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Buying Gifts for Colleagues – The Best and The Worst of Office Secret Santa

Buying Gifts for Colleagues – The Best and The Worst of the Office Secret Santa
14 December 2020

Secret Santa present ideas can be the bane of the festive season for office workers, but what makes a good gift for colleagues?

With the traditional office Christmas party all but out of bounds this year, one COVID-secure tradition that can continue is the annual colleague Secret Santa.

Before delving into the decent gifts you should be buying, some UK office workers have revealed the very worst Secret Santa gifts they’ve received to date, including a “half-eaten box of chocolates” and a “Thomas the Tank Engine-backpack.”

Over 300 office workers were surveyed by The Body Shop to find what was the key to a successful Secret Santa gift for a colleague, and what presents to avoid gifting this year.

When it comes to shopping for a gift, 35 per cent of the respondents felt anxious and stressed when faced with the prospect of buying for a colleague. 29 per cent also admitted to regifting a present they had received by a colleague in the past.


Top 15 Worst Secret Santa Gifts


  1. Novelty-themed
  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 gifts

Amongst the colleague confessionals, the respondents shared some of the single-worst gifts they had ever received from a co-worker. One respondent recalled “a cat purse (I hate cats)” as the worst gift they had received from a colleague.

From unwanted accessories to adult-themed gifts, some of those surveyed said that they had even been gifted sex toys. The stats also reveal that men prefer joke gifts more than women (23 per cent vs 11 per cent), 

Surprisingly, those surveyed disliked receiving chocolate, with one claiming they received a “half-eaten box of chocolates” from a colleague, and one vegan office worker revealed they were given “milk chocolate”, despite not eating milk products.


Top Secret Santa Gifts – What to Buy in 2020


Based on The Body Shop’s survey data, novelty items are an absolute no-go, with 68 per cent preferring a thoughtful gift instead.

When it came to spending, the majority of respondents (49 per cent) stuck to spending between £6-10, while 34 per cent say they spend between £11-15.

In this year’s best Secret Santa roundup by The Telegraph, an “I Survived Lockdown 2020” Christmas Decoration and Spreadable whisky single malt marmalade were named as sensible gift ideas.

Picture: a photograph of a wrapped Christmas gift

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 14 December 2020


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