Sunday, December 14, 2008

Secret Santa

(Annual Office Travesty of the Festive Experience)

JAMES says:

I am a man, and therefore I have trouble thinking of gift ideas. For my wife, my family, even for my brother who has pretty much exactly the same tastes as me (excluding The Athenian Murders) I can traipse around HMV for hours with a confused look on my face and still emerge unpresented. Who, then, thought it was a good idea to have to buy another present, this time for someone with whom my interaction has yet to progress beyond ‘Morning’ (not even at ‘Good Morning’ level yet) and discussions about the milk supplies.

Me, I thought it was a good idea. I am a chump.

The office environment has a way of dragging in that which is good and wholesome and pure in the world, and cheapening it. Look at parties, look at romances. Here it is taking something which is already quite fraught with awkwardness and possible missteps. Once you remove any present that could be considered offensive or even potentially offensive, anything that would involve some effort to purchase, anything they might already possess and anything over £10, you are left with the lowest common denominator of presents. This is why, without exception, men get booze and women get toiletries. Because women smell and men are all drunkards. What a sad indictment of our race.

This shouldn’t be a problem because of the secrecy clause (tee hee) in proceedings, but if anything dies quicker than genuine emotion in the poisoned environment of the office it is a secret. Before the wrapping paper even hits the bin you have a whole series of conspiracies along the lines of ‘I’ll tell you who I bought for if you tell me who you did’, and before you know it the guy you thought would really dig a ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul for Golf interactive DVD game’ is blanking you at the photocopier.

And people will also spend £4 less on you than you spent on them. I mean, I know I said £10 was only an upper limit, but come on.


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