When the organizer of my office’s Secret Santa asked me whether or not I’d be participating in the gift-giving festivities this holiday season, I reluctantly agreed. While I love shopping for other people and am all about giving gifts, especially this time of year, I’ve always felt slightly uncomfortable buying a present that (a) has to be suitable for any and all of my coworkers, or (b) will be given to someone with whom I potentially have never actually had a conversation. (I guess the gift grab bag is one of the tricks HR uses to compel people to “get to know” their coworkers?)
Also, another frustrating “catch” to these things is that there’s always some unreasonable budget to which you must adhere. Someone please tell me where in Manhattan am I going to be able to find the perfect gift for $15? I can hardly buy a turkey sandwich and a diet Coke for 15 bucks in some parts of town… Okay, so I’m probably exaggerating here (the part about not being able to find a present — not the turkey sandwich thing. That is no lie) and taking the whole situation a bit too seriously. Let me be honest: If you are creative enough and spend the time and effort, I’m sure you’ll find a great gift for that special coworker. But guess what? It turns out that, with the economy being what it is today, it’s not even going to be that difficult!
When I set out this week to complete this seemingly impossible task of finding a decent gift for the low price set forth by the office guidelines, I was shocked to see the massive number of viable options at stores on nearly every street corner. Huge signs boasting, “Brilliant Gift Ideas $20 and Under” and “Gifts Under $25” told me right away that the grab bag gift search wasn’t going to be so bad after all. Plus, it doesn’t hurt when, magically, nearly three quarters of the stock in every shop has been marked down. So this is what happens when our country goes into a recession — hey, more fun for us shopaholics!
So, if you’re in a similar predicament — and fearing the time when you, too, will have to draw from the hat a folded slip of paper that may or may not be the cause of additional anxiety for the next two weeks — know that you can relax. Lots of local stores — Restoration Hardware, Brookstone, Kohl’s, Pottery Barn, Barnes & Noble, Williams-Sonoma, Bed, Bath and Beyond — have excellent sections featuring affordable, clever gifts to aid the weary Secret Santa in us all. Happy shopping!
Got any Secret Santa suggestions, gift-giving woes, or downright horror stories? Share ’em in the comments box below!