the secret santa mystery solved

Yesterday before I left work, I talked to the woman who organizes the Secret Santa thing every year.  Let’s call her Mrs. Claus.  Mrs. Claus was appalled when she heard what I had received.  She looked up who my Secret Santa was, without telling me the name, and asked if I’d like her to talk to SS.  I said I would, and we agreed she would just say something like “Mrs. X. is puzzled about why she received kids meal toys.”

This morning I checked in with Mrs. Claus, and she was riled up.  My SS had been really defensive and hostile, and Mrs. Claus said she now has an enemy for life.  I apologized for that, but she said she wouldn’t want to be friends with this person, anyway.  Apparently my SS was told by our school social worker that this was a White Elephant kind of thing.  The social worker is wrong about that.  Actually, the social worker was Mrs. Claus’s SS last year, and gave her a bunch of useless crap.

It’s a little weird that someone would read the directions and the survey (buy things that the person wants, read their survey carefully to find out about hobbies, favorite foods, spend $2-5 each day and then $15-20 the last day) and think that this was a White Elephant thing.  My SS was angry with Mrs. Claus and said she wasn’t even going to come to the before-work party today, which is when the big gifts are given and the SS’s are revealed.

And she didn’t.  However, she did leave me a gift, and it had Ghirardelli chocolates, an iTunes gift card, and an Amazon gift card in it, valued at more than $25.  I don’t know if she did that at the last minute, or if she was planning it all along.

The whole thing is soooo awkward.  I did the best I could, which was to write her a glowing thank you card for the lovely presents, and I left it in her mailbox.  (Meanwhile, Mrs. Claus got a bag with a bunch of dollar store junk, and stuff that clearly was unwanted, regifted stuff from someone’s basement, and she is ready to quit the whole thing.  We may be done with Secret Santa at our school!)

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7 thoughts on “the secret santa mystery solved

  1. A few years ago we abandoned the Staff Secret Santa and did an angel tree in our lounge. We put on it students from our school who s family needed help for the holidays. I have enjoyed buying clothes and toys for the angels much more then I ever did getting a mug, pens, gum, and a gift card! Maybe something to think about.

  2. I was really wondering what SS’s deal was. Sounds like an honest (if improbable) mistake, and s/he felt really bad and tried to make up for it at the end.

    I like Luanne’s idea of switching to an Angel Tree next year. Secret Santa rarely works out well for everyone, in my experience!

    Merry Christmas! Enjoy your break! 🙂

  3. If you keep the amount of money small, no one cares that much if they don’t get something good.

    Luanne, I am interested in how your angel tree works. How are families chosen? And does someone deliver the things to their house privately? Do the kids know the things are from the teachers or just from “kind people who want to help”? I really like the idea but I would be concerned that some children getting toys etc from school and some not might cause ill-feeling among them, so I’m keen to know how you manage this.

  4. One school I work with has the principal deliver everything so the teachers are not seen as gift givers to certain families or kids. Another school has a school counselor who is the only contact between the helper/receiver. The teachers or helpers (MANY PTO parents help too.

    • Mrs. Claus and I talked about it at the party one of our staffers had on Friday night. (She had a glass of red wine in her hand; I had a margarita in mine.) She really wants to do something nice for staff, so her idea is that everybody pays a set amount, and we rent a banquet room for a staff party. She wants to do door prizes of nice gift cards, and I told her it’s possible we could get businesses in the area to donate some of them; we work in a cool part of the city with lots of restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores, clothing stores, salons, and movie theatres.

      But Deb’s ideas on how to do Luanne’s idea are very good, too.

  5. I bet if you started in Oct, you could easily do both the Angel Tree and a luncheon for your folks. I know that a baked potato bar is relatively inexpensive for a staff luncheon.

  6. I am just getting back here– this is how it works at our school. Right before Thanksgiving the teachers give names and info of students to the secretary. She makes angels with the grade, gender, clothing size, and interests of selected students. My principal calls the families to make sure they want to recieve gifts and what the greatest needs are. The teachers and staff choose the angels off of a tree in the lounge. There is a set date everything is due back. The gifts are wrapped by the person giving the gifts- and the parents are called to pick up the gifts. From there it is up to the parents- the gifts do not have a “from” just “to” so the kids don’t know who was behind the gifts and they are usually picked up without the child being aware-This year we had about 8 families with a total of about 15 kids. We have about 540 kids at my school but it is a magnet school with a mostly middle class average. We generally choose students that we know will not really have a Christmas.

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