With the countdown to Christmas fast approaching, many offices are in full swing for the festive season.  Kris Kringle AKA Secret Santa is generally a workplace favourite.

I think we have all experienced it personally or at least been witness to the big unwrapping of the gift only to find it inappropriate.  While it is usually hilarious or may leave your cheeks blushing with a rosy glow, we really need to take time to consider what are appropriate KK gifts in the workplace.  The last thing you want is to be called into your Manager’s office with HR waiting to discuss the nudie pen you bought Gerald for KK.

Here are HR Gurus top tips on what and what not to buy for your Kris Kringle:


  • Scented Candle, this a generally a safe bet especially if you do not know they person well.
  • Chocolates or sweets. As above generally a safe bet and can be shared with friends.
  • Stationery, most people like nice notebooks and pens.
  • Mug, just keep it G rated. No X-rated or offensive slogans.  Definitely no mugs where the person’s clothes disappear once the liquid is in.
  • Pot plant – always a good gift, all you need to do is remember to water it.


  • Anything sexual including personal massagers, condoms, or edible undies. This can be really awkward. While you may giggle at the thought of Marjory wearing edible undies she may feel different about the situation and may take offence. Hello sexual harassment claim.
  • Anything with a religious symbol such as a buddha statue etc as you never know who you will offend based on their own religious beliefs.
  • If you don’t know the person well, I would avoid alcohol. I once witnessed an employee receive a lovely bottle of bubbles.  When opened her face dropped and she burst into tears.  Turns out her son had an alcohol addiction and had been placed in rehab a few months earlier.
  • Basically, anything that may offend the receiver or anyone witnessing the receiving. Our top tip is if you are unsure, it’s a NO.

Now that you know how to play it safe and avoid any awkward meetings with your Manager and HR go enjoy the egg nog, candy canes, gift giving and festivities over the next few weeks.

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