target and I see something that so-and-so would appreciate, I’m more than happy to get that something for that person. I just don’t like the feeling that I’m being held hostage by Christmas every year. And the Gatorade is good advice. I remember how crazy people get this close to Christmas from my Old Navy days…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha I knew what you meant. No worries. I get a little twinkle in my eye when I get gifts for people. Do your best to plan ahead – create maps, alternative routes, water stations, etc. You might need it.

        Liked by 2 people

    • I just got so caught up with everything this year, I really didn’t think about the whole boss and coworker thing, and maybe I should have? Haha I had to play it off like, “I haven’t finished my Christmas shopping yet! I’m going later today…” I felt my nose grow.


  4. Theory: They only gave you gifts because you didn’t participate in Secret Santa and they didn’t want you to feel left out. So really, it could be your fault. Haha I could be wrong though and they could just be “nice”.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mom says:

    Keep it simple. You are not obligated. We did a Yankee Swap at our Christmas Party which was fine. I spent $15 (it was a $10 to $20 limit) I brought in baked goodies this week. Several of us got together to help out a coworker with young kids because she didn’t have any money for Santa and we all felt good about that. We certainly don’t expect anything in return. And don’t assume you’re co-worker paid $40 for that blanket. She could be re-gifting. A $5 mug for the office is certainly fine if you still feel you need to. And that’s a WRAP!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My family did this for a couple years, we each pulled a name (4 sisters, 4 brother-in-laws) and got that person a gift. But my big sis is my BFF, so I got her a little something on the side, then she felt obligated to get me a little something, and we found out the others were doing it too, and eventually the whole idea just fell apart. At work, it was optional to participate in the gift exchange (a $15 generic unisex gift that might be chosen by anyone). But I still bought gifts for my close friends, and got thanks yous along with looks that said, “Oh shit, now I’ve got to buy YOU something,” which was never my intention. Oh yeah, it’s a problem. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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