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Avoid ‘Secret Santa’ embarrassment

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Avoid ‘Secret Santa’ embarrassment

As the festive season strikes again
human resources experts have come up with some sage advice… “When it comes to
Secret Santa think PG-rating”.

Don’t buy anything for a colleague that
you’d be embarrassed to show your mum. This advice from HR Consultancy Jaluch, follows
a catalogue of Secret Santa blunders at local companies. Over the years Jaluch
has heard of staff at local companies receiving chocolate body paint and other
gifts with a sexual connotation, extra strong deodorant, a bottle of wine
(given to a Muslim) and, in Scrooge-like fashion, an unwanted gift recycled
from the year before.

Despite this 73 per cent of companies which responded
to a recent Jaluch poll thought Secret Santa a great idea whilst only 17 percent
believe it can cause more bad will than good and 10 percent deem it ‘highly

Kathie-Louise Clarke, an HR Advisor at Jaluch, said:
“Most people take Secret Santa in the spirit it is intended and we’d certainly
encourage companies to continue the tradition. 

“However, it’s essential that Secret Santa is
voluntary, not everyone celebrates Christmas and for some the cost of buying an
extra present can be a burden. There’s also the potential to offend and what
might seem a bit of light fun now could form a small part of a complex
grievance later on.

“Part of the fun of Secret Santa is that staff all
open their presents together at the Christmas party, choosing something with
the potential to embarrass or offend or something that taps into a personal
vulnerability could cause problems. If staff are in any doubt they should play
it safe.” Other Secret Santa upsets include buying self-help guides, ‘how-to’
books, diet vouchers, nose and ear hair trimmers and political or religious
joke gifts.

27 November 2009


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