My Secret Santa is an unforgivable failure

GateHouse — So I’m in a Secret Santa thing here in the office, and like so many things about Christmas, it’s making me reach for the wine bottle well before my usual 10 a.m. start time, because I have now received no gift from my Secret Santa for the SECOND CONSECUTIVE DAY. This keeps up, I’m gonna start throwing elves.

Let me back up: No, I don’t hate Christmas, except the shopping and parking and most of the music and the way it makes me engage in the near-impossible task of actually absorbing more debt into my increasingly hilarious floral arrangement of credit cards (somewhere in Visa Fortress, I’m fairly well convinced that a group of doughy shareholders does the “Beat It” dance every time they see my name).

And yes, I know it’s better to give that receive, thank you very much, hippie Democrats, Charlie Brown and the nagging voice in my head that keeps me awake every single night.


Granville Williams – Santa Claus Is Skaing To Town.mp3


But there’s something elementally disconcerting about signing up for a task in which the only required task is the giving of a daily present, and then realizing that one of your colleagues didn’t quite process the assignment, thus turning you into the kid at camp who sits forlornly at the side table while everyone else opens thoughtful letters and fresh-baked cookies from their moms.
Not purchasing your Secret Santa a present is like shoving a wagon full of newborn koala bears off of a cliff, only much, much worse. What else is expected in a weeklong activity with the word “Santa” in the title? It’s not like the activity is named “Secret Pete” or “Project Y” or “Farquaard Diddlypuffs.” It’s Secret Santa! And I am a simple man! Steal a few sugar packets and a stirrer from the breakroom, and I WILL SEND A SINCERE HANDWRITTEN THANK YOU.
I must confess that I’m new to the Secret Santa thing — this is my first one ever, thanks in large part to my extreme unpopularity — so I agreed to participate because:
  1. I thought it would lend me a little sprightly sprig of holiday spirit.
  2. I thought I might get some coffee out of the deal.


But I signed up partly because I figured it wouldn’t eat up too much of my day, so imagine my considerable befuddlement when I learned that I was responsible for identifying and purchasing an item every day for like a week! You think I can really snag seven days’ worth of gifts out of the breakroom vending machine? Listen, I’m not the world’s most thoughtful or creative guy, but there is only so much holiday cheer you can spread via Juicy Fruit and Sun Chips (incidentally, do NOT consume those two things at the same time — quite the blubbery mess).
But it’s not like you can just jam Christmas down people’s throats, unless you’re Fox News, so what can I do? I’ll just resort to getting my own stirrers and sugar packets this week. Oh, and I also have to get something for my Secret Santa person, which I’ve totally forgotten about.

About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

7 responses to “My Secret Santa is an unforgivable failure

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