How would you react to this?
The whole point behind doing Secret Santa – especially in the work place – is that it should be fun.
As wonderful as your colleagues are, as raucous as your work drinks may get, there is a limit to how much time and effort you’re going to spend choosing a present for them.
But when the fun gets sucked out of Secret Santa, and it suddenly gets very political and rigid, it pretty undermines the whole point.
You’re now just shelling out for people who you don’t like. But you have to work with them – so what do you do?
This was one woman’s dilemma.
The 32 year-old revealed her financial situation in an upsetting Reddit post about a workplace gift situation which has gone way too far.
This year will be very tight for the Redditor
At four months in to her job and as one of the youngest, Redditor Applonius still very much feels like the new girl.
She also points out how, "most of the women have semi-wealthy, retired husbands and you can tell they don’t really have to work if they don’t want to."
Whereas Applonius earns the equivalent of £7 per hour.
"My financial situation has been very tight this year," she explains.
"My husband lost his job and I lost mine, so we have both had to take pay cuts in our new positions, basically starting from scratch at new companies. He makes little more than me, just over £9 per hour."
"Between our car payments, insurance, and rent we can barely afford to feed ourselves."
The couple do have savings put aside, but these are for their first home and they’re loathe to dip into them.
"It started with an email," she continues.
"One of the managers was collecting money to get a gift for the HEAD manager, and instructed the money be left for her in an envelope on her desk with our name clipped to it.
"A few days went by, and I did not contribute anything because quite honestly, I don’t have anything."
Another email reminder was then sent. So Applonius had a word with her manager and told her about her financial situation.
"I expected understanding, but instead she got kind of huffy with me and said, ‘Well just so you KNOW, we do this every year.’"
"She left before I really had a chance to discuss it with her further, and I sort of feel like I was being told I am expected to contribute."
Since then, the situation has got worse, with "mandatory" collections going round gifts for the other three managers, as well as a gift exchange with all the workers on Applonius’ shift.
Things then recently came to a head when her colleagues started discussing the day they wanted to exchange gifts.
"I kept quiet, until one of them called on me by name and asked if that day was good for me.
"I said, ‘Oh, it’s okay, I’m probably not going to participate." They all got quiet and the one said ‘But I already got you something.’ Another spoke up and said, ‘It’s only $10 a person.’
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"There are five others on my shift so even if we are doing £10 a person, that’s about £50 that I do not have.
"Since that happened, no one has really spoken to me."
"It’s gotten to the point where I’m dreading going to work and am having all kinds of anxiety about the holiday.
"Even though I’m planning on leaving, it’s no fun being the office pariah. How can I handle this situation with some dignity?"
The response was unanimous – stick to your guns and continue the job hunt.
It seems her colleagues have missed the whole point of gift-giving.