Ho ho ho! Christmas is just around the corner and what better way to spread some holiday cheer than by organising events and encouraging members to mingle and interact with one another. One way to do this is by organising a ‘Secret Santa’.
But what exactly is Secret Santa? It is an office ritual that brings coworkers closer by making them know one another on a deeper level and buying gifts that the other person will value.
But with some people working from home and some from the office, you might be wondering how to plan a “Hybrid Secret Santa” and make it enjoyable. Not to fear! We’re here to help.
Also read: How To Organize A Virtual Secret Santa And Make It Exciting
How to Crush Secret Santa in a Hybrid Workplace?
Secret Santa festivities at the end of the year give your employees something to be excited about and can be a fun way to make gift-giving more exciting and memorable. It is also a fantastic opportunity to inspire camaraderie and find the right balance in employee engagement between in-office and remote colleagues. Here are some tried-and-true rules and tips on how to allow everyone to participate and help your coworkers find the right gift.
Secret Santa isn’t about gifting, it is all about the mystery and suspense. At the end of your gift exchange, you can try to blindside your recipient with a mistaken identity by asking all the wrong questions. To add further excitement, little clues, funny messages, riddles, and rhymes can be hidden in the gift.
1. Find Santa on Online Name Generation
Part of the fun of this experience is randomly assigning a Secret Santa to each participant. Since most employees are working from home, you can use a Secret Santa name generator online like Drawnames or Secret Santa organiser and send an email to all employees for whom they will buy a gift. Create a spreadsheet after that, and ask each recipient to fill it out with their preferences so that everyone will know what to buy.
2. Finalise a Budget and Have a Spending Limit
This is probably the most crucial step in planning this event. You’ll need to pay for food and décor for both in-person and virtual participants, so set a budget in advance and stick to it.
Also, a spending limit puts everybody on the same page. This prevents a team member from receiving a 5000 INR gift while another receives a 1000 INR item. You can guarantee that every team member receives a thoughtful secret Santa present, and there are no hard feelings.
3. Pick a Date and Time
You must choose a time and date that works for everyone on your team. It’s better to choose a day that is after work or on the weekend because some people might not be able to attend if the party is during work hours. You should also send out save-the-date cards early so people can mark their calendars and plan accordingly.
4. Time for Celebration
What’s the point of unwrapping your secret Santa gifts if you aren’t going to do it together? When the day finally arrives, both your in-house and remote employees should be present – on-premise employees in the physical office and a concurrent virtual connect for all the remote folks who can join with their choice of drinks – to ensure they have time to connect, engage, and bond while opening up their gifts. Make sure everyone receives their present before the party.
Each participant can open their gifts on a video conference call and try to guess the identity of the gifter after opening the present. You can make Secret Santa fun and exciting by having your employees buy gag gifts for their giftees instead. After all, presents have been opened and all Santas have been revealed, you and your team can take a screenshot of the event.
This can be followed by a nice post-party activity where participants can upload photos to document the memories of the Secret Santa event and the gifts in use.
Also read: At Sabre Corporation, Employee Engagement Activities Solve Critical Business Problems
Some ideas for secret Santa gifts exchange
- Coffee tumbler or mug
- Colouring books for adults
- Journal or planner for the next year
- Scented candles
- Insulated flask
- Soap and shampoo kit
- Wireless Charger
- Tea/coffee gift box
- Laptop bag
- Personalised jewellery
Want to spice things up? Here’re some pointers to make Secret Santa more exciting:
1. Theme It Up
A theme can spice up a usual Secret Santa event. For example, if the theme of your Secret Santa party was 80s retro. This means everybody has to dress in the fashion of the 1980s or as one of their favourite movie stars of that decade. From movies to sports, to colour to dress code, you are free to select anything you want. All the mailers and even gifts can follow this theme.
2. Drop Clues and Keep Your Giftee Guessing
In all fairness, Secret Santa isn’t about gifting, it is all about the mystery and suspense. At the end of your gift exchange, you can try to blindside your recipient with a mistaken identity by asking all the wrong questions. To add further excitement, little clues, funny messages, riddles, and rhymes can be hidden in the gift.
Entertaining hybrid teams at holiday events can be a challenge. Whatever you plan, make sure virtual employees meaningfully connect with in-person attendees and most importantly, have fun. Remember, Secret Santa isn’t just about the presents, it is about having a good laugh, making your teams feel more united, and rounding out the year on a positive note.