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Real-life MMD: Secret Santa standoff
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# 1
Former MSE Debs
Old 25-10-2012, 12:08 PM
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Default Real-life MMD: Secret Santa standoff

Money Moral Dilemma: Secret Santa standoff


Our office is doing Secret Santa again this year with a limit of 15, however, the girls in our office are notorious for over-spending. Last year, I was called a Scrooge for sticking to the agreed limit when nobody else did. I know I can get something decent with 15, especially with the help of MSE, but I'm scared I'll get teased again if I don't spend more. Should I overspend to keep up or risk seeming cheap?

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Last edited by Former MSE Debs; 30-10-2012 at 6:31 PM.
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# 2
BNT
Old 30-10-2012, 5:46 PM
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Default Not very secret

It doesn't sound like a very Secret Santa. If it works properly, no one is going to know what you bought.

Unless someone goes and checks prices in the stores/online, how do they know how much each gift costs? Unless your talking about overspending by 100% or something.

If you are really the only person who does not overspend, then I suggest you fall into line with the others. Secret Santa works best when everyone spends roughly the same (though, ideally, that would be the amount stated)

Otherwise, I'd buy something within the limit but that is hard to guess the price of. Not vouchers.
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# 3
telsco
Old 30-10-2012, 7:40 PM
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Just say that whatever you bought cost you 20 and that you must have been ripped off if they can get find the same thing for 15.
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# 4
Torry Quine
Old 30-10-2012, 7:46 PM
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That's an expensive secret santa to start with. The key word though is secret so they shouldn't know who bought what if done correctly.
"How many times I have desired to gather your children as a hen that gathers her chicks and you were not willing! Luke 13:34

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# 5
mayling03
Old 30-10-2012, 8:46 PM
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What's point of setting limit? Stick to agreed budget, the other good thing is to make up a nice hamper- usually expensive to buy but cheaper to make? Wrap it really nicely with a bow and no one can guess how much it was? Aldi sells lots of European cookies and confectionary, all expensive looking!
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# 6
littlerat
Old 30-10-2012, 8:54 PM
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I'd stick to it.

If you don't and it actually stays secret this year and somebody does stick to it, it'll be assumed it's you again anyway. And how far do you go? If they're the type to outdo each other, last year it went to (say) 25, this year 30... how far does it end up going?

I would however make it VERY clear to everyone you'll be sticking to the budget, they may then reconsider their own expenditure.
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# 7
Flat Eric
Old 30-10-2012, 9:40 PM
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I personally think 15 is too much for a secret santa gift for work colleagues. I am doing xmas on a budget this year and even close family are getting gifts costing less than a fiver!

I would stick to the 15 budget (or less) and perhaps include a couple of scratchcards?

Its very easy to be held to ransom in these kind of things. We planned to do a secret santa in our office one year but it caused too many arguments so we binned the idea. I would rather the money went instead to a more fitting cause rather than getting a gift I don't really want that will sit at the back of the cupboard...


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Last edited by Flat Eric; 30-10-2012 at 9:43 PM.
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# 8
Catriona_P
Old 30-10-2012, 9:40 PM
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Personally I would be completely open and honest about it - when the emails go round saying 'secret santa time again, 15 limit as always', I would respond to everyone saying 'Will the 15 be stuck to this year so no-one is called a Scrooge?", or words to that effect. It was a rude thing for them to call you so obviously the girl(s) involved will be equally thick-skinned to you making it clear that their behaviour last year was unfair ().

That way, no stress with trying to buy something that looks more expensive than it is, and no panicy moment when your present is opened. Be honest and clear and I'll bet it doesn't happen again. You never know, other colleagues may be worrying this year about being called a Scrooge as you were and you might be doing them a favour too.
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# 9
19lottie82
Old 30-10-2012, 10:13 PM
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15?! in my office it's a fiver!

seriously, 15 was the agreed limit, so stick with it.
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# 10
scotsbob
Old 30-10-2012, 10:43 PM
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Tell them that as you were called a "scrooge" last year you will be living up to the title this year and not participating.
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# 11
Spendless
Old 30-10-2012, 11:11 PM
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I'd either tell them I'm not joining in and say it is due to the name calling when I stuck to the agreed 15 limit or if I still wanted to join in I would only spend 15 but make sure I bought something on offer, so it looked more.
I have done reading too!
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# 12
LittleMrsThrifty
Old 31-10-2012, 6:40 AM
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Suggest it is a challenge to get the best you can for 15 (with receipts!) then you'll win :-)
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# 13
tgroom57
Old 31-10-2012, 7:20 AM
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I would go a step further. I would say that due to comments last year I will again be sticking to the limit they suggest (which itself is plenty high enough for office buddies imho, especially catty ones < don't tell them that bit).

