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Scrap stale Secret Santa gifts and do some good this holiday


What do an oversized Canucks mug, a spruce scented candle and a miniature Zen rock garden have in common? 

They are all Secret Santa gifts you likely have or will one day receive at your workplace. 

The dreaded Secret Santa pool is as inevitable as overindulging on holiday treats—if you work in an office it’s a holiday tradition you can pretty much count on each year. And if you’re like most people, you probably don’t need another oversized mug.

The spirit behind the Secret Santa tradition is admirable. Members of a group are randomly assigned a person to whom they anonymously give a gift. In Germany, Switzerland and Austria this tradition is called Wichteln or Engerl und Bengerl. In Portuguese and Spain it is Amigo Secreto or Amigo Invisiblé.

A great thing about the Secret Santa tradition is that it offers a way for people to give and receive a gift at low cost, since the alternative would be buying a gift for each person, but the execution isn’t always there – Google search “worst Secret Santa gifts” and you get some hilarious (though unfortunate) results.

So why not do something different this year? 

Take the $5 or $10 you would normally spend on a calendar or coffee card for your co-worker and make a tribute gift in their name. A donation to women and children in need will go a lot further than that pack of stationery you had planned. 

Better yet, chat with your co-workers before drawing names and agree as a team to donate to your favourite charity.

Here’s what the YWCA can do with $10:

  • Provide emergency holiday food vouchers for single moms and children in need
  • Purchase art supplies for low-income children living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside
  • Purchase food to cook healthy holiday meals for families living in poverty

And there’s more, if you make a tribute gift in the name of a friend or co-worker, we’ll send them this beautiful hand-painted card by local artist Jazmin Sasky, on your behalf.


So what are you waiting for? Scrap the oversized Canucks mug and make this holiday brighter for a family in need!

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