Sunday, 21 December 2014

Secret Santa

Secret Santa is a (western) Christmas tradition, where, within a group, people get each other presents. There are many variations of the custom but, in general, the recipient of the gift doesn't know whom the gift came from. Apart from that, the people in a Secret Santa group can set the exact rules. For instance, they may set a price range for the gifts or define a general gift theme to be followed, etc.

'Gift' by Joey Rozier
under a CC license
In some places, the Secret Santa custom is a big deal, with decent planning and implementation. I was a bit surprised to find  how-to guides online. I was even more surprised to see online Secret Santa planners, name-drawing tools, etc. Having seen those, it should come as no surprise that there are also apps on the topic (e.g., Secret Santa).

For people that work 8+ hours in the typical office environment, where human interaction is either office smalltalk or purpose-oriented collaboration and where a good 60-70% or more of the work time is carried out in front of a computer monitor, secret Santa is an interesting (and possibly a bit awkward) break.

Exchanging gifts, even low-cost ones, if done the right way, is fun. Looking at a deeper level, though, there is more to that. It forces one, for a little while, to shift their focus and think on the others. It is an opportunity for human contact that may even lead to durable relationships.

(Yes, true. People can take part in Secret Santa and be mean or indifferent but let's put that aside in this case).

Sure, Secret Santa is not amongst the bold or basic things the world needs. It is a small Christmas thing, which, for a short time, can make our lives a tiny bit smilier.

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