Secret Santa Help!

Hi there,

This doesn't require the specific advice of  HR professionals - however I thought I would try and get some aid anyway with Xmas fast approaching!

I have been working in my new role within an HR department for the last 2 months, so have got to know my current colleagues fairly well. However, the Assistant Director of HR has been on maternity leave, and is officially back working in the office next week.

So far I have only met her twice (two KIT days); both occasions were extremely brief and definitely not long enough to get a grasp of any sort of interests/desires.

Following this, knowing my luck , I drew her in this year's Secret Santa!

Having pondered on what to get her (£10 limit), I thought I could go down the route of getting her a very 'one size fits all' gift that any lady would most likely be pleased with - however I also had the thought of possibly getting something Christmassy for her new child, e.g. Christmas bib? Christmas decoration to put a photo in? Just to make the gift a little more personal.

My question is this:

In a similar scenario, where you need to buy a £10 gift for somebody you hardly know and who has just come back from maternity - what route would you take? Please do bear in mind that 'waiting for her to come back to try and speak with her further' is not an option!

Any thoughts are appreciated - it's not a serious post, just an inquisitive one!

Many thanks



  • I believe that can be filed under s*d's law...

    Funky mug and some chocolate? (decent, Hotel Chocolat or some such)?

  • Steph

    | 293 Posts

    Chartered Member

    9 Dec, 2014 11:56

    Poor you James!  I'd probably second Michelle's suggestion of some nice Christmas chocolates as I don't think you can go wrong with that.  Although I wonder if you could get something like a nice photo frame so that she can have a picture of her baby on her desk?

    Good luck! 

  • Keith

    | 10323 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    9 Dec, 2014 12:12

    Would avoid the baby stuff and go safe with chocolate

    Anyway its secret so cant come back to haunt you :-)

  • Julie

    | 1954 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    9 Dec, 2014 12:12

    Hi James

    I would avoid the "something for the baby" as, apart from the fact that she may have already been inundated with similar gifts since the birth, work is about her as a person not as a Mum.  I would go for quality rather than quantity with chocolate or maybe a Clarins voucher so she can choose hand cream.  The main thing is don't worry too much because she won't know it is from you anyway *grin*

  • Gail

    | 52 Posts

    Chartered Member

    9 Dec, 2014 12:24

    Hi there, what luck!

    As you say you do not really know this lady very well and she is coming back to work soon, so how about some really nice stationery to use when she is back?  Good pen or a quality notebook?  I agree with the above posts about the baby stuff, but you never know chocolate may be a no-no too!!

    But, as everyone has said, its secret so dont worry too much!

    Have fun, Happy Christmas

  • Hi James, I'm with Julie, I would sort out a voucher or gift card where the employee can choose something SHE wants.  Plus as already stated there is the secretive element so don't lose sleep on it.   :-)
  • Keith

    | 10323 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    9 Dec, 2014 12:26

    Personally I HATE getting vouchers or cash as presents - for me it shows no thought whatsoever. (Its a personal bug bear) Secret Santa is surely about getting a gift :-)

    Dont over think it

  • Steph

    | 293 Posts

    Chartered Member

    9 Dec, 2014 13:16

    Funnily enough Keith I love getting vouchers and being able to do guilt free shopping... but I hate to give them to other people because it looks like you've made no effort!


  • Steve Bridger

    | 7170 Posts

    Community Manager

    9 Dec, 2014 13:29

    Keith - the socks are in the post ;)

    Steph - *exactly*

  • Rosemarie

    | 594 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    9 Dec, 2014 14:23

    If you have a Lush shop nearby (not a place that many boys visit and my other half just stays outside when I go in because he thinks it's far too girly).  Bath bombs!  They'll even wrap them for you if say it's a gift.
  • Hi

    Having had a similar situation, I got a Burts Bee's gift set comprising of lip balm and hand cream in M&S for £10.  It went down well as it was something for her and not the baby whom everyone had been buying for.

  • Sally Elizabeth

    | 198 Posts

    Chartered Member

    9 Dec, 2014 16:31

    James, I would suggest going to Next and buying a scented candle.  There are some nice ones in Christmassy and non-Christmassy scents and if she doesn't like it she can, ahem, recycle it as a gift for someone else.  Chocs are nice but she might be on a diet (just had a baby...) or have an allergy (see my other posts!) 

    Sorry about the bold - I can't seem to get rid of it above! 


  • Lesley

    | 393 Posts

    Chartered Member

    10 Dec, 2014 11:41

    hehe - just shows what a minefield gift buying can be. 

    As others have mentioned, I'd avoid baby stuff in a work situation - here she's a professional first, mum second. 

    Sally mentioned avoiding chocolates due to risk of dieting or allergies and I'd also add to that that I hate getting smellies (bath bombs etc) because I have extremely sensitive skin and can't use most of them without coming out in a rash.

    Gail's suggestion of stationery would always go down well with me though - have a bit of a paperchase obsession.

    Mugs are nice ideas too if they drink hot drinks - a friend got a funky patterned insulated coffee cup for secret santa last year with some posh tea bags which she was really happy with. Have you noticed her drinking tea or coffee on her KIT day?She may need a bit of caffeine to get through her first few weeks back at work!!

  • Should also say, if you did go down the Hotel Chocolat route, don't get the boozy ones - each teeny choccie has a concentrated shot of alcohol in which means they taste amazing but do get some people tiddly....!
  • Linda

    | 253 Posts

    Chartered Member

    11 Dec, 2014 14:32

    Personally, I'd go for a photo frame as she can put a photo of her child in it, so it reflects what little you know about her.  But it's not a present for her child.

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