Christmas in the Workplace: A Free & Meaningful Secret Santa

Studio 42 Workspaces   •   November 27, 2019

The festive season can be a financially stressful time for many people. It’s not just the cost of gifts that contribute to the financial stress, it’s the cost of the celebratory events as well as holiday travel.

Many businesses do a Secret Santa, which is a great way to lower your costs by giving one present rather than a gift to every member of that group. The best way to save money is to avoid spending any, and one way to do that is to give an experience rather than an item.

In his book The 5 Love Languages, Dr Gary Chapman explains that everyone gives and receives love and appreciation differently. And each of us will have a hierarchy of the five languages such that one or two methods really mean a lot to us, while another method may barely register for us.

Giving and receiving gifts is only one of the five love languages, and for some (like me) it barely registers.

The 5 Love Languages are:
1. Words of Affirmation
2.Quality Time
3.Acts of Service
4.Physical Touch

This year suggest to your team to have a love language themed secret Santa. There’s a free quiz on the 5 Love Languages website that you can each do. And who doesn’t love a personality quiz at this time of year?

Following are some examples of how you may apply this in your office.

Words of Affirmation

Words of affirmation offer people validation that they are valued.  In the office a great way to do this is to give a card including a heartfelt message detailing the many things you appreciate about them and their contribution to the team.  Use specific examples to really hit them in the feels.

If like me, you’re not crafty, no stress – remember they’ll likely focus on the message not the card, so pour your energy into that. Or use your smartphone to make a video or audio message.

A gift of words of affirmation is ideal for leaders to give to each of their team members. If you do this then don’t copy one of my former bosses who thanked each of us for our contribution, only to undo his good work by including an identical message in each card. Personalisation is key to landing the words of affirmation.

Quality Time

These days we all seem so busy at work that many people eat at their desks and don’t have time to stand around the coffee machine chatting. You can give the gift of quality time by individually inviting colleagues out for coffee or lunch and just talk. Aim to really listen and ask questions about them.

Keep it free by bringing your own lunch or using keep-cups for your coffee and go out to a nearby park. If you don’t yet know them well, a walk-and-talk can take the edge off any awkwardness.

Acts of Service

We all have parts of our jobs that are annoying chores. Could you make that chore easier for a colleague?

Or perhaps your colleague is stressed about getting a project done before the Christmas break. How can you go above your usual role to help them meet that deadline?

You don’t have to join the project team or take over the task. Investing an hour or two can make a meaningful difference.

If you can’t easily think of something then give them a gift voucher entitling them to enlist your help when they’re feeling stressed, even if it is basic chores.

Physical Touch

A hug or massage is what may come to mind when thinking about giving physical touch, however that’s tricky territory, especially in an office.

If you suspect your Secret Santa recipient may have physical touch as their top love language, then think of how to combine some touch into giving them a gift of another one of their top love languages.

For example, when giving them a card with a heartfelt message combine it with a warm handshake while making comfortable eye contact. This says “I see you” and is a wonderful gift to their soul. High fives are fun too!

If you try the love language secret Santa theme in your office this year, I’d love to hear your story and see your pics.

About the Author

Matt Hern

Matt Hern is passionate about helping people afford what brings them joy.

Since 2003, he has advised people on the right financial decisions to achieve their goals, working as a Certified Financial Planner™ professional. For example, clients he has advised have achieved goals such as being mortgage free by age 40 and having both parents able to work part time while their children are young.

Now he exclusively offer money coaching to teach people a system for automating their budgeting and support them to save more, reduce debt and afford what matters most to them.

In a way, he’s like a personal trainer for your financial fitness.

This blog has been created in partnership with Studio42 by a guest author. The opinions represented in this article are the individual views of the guest author, and do not in any way reflect the views of Studio42. This post has not been sponsored and any products or companies listed have been included solely at the discretion of the guest author. If you have any concerns about the content of this article, please contact Studio 42.