'I’d rather get something I actually want': The verdict on the rules of Kris Kringle.

There’s no brown sugar in the local Coles.

It’s not a shortage. People aren’t stocking up their pantry staples for fear of another lockdown. 

It’s Christmas and people are making gingerbread for their families. Or at least this is what I like to believe as I stand blinking back tears in the aisle. 

You see, few things get me choked up like Christmas time. Perhaps it’s growing up with the gooey movies, perhaps it’s the memories of a family gathering at the Caravan Park or perhaps I have some deep-seated trauma waiting to be dragged out by a highly paid expert, but for whatever reason, I get watery-eyed at anything remotely wholesome in December. 

Watch: Things Aussies never say at Christmas. Post continues after video. 

Video via Mamamia.

Tacky Christmas lights displays. Tears

Seeing kids’ eyes light up when they spot Santa at the Shopping Centre. Sob

Lining up at 5am on Christmas Eve for prawns - this one reaalllyyy gets me. 

I love when the shops are bursting on the final days before December 25 and the shelves are empty and people are panic buying gifts. It’s exciting.

I love spotting something in a store or market stall or second-hand shop that makes me think of a friend, relative, colleague, someone-I-once-met-at-a-party and then gifting it to them. The thing I actually like the least about Christmas is the receiving of gifts. I get a much bigger kick out of buying things for other people. I enjoy watching them open it. Forcing them to pull apart all the packaging and then fuss over where I found it. 


So imagine my horror when it was announced this year we would be doing an extended family Secret Santa.


Just one present for one person. OK, cost of living is exorbitant and I have no savings from years of overspending at Christmas due to everything mentioned above, so we pulled names from a hat and now there’s just one lonely name on my list. 

But then it got weird. 

People started sharing links to the exact gift they want. Not a hint, or a gentle suggestion. A link. 

Here are some of the requests so far:

"I have found on Marketplace a full set of Silver Cutlery Service. I have just messaged and can pick it up..." Surely this is breaking some kind of Yuletide rule. Would the receiver also wrap their own present? 

Also, this: "A bathroom set with a soap dispenser and toilet brush holder." DOES A TOILET BRUSH BRING JOY?! 

So I asked the smart, measured, worldly team in the office about Secret Santa in 2022 and we are divided. Many were quick to point out the efficiency and economic benefits of an organised gift exchange to which I say 'Bah Humbug'.

"We always do wishlists," said one of the team. "It’s not quite as fun but frankly I’d rather get something I actually want than something completely random. In fact I freak out when I don't get a wishlist from someone."

Noted. But to be clear, you would definitely want the thing that I buy for you because I am good at buying gifts. 


Listen to this episode of Fill My Cup, hosted by Allira Potter. Post continues after audio. 

"We do Bad Santa KK. Everyone brings a gender-neutral gift and you can either steal or open a fresh one. Generally, we fight over the one mum has brought and dad's gift is always left for last because he gives useless gifts." This feels like a happy medium.

"We choose a name out of a hat and set a spending limit, but everyone just asks for exactly what they want, anyway. I hate how there's no surprise in it! We could just all go buy it ourselves." <<<< THIS. 

"Our extended family does Bad Santa too but with a $10 limit, and the goal is always to find the most terrible gift possible. Usually a haunted doll from Salvos or a novelty toilet seat etc." OK, this I can definitely get behind. 

So here are my new rules for Secret Santa (that I am obviously too scared to confront my family with):

1. Set a spending limit. 

2. Each person can give a gentle suggestion e.g. something for the house. 

3. If suggesting is against your Christmas values, set a theme e.g “Something from a second-hand store.”

4. If you feel compelled to still buy gifts for people - DO IT. There are few things more fun than giving someone an unexpected gift and watching them freak out because they haven’t got you anything. Or is it just me? 

What do you do for Secret Santa? Tell us in the comments below. 

Feaure Image: Getty.

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