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Secret Santa in the workplace is meant to spread Christmas cheer and bring us closer to our colleagues. However, new survey data indicates that for many Brits it feels like an unnecessary stress, not to mention a waste of money.

We conducted a survey of 2,000 Brits to lift the lid on the nation's true feelings towards the tradition, and to discover how much money is set to be spent on UK workplace Secret Santas this year.

The research found that 2 in 5 of the workers who were quizzed confessed that they wished they didn’t have to buy their colleagues a Secret Santa gift at all.

The most reported reason for this view is feeling that it’s a waste of time and money, with 3 in 5 agreeing with the sentiment. Half of the participants reported that they don’t feel comfortable buying for colleagues that they don’t know as well, and 2 in 5 reported that they feel obliged to get involved even if they’d rather not spend the money.

Despite many Brits wishing they didn’t have to get involved, 75% of workers will still be participating this year - which equates to around 24 million Brits (Source: Statista).

On average, workers spend £10.50 per workplace Secret Santa, meaning that £255,150,000 will be spent in the UK alone on Secret Santa gifts in 2021.

Which profession is the most generous?

Science and Pharmaceutical workers are the most willing to splash the cash on a Secret Santa, spending roughly £13 per gift - 21% more than the UK average. This was closely followed by those in Sales.

On the contrary, those who spend the least are Public Service workers, spending £8.20 on average, with engineers and those in Retail not far behind.

Biggest spenders Biggest stinges
1. Science and Pharmaceutical workers 1. Public Services and Administration workers
2. Sales workers 2. Retail Staff
3. Publishers and Journalists 3. Engineers
4. Marketing, Advertising and PR workers 4. Teachers
5. IT Staff 5. Lawyers

When quizzed about their feelings towards workplace Secret Santa, Energy and Utility workers held the most disdain and wished they could avoid the tradition altogether. This was followed by Accountants, Engineers and Lawyers, many of whom would also like to swerve the festive gift giving.

However, those most keen to take part were creatives in Arts and Design, followed by Journalists and Publishers. Those working in Media or internet based professions were also fans of office based Secret Santas

Biggest Secret Santa Fans Biggest Secret Santa Scrooges
1. Creative arts and Design workers 1. Energy and Utility Workers
2. Publishers and journalists 2. Accountants
3. Media and Internet workers 3. Engineers
4. Scientists 4. Lawyers
5. Lawyers 5. Bankers

Commenting on the data, CashLady.com’s Personal Finance Expert, Paul Wilson, said:

“It’s shocking to see how much money is spent across the UK on workplace Secret Santas, particularly given the results that almost half of those who get involved wish they didn’t have to!”

“We’re all about spreading that Christmas cheer, but we think that it’s time for businesses to rethink their Secret Santa policy to alleviate workers from feeling the pressure and to save money at a time where many Brits are facing financial difficulties.”

Representative 49.9% APR

Representative Example

Amount borrowed: £1200 for 18 months
Number of repayments: 18
Interest rate p/a: 49.9% (variable)
Each repayment amount: £90.46
Total amount repayable: £1628.28

Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems.
For help, go to moneyhelper.org.uk

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