Millennials are tired of Secret Santa. So over the holiday gift-giving tradition at their work that they want to ban Secret Santa. And they’re right.
Jobsite, a British job-hunting website, released a new survey on how U.K. workers feel about giving gifts at work. They surveyed 4,000 British workers in October 2019, including 1,054 millennial workers. Millennials are defined as anyone born between 1981 to 1996.
Secret Santa is held in many offices around the country and allows employees to get in the holiday spirit and present a gift to their coworkers. However, millennials are not here for Secret Santa.
Many millennials are against Secret Santa and other gift-giving celebrations such as birthdays, engagements, and work anniversaries because of the financial strain. Of the millennials surveyed, nearly three quarters (73%) claim they contributed more to an office celebration than they could actually afford. Of those, 26% said they had to dip into their savings account or overdraft from their bank account to contribute to the workplace gift.
They say they gift over $11 per event and nearly $200 a year, compared to $127 given in gifts from other age group workers. C’mon, $200 to your coworkers? You could buy yourself a nice pair of sneakers for that price or a few bottles of delightful bourbon. Add that up over your career, and you’re gifting over $9,000 to your coworkers, most of which you do not like. Who wants to chip in $10 for a spa day for Susan in accounting for her 18th work anniversary or $7 for a birthday card and lotto tickets for Tim in sales? Nobody, that’s who.
Millennials give 34% more expensive gifts than other age groups because they feel obligated to leave a positive impression on their elder coworkers. Plus, 85% of millennials feel pressure to give work gifts and 17% felt judged by colleagues, according to Jobsite.
Millennials are so against gift-giving events at work that 35% of them want the celebrations banned. This goes against the majority (61%) of UK office workers who believe that Secret Santa is “good for morale.”
Dr. Ashley Weinberg, an expert in workplace psychology at the University of Salford, chimed in on the work culture of gift-giving.
“The giving and receiving of gifts is a natural part of our make-up as social animals. In fact, the basis of most of our face-to-face communication relies on taking turns and understanding the unwritten rules which underpin it,” Dr. Weinberg said. “The workplace is an obvious testing ground for our ability to negotiate, but we don’t always feel we have the power to say ‘no’ and we should.”
“Celebrating special events for our colleagues is great for morale in the workplace,” Weinberg continued. “However, there can be unfortunate unintended consequences, especially in workgroups or organizations where there is an expectation to give to material gifts for colleagues.”
Does anyone want a red Swingline stapler or a Himalayan glow salt lamp from their office Secret Santa? Or a toilet coffee mug? Or a How To Be Interesting book? Or a pillow of Dwight Schrute from The Office wearing a mask? Ok, the toilet coffee mug and the Dwight Schrute pillow seem like a great Secret Santa gifts.
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You should expect to get the worst Secret Santa gift because the chances of you receiving something actually worthwhile at your company’s Secret Santa is probably 0.137%. So maybe it’s time to stop giving crappy Secret Santa gifts to your coworkers, which the majority of them you despise.
You can see all of the data from the survey over at Jobsite.