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VOL. 39 | NO. 51 | Friday, December 18, 2015

Careful how you play dirty Santa

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It’s that time of year again, and you’re required to attend an awkward holiday party with your co-workers during the day.

I’ve gotten the sense that most people are looking forward to receiving some sort of holiday bonus and leaving work early for the day.

If you find yourself in this situation, there’s a reasonable chance you’re going to be asked to give a Secret Santa gift. If you’ve never played it, you are randomly assigned a person for whom to get a gift.

Many offices end up transforming the game into Dirty Santa. This involves putting all the wrapped gifts on one table. Then, participants take turns opening and then stealing gifts from one another.

Typically, everyone is given a budget between $5 and $25 per gift. Finding the right thing can be tricky for even the most seasoned gift giver.

First, select a gift that would appeal to many different people. Keep in mind that it could go to a man or a woman of various ages.

It’s helpful to remember that not everyone has the same religious beliefs. Try to keep the gift festive in a way that celebrates the holiday, but could be appreciated by people from various faiths.

Don’t pick a gift that’s inappropriate at work, or one that has a sexual undertone. And, stay away from things like cash.

With that said, a very popular holiday present is a gift card to a store like Starbucks or Apple. This is a very simple gift that many people can enjoy.

Other fun gifts include prepackaged food, serving dishes and holiday ornaments. Small electronic toys such as a dancing Santa are also great for a laugh.

And, if you’ve ever wondered about re-gifting, Dirty Santa can be a great time to try it out. Just be sure not to re-gift something you received at the same event on an earlier holiday.

It could come across badly and potentially hurt the original gift giver’s feelings.

Regardless of whether you’ll be playing Secret Santa or Dirty Santa, you’ll want to wrap your gift at home before bringing it to work.

For Secret Santa, it can be nice to also include a holiday card addressed to the recipient.

If these sorts of events catch you a bit off guard, it can be a great idea to keep a few extra wrapped gifts on hand, just in case. If you don’t end up giving them away at work, you can always give them to a friend who stops by unexpectedly to say hello during the holidays.

Last, if you are the organizer of an office holiday party, it’s a great idea to bring a few extra gifts. You may find there is a new employee or someone else who hasn’t heard about your party in time to pick up a present.

Having extra gifts on hand will allow them to participate and help them to feel welcomed to the group.

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com.

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