The whole office dreads it, yet we do it every year. It’s one of those life mysteries, like Brussels sprouts… nobody really wants or enjoys them, yet everyone insists on making them every Christmas. Very curious indeed!

We’re talking about Secret Santa at work, which is supposed to unite the whole office in the festive spirit and all that, but in reality, ends up being another stressful work obligation. We don’t mean those otherworldly workplaces where everyone is buddies with everyone, we mean the regular miserable office. Just because you spend most of your waking time with your colleagues, doesn’t mean you actually know what they want for Christmas. It sounds obnoxious, but it’s true. Who really knows what Sarah from accounting even likes?!

Usually people end up getting random gifts that they don’t want or know what to make of, making this yet another gifting obligation that brings no one the joy it should. We’ve rounded up some Secret Santa horror stories to prove our point!

One person says his Secret Santa gifted him a cardboard box full of coal. Clearly, someone is passionately disliked.

One guy seemed to have forgotten to buy his colleague a gift. Instead, he gifted a hastily written note that read: ‘IOU – Kyle’. 

Another was given an apple (yes, a single sad fruit) with an office post-it that says Merry Christmas. Obviously, Scrooge works there.

Scratch that; this is where Scrooge works. A woman received a burned copy of an old Taylor Swift album (which -as it turns out- isn’t even working) in a used sock. 

And it’s not just the cheap gifts that horrify us, it’s the rude ones too! One person gifted their colleague a “for dummies” weight loss book and a measuring tape. Cringe.

Another passive aggressive present was received by a young woman in New Zealand, who was given a book titled ‘How to Be Interesting’. Yikes!

And then there are the completely random gifts, like bird food for someone who doesn’t have birds and never even expressed that they like birds, a used toy slingshot for a 26 year old woman, a pre-burnt candle with initials that don’t match the recipient’s, a slightly damaged I <3 London umbrella, and a sandwich! (Yes, all true stories)

The point is, if it’s an unavoidable evil, then at least do it properly. If you’re stuck for ideas, or you don’t really know the person you’re buying a gift for, then pretty please do them the favor of letting them buy themselves something they’d actually like. No one likes to spend time and effort on choosing a nice gift to a co-worker (yes, we nice people do exist), only to be rewarded with an awful random thing from someone’s attic when it’s their turn. Most workplaces set rules like spending limit, use that as an appropriate amount for a gift card that can be used at lots of varying stores or services, and you’ll end up being the star of this torturing annual ritual we like to call “Secret Santa”.

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