Those in PA jobs in London know a thing or two about what can go right—and what can go wrong—when it comes to Secret Santa in the workplace. It’s a minefield, so we decided to help you out by asking PAs we know what the most successful gifts are that they rely on. All should be available for under £10.
1. Nice stationery
“For people in office-based jobs, you can’t go wrong with nice stationery,” says Emma. “Especially with so many of us working from home, it’s lovely to have personal stationery that makes your work day just that little bit more pleasurable. I once arranged a Secret Santa gift for a creative agency and everyone who got fancy stationery was happy.”
2. A mug
Dave says, “If in doubt, choose a mug. Don’t choose anything crass but just a nice decent mug, perfect for those workaday hot drinks. Try to pick up on something your recipient is interested in. That way you can pick between themes, from gardening to Star Wars, and get it right. If you want to make it look a little more special, you can pop it in a cellophane bag and put some sweets and chocolates in it.”
3. Something edible
Christine told us she chooses food: “You can’t go wrong with something edible, as long as you know the recipient reasonably well. Don’t buy alcohol for the teetotaller or dairy-based chocolate for the vegan. But you work with this person, so you should have a pretty good idea of their dietary habits and can choose something suitable based on that. Popular food gifts I’ve organised have included curry spice sets, tea collections, and vegan brownies.”
4. Fancy toiletries
Eliot says, “If you choose toiletries or beauty products, choose something really luxurious. I adore the Molton Brown baubles, which look wonderful and make a really special gift. You can hunt them down for around £10 in some places. Always choose quality over quantity when choosing a toiletry gift, though.”
5. Safe vouchers
Liesl opts for a safe option, she explains: “I choose vouchers if I’m in doubt with Secret Santa presents. You can’t go wrong with a voucher to the local coffee shop or somewhere that sells a broad mix of items, such as Marks and Spencer or John Lewis. It might not be the most exciting gift but it’ll definitely be more appreciated than a joke novelty.”
6. Small games
“It can be tricky to buy decent games under £10,” says Rob, “but decent desk toys and small games, such as card games like Sussed or Randomise, can be a novel gift. It’s nice to receive something which isn’t generic but fun. That’s always tricky with Secret Santa, as people assume it is okay to choose something rude—it’s not. But fun doesn’t have to mean rude!”
Those in PA jobs in London are often the ones tasked with organising Secret Santa and buying their own and their executive’s contribution. Furthermore, they watch as the event unfolds. So heed their advice and Happy Secret Santa!
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