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When Secret Santa goes wrong: What are the worst gift ideas?

When Secret Santa goes wrong: What are the worst gift ideas?


As Christmas is rapidly approaching, undoubtedly many offices around the globe – either in person or virtually – will be reviving one of those sacred festive workplace traditions: Secret Santa.

But choose your gift wisely for fear of accidentally offending a colleague.

A poll by the Body Shop of more than 300 employees found that being given a novelty present was cited as the worst present to receive from a co-worker, with more than two-thirds saying that they would prefer getting a more thoughtful gift.

Some respondents shared some of the single-worst gifts that they had ever received from a colleague. One was given a Thomas the Tank Engine backpack (perhaps the Hong Kong equivalent would be a Hello Kitty backpack) while some admitted they had received adult-themed gifts, some of which even included sex toys.

While yet another hit the jackpot when they were gifted a half-eaten box of chocolates.

But to go one better, a Human Resources colleague received a chocolate calendar for the year just gone for their Secret Santa surprise – presumably giving the gift in question ample opportunity to melt over the course of a searing Hong Kong summer. As well as being not terribly useful in terms of timekeeping.

Also read: HR guide: How to plan a festive company party amid COVID-19

The top 15 worst Secret Santa gifts below according to the poll (admittedly it’s quite an extensive list):

1.      Novelty

2.      Beauty

3.      Toys & games

4.      Food

5.      Home accessories

6.      Stationery

7.      Books

8.      Chocolate

9.      Nothing

10.  A mug

11.  Accessories

12.  Alcohol

13.  Socks

14.  Toiletries

15.  Adult themed


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