For Kryin’ out loud, Kris Kringle is a Kolossal Kringe
I recently started a new job and at my very first team meeting, I was informed that I would be included in my new team’s Kris Kringle for the impending enforced Christmas “celebrations”.
As you would expect, yay. Is it possible to yay in an even lower case? yay. There you go.
Now, I know that this groan-inducing ritual must happen in offices all around the world (well, except for maybe the Middle East, India and most of Asia but lets not get pedantic) at this time of year – the exchanging of unwanted, thoughtless gifts between team-members who haven’t gotten to know each other well enough over the course of the year to know what to get each other.
At least, I hope it does, because if we’re the only ones doing it, because if we’re not, can we just stop?
The announcement brought up the regular questions of “How will I know what to get the person I’m allocated?”, “Which person is Helen?” and “Who the hell are ANY of these people?” It also brought up the seemingly unrelated exchange:
“Where is Gary?”
“Did Gary leave? When did Gary leave?”
I was unable to help. (How the hell should I know? I only started on Wednesday. Actually I think I may have replaced Gary).
After all the unrelated Gary-talk died down, a team member mentioned that last year the gifts ranged from lovely food hampers and other thoughtful gifts to last-minute bottles of wine (acceptable) down to stuff that was clearly re-gifted or about as nice as something won from a carnival sideshow.
Then my Team Leader made a statement. She said perhaps people should remember that a “jokey” or “potentially offensive” gift was not the way to go. But before you say “Well, duh”, clearly this was new information to some of the people in the room. And at that, I was a bit shocked. There are clearly people in everyday work-places who need a few pointers so as not to become the The Krinch© ™ (The Kris Kringle Grinch).
The truth is that I shouldn’t be surprised at all. I was, after all, once given a jar of Vaseline and a condom as a KK gift. If I was the Team Leader I may have put it a little more bluntly by saying “Don’t screw up the Kris Kringle for someone else who may have put a bit of thought into it by giving them a shitty, offensive or supposedly funny gift”.
Kris Kringle is fraught with potential. The potential to offend, mostly, but there is also the potential to surprise. So if you’re going to join in (or maybe it’s mandatory), put a few minutes thought into it. Find out what the person might be into by looking at the things on their desk, asking their co-workers or stalking their Facebook page.
People are going to get enough thoughtless gifts from their families, they don’t need you to make it worse. Make what is usually a groan-inducing team building exercise just a little bit special for the person you are buying for. If you aren’t going to bother to think of something decent, wrap it nicely or put in the effort to make it a little bit special then just don’t participate. Please.
TIP: There is a “thoughtless, last-minute, pre-wrapped, Kris Kringle” aisle/department at some of department stores. It’s awesome! There are pre-wrapped hampers full of food with labels you’ll never have heard of and won’t hear of again until next Christmas, miscellaneous combo boxes full of mismatched food and novelty items like tins of Nana McGilvray’s Chocolate-dipped Turkish Delight and Ginger with a V8 Supercars t-shirt.
Or perhaps a twin-pack of Iced Vovo’s and a Biggest Hits of the UFC DVD. Or Chocolate Coated Pretzels, Tinned Cheese and a handy office-desk Fondue Kit. Either way, there’s something for everyone* (*everyone who has no idea what to get the person they hardly know from 3 desks over).
TIP: Giving someone a wind-up jumping penis is an excellent way to signal to HR that you would like a new job with a different company.
TIP: Give your Religiously Different co-worker the choice to participate in the KK if they wish. I’m not religious as at all and I actually really enjoy participating in the Kris Kringle but remember that if you get them in the draw, you won’t be able to give them anything Pork-related as a gift. Actually,” Nothing Pork-Related” is a pretty solid guideline for all KK gifts.
TIP: Battery powered gifts like a remote controlled helicopter can be great fun. Battery powered gifts in the shapes of dicks are not acceptable. They most likely won’t fit within the $20 budget.
TIP: Anything made by “Doctor Luv” is out. He isn’t even a real doctor! He’s just a dentist. Anything that has the words “cooling and mildly tingly”, “back door” or “Petroleum-based” written on the packaging is OUT. If your recipient is some kind of mechanic, then and only then is a lubricant suitable as a KK gift but its name should be a mixture of letters and numbers such as WD40 or RP7.
TIP: Don’t give a gift to someone else that you wouldn’t be OK with either giving to your mum or receiving yourself. So that means Marzipan is out. Seriously, who even invented Marzipan? Was there a competition run to find the worst possible use for Almond Meal and Sugar? Was there a worldwide shortage of shit stuff on at the time? Because Marzipan has cured that forever.
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