November 7th 2013 | Comments

The Gentleman’s guide to the Secret Santa

Christmas is just around the corner, and for the office-based gentleman, this means the Hell of the Secret Santa, that annual ritual when you buy a complete strange a gift, and receive something utterly useless in return.

Secret Satan, more like.

Many is the year when we have argued over the budget, over the so-called random draw for names, and – subsequently – over which of you heathen bought me Marks and Spencer bath salts for the third year running.

Our advice to gentlemen offered the chance to take part in the workplace Secret Santa is this: Feign illness or death for the whole of December to avoid it. However, this might also mean you miss the Christmas party and the might out at your local Toby Carvery, so you may be forced to swallow your pride and brace yourself for the forthcoming unpleasantness.

secret santa

To make it as painless as possible, make sure that you are the one setting the rules. The usual suspects (you know – the kind who wear they pyjamas to work for charity because it’s fun and wacky) might not like you trampling all over their territory, but stick to your guns. If you have actual guns, so much the better. Ensure there are no swaps, a fixed budget, and strictly no whining, on pain of death and/or unpaid overtime manning the phones on Christmas Day.

Once you have the name of your target, act swiftly. Navigate to, order them socks, and then take the rest of the day off to celebrate. You are the king of Secret Santa, and you deserve it. In fact, take afternoons off for the run-up to the great unveiling, telling colleagues you are Secret Santa shopping. They will understand and will cover for you.

On the big day, burn your gift before opening it. Not only will this save the inevitable disappointment, it will also set off the fire alarm and you all get the rest of the day off to celebrate.

By the time you’re all back in the New Year, everybody will have forgotten how you wrecked Secret Santa (except for the lucky devil who is now wearing superb quality cotton socks from Socked), and you will have escaped for another year. Well done.