The holiday season in the workplace is a lot of fun if you work at it. This is a time of year usually when the boss is a little less demanding, customers a little nicer and the atmosphere around an office seems a lot less stressful. Less stress means more fun and observing this wonderful season of giving with some of the people you spend a great deal of time with, your coworkers. When evaluating ideas for gift exchanges, Secret Santa is a historical favorite.

This particular celebration is a nice way to show you care about the persons you work with every day. A personal touch with a professional aspect is nice. The festivity is possible with little or no disruption to the working atmosphere and fairly inexpensive.

Secret Santa should be voluntary participation only. Etiquette or a doctrine at work which states everyone will or must take part is bad in a number of ways. Involvement by any employee is designed with an option to opt in or out of the holiday plan of action. This is an idea that should garner camaraderie and a connection to one another and not resentment.  Make everyone feel a nice level of comfort with voluntary only participation.

Non participation by an employee is generally for different reasons. Certain workers are not able to afford the cost of participation, no matter how small. A few will not be able to invest the time it takes for contributing to a successful outcome. Generally there are other obligations for friends and family during this same time making it difficult to carry out everything you want to do, including workplace fun.

What may seem like fun to one may seem like work to others. There is always a couple in any group of employees that simply would rather not mix their professional life with a personal aspect. Whatever the reason anyone has for non-participation should be kept private.

Decide on a cost for the entire project. Several options include going for one theme during a five day span of giving. Have four small trinkets left for Monday through Thursday and one larger one on Friday. Another alternative is simply exchanging one gift on a given day for a specified dollar limit. The group has another choice of simply spreading an even dollar amount for a presents for each one of the five days.

A potluck is a great idea to combine with an exchange or simply a lunch outside of the office for a big single gift swap day. Do not exceed one work week. Remember, sticking to a reasonable budget also means limiting the time spent on the project. The last day will be when the mystery is revealed for who was each employees mystery giver. A fun way to discover this secret is to have everyone take a guess before the reveal.

Go for uniformity with anything by having a vote among participants for the rules of the game. Ask for opinions from members. Surprisingly some of the best notions come from contributors.

Whichever concept wins the highest votes among the group, go with it. Majority will rule for the dollar and day limitation. Generally between ten or twenty dollars for everything combined is ideal.

Arrange a short meeting. Put the names for the exchange in a hat and pull them out one at a time. Give the names out in silence to keep the mystery.

Workers will give a small list as a “wish list” of ten items. These are things personally liked or enjoyed. Characteristically it will contain items such as; candles, flowers, candy or other small treats. These are included when submitting names for the drawing to offer the giver some notions or themes for what to give.

Other thoughts are found with simple observations. If you notice an employee collects frogs or turtles, a small figurine or sculpture of the same theme would be wonderful. Maybe they enjoy cappuccino or espresso. Bring in a delicacy such as macchiato and bagel for a breakfast delight. If they enjoy soda pop, bring them a six-pack with a bow. These are terrific personal items that may not seem like much, but are a pleasure for many.

Leave your present for the picked participant before or after work. During breaks and lunch are great times to “sneak” one to your elected participating partner. Have another coworker make a delivery for you to keep your secret. These are generally small items and easy to hide and will only take a minute or two to leave on a desk or workspace.

Nearly all persons involved discover this is a wonderful diversion from work and a way to say you enjoy working with others. This is truly appreciated and a terrific entertainment for everyone involved. Additionally, coworkers will many times get to know one another a little better with the experience.

Do not forget to make the entire process stress free and fun. Lend a hand to anyone that seems to struggle with what to get their chosen Secret Santa. The more enjoyment everyone seems to have with the entire ordeal, the more coworkers that shied away this year will join the next time if the outcome is a success.