However, amongst themselves, the sky is the limit, and you look forward to seeing what they come up with this year.
PS - does this mean they intend to spend more than 15 on you?
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Last edited by tgroom57; 31-10-2012 at 7:33 AM.
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# 14
tallgirld
Old 31-10-2012, 7:25 AM
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So wait there a sec..... It's SECRET Santa the limit is 15.
How do they know what you spent?
There is no way I would spend more than 15. To be honest I wouldn't even want to spend that much!
I would tell them to shove it. I would no longer participate in buying presents for people who are NOT my friends.
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# 15
bouncydog1
Old 31-10-2012, 7:25 AM
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In our office it's co-ordinated by our lovely HR lady who sends out an email asking for everyone to confirm if they are participating or not. We have a range of staff from youngsters starting out to older, more comfortably off people. We all appreciate that people have very different budgets, so set a 10 maximum limit and ask people to stick to it.

Canny shoppers will often put together a small package that might just come in under 10 but nobody minds and nobody knows who has bought for whom. The fun is trying to buy something that fits the personality of who you are buying for.

Quite frankly I would tell the others that secret santa is supposed to be that - 15 is too high and it should be optional. Nobody should be made to feel bad - that is actually bullying and your HR person should be on to it!
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# 16
floydy17
Old 31-10-2012, 8:10 AM
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Default Bah humbug

15 is a lot for an office secret santa - I would definitely stick to the budget.

In our office we only spend a fiver and the idea is to buy something as daft or funny as possible. We then turn it into a game - everyone pulls out a number, ie 1 to whatever (hoping for as high a number as possible). No 1 picks out a gift and opens it. No 2 then picks out a gift - but if he/she doesn't like it, they can opt to swap with No 1. No 3 can choose between what they pick out or swapping with 2 or 3 etc etc. And no-one can refuse to swap a gift.

Hard to explain clearly but it causes great hilarity and everyone has fun which is the sole purpose. And no-one is left with an expensive gift that'll sit in the back of the cupboard unused.
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# 17
dcth
Old 31-10-2012, 8:29 AM
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I organise the Secret Santa in my office. Our limit is 5 and I use an online name generator which means I don't know who is getting who a gift. You can set this so they don't get the same person as last year.

Our aim is to get something that fits their recipients personality and to have a laugh when it is opened. It is not about how much you spend, it is about how well you know the person and getting them an apt gift.

To the OP, I would offer to organise the Secret Santa yourself and set new rules with a lower spending limit. It seems your colleagues have forgotten what Secret Santa is about.
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# 18
Gillsx
Old 31-10-2012, 8:43 AM
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15 is quite high for an office secret Santa so no I don't think you should overspend. If that's the limit set then more fool them for overspending. Stick to your guns and don't forget it's supposed to be secret so they shouldn't know what you bought anyway!
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# 19
Gardening Girl
Old 31-10-2012, 9:27 AM
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I hate secret Santa. For me it's a form of bullying particularly when you're hard up. Refuse to join in if you can't afford it. 15 is a ridiculously high amount. You might also find that many of your colleagues feel the same way.
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# 20
Sambucus Nigra
Old 31-10-2012, 9:32 AM
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'By implying that I am a cheapskate last year - you confirmed two things. One - that this is not secret. Two - that this is a popularity contest. So it seems pointless participating in a secret Santa with an upper limit where it's not secret, there is no upper limit and the ethos of Santa is most definitely not being demonstrated. Thanks for asking though.

However, if you want a proper secret Santa then I'm happy to organise it - after all, if I'm not participating then I've got no need to tell people who has given what, do I?'
If you haven't got it - please don't flaunt it. TIA.

Last edited by Sambucus Nigra; 31-10-2012 at 9:46 AM.
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