The festive season is supposed to be the happiest time of the year – It’s the time to be spent with friends and family, and a time for giving… Not a time for anxiety.
Well, apparently the festive period is more stressful than we have been believing, and it’s all because of Secret Santa.
Keep scrolling to read about the full results of the study, and to hear what a psychology professor has had to say about the full thing. There are actually a few pretty surprising reasons that millennials are calling for an end to the festive tradition…
The concept of Secret Santa usually involves a group of people – work colleagues or friends – putting their names into a hat, and picking one out at random.
Once you’ve picked a name from the hat, you then have to buy that certain person a gift, all while never disclosing who got who which present.
In order to make it easier to shop for someone who you would never usually shop for, obviously.
So people don’t go too mad with the spending, a price budget of between $15-$20 per present is usually given to the Secret Santas.
Secret Santa has long been the favorite Christmas activity amongst friend groups and workplaces and is a fun way of making sure everyone gets a present.
Yes, there’s a but.
Some people are claiming to find the whole thing rather stressful, and even anxiety-inducing, in some instances.
And it found that some millennials – Yes, of course, it’s millennials – have been suffering from anxiety as a result of their workplace Secret Santa.
The study, which was commissioned by the British job-hunting website, Jobsite, found that younger workers are often spending more than they can afford on presents for their colleagues.
Some millennials have reported that they feel judged on how much they spend on their gifts, and resort to spending what they can’t afford to not come across as “stingy”.
The report found that twenty-six percent of young workers find themselves dipping into their savings or their overdrafts to contribute to the gift exchange, while the average millennial’s whip-round is thirty-four percent more expensive.
And just under a quarter of employees aged between twenty-three to thirty-eight said that they felt angry at the person who organized the Secret Santa for not considering their financial situation.
The study also reported that 1 in 5 workers believe that both birthday and Secret Santa presents should not be celebrated at all in the workplace, as a means of diffusing the financial anxiety.
A further thirty-five percent of millennials reported that they would like to see the tradition of Secret Santa completely banned in the workplace.
Dr. Ashley Weinberg of the University of Salford has suggested that businesses could ease their employee’s anxiety by bringing in spending limits.
An immense amount of pressure will be lifted from the younger employees. “I think there’s the potential for the whole range of human emotions, right from humiliation when you give someone a gift,” he explained. “It’s important to us how others feel about our behavior and how it comes across.”
Because people don’t discuss financial issues enough.
“This survey has been a really good way of lifting the lid on something we don’t feel comfortable talking about,” said Dr. Weinburg.
“Nobody wants to appear anti-social in any way, shape or form,” Weinburg explained.
“The spirit of giving – especially at a seasonal time of exchanging gifts via ‘Secret Santa’ – is something we’d hope can be expressed in many ways and it’s worth remembering that where this involves financial contributions, not all colleagues have the same disposable income.”
“Our suggestion is that workplaces operate a not-so ‘Secret Mantra’ to share good cheer and avoid any stinginess of spirit, by removing expectations and pressure on colleagues to give or conform to high amounts, when they may not be so easy.”
“I think organizations can play a role in just saying look, here are some healthy parameters, don’t feel you have to be giving X amount – maybe you don’t have to give at all.” He explained. “I think that signal from high up in the organization could be really quite powerful to just take the pressure off.”
Or, if you just enjoy giving and receiving gifts, you can just play Secret Santa. It’s a tremendous amount of fun… And that’s coming from a millennial!
Keep reading for the reasons that Santa has been banned from saying certain things to the kids he meets. Some on the list may surprise you…