Secret Scrooge

ScroogeA coworker came by my office today, held up a little cup, and told me to draw a name. When I asked why, she explained it was for my Secret Santa. I said I’d be glad to contribute some money but didn’t think I wanted to have a Secret Santa. Too late, she explained.

“I sent an email around yesterday and it clearly said to contact me by 5 p.m. (yesterday) if you didn’t want to take part in Secret Santa.”

Seems the Secret Santa program is opt-out only.

“I got a couple of hundred emails yesterday,” I explaind. “If one of them had ‘Secret Santa’ for the subject line, I probably didn’t open it. Can’t I just give you some money?”

“No. Someone already has your name and if you don’t participate, I’ll have to go back to them and have them pick another name,” she explained.

“Uh, what’s involved in being a Secret Santa?” I asked.

“You buy a small ($5.00 limit) gift for your Secret Santa pal each week for the next four weeks,” she replied.

Right. I gave my wife a check for our 28th wedding anniversary. I won’t be searching the mall for a clever gift for a coworker. I came off sounding like an asshole that didn’t want to join in the holiday fun and my coworker huffed out.

While it’s too late to be Jimmy Stewart, maybe I can offer some alternatives to Secret Santa. You could buy a card for the person in the next cube. Or bring in some fudge to share. Remember, it dosn’t matter if they get you a card or some fudge, it’s the giving that counts. But that’s no fun and there’s no…mystery. So how about this: Secret Scrooge.

The SS is chosen by lot. Nobody knows his or her identity. Early in the morning (before anyone else is at the office) on the last work day before Christmas, the Secret Scrooge leaves a sealed note on the desk of coworker, informing him or her that they have to work Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day. They don’t have to do anything, they just have to be at their desk. And — here’s the fun part– they spend that time trying to guess the identity of the Secret Scrooge. Can we count you in? It’ll be fun.

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