Millennials want to 'stop Secret Santa' because of financial burden

The cost of office 'whip-rounds' can build up. [Photo: Getty]
The cost of office 'whip-rounds' can build up. [Photo: Getty]

Secret Santa is not in favour with millennials this year, according to a new report.

Office gifting - as well as other workplace whip-rounds - are becoming a burden for millennials who feel “pressured to contribute” and end up having to dip into their savings or go into debt as a result.

When you work in a big office, it can feel as though there’s always another birthday, retirement or leaving party to contribute to.

The research by Jobsite found that three quarters (73%) of millennials regularly contributed to things like Secret Santa even though they can’t afford it.

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It’s easy to see how there’s an expectation to contribute to this type of activity, particularly if other co-workers are readily getting involved.

This pressure has left 26% of younger workers dipping into their savings - or even going into their overdrafts in order to maintain the office status quo.

The report found that we dip into our own pot of money 15 times a year for birthdays, engagements and Secret Santas, with birthdays parting us with our hard-earned cash most frequently.

People give money towards birthday presents an average of five times per year.

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£5 here and £10 there might not seem a lot over the course of the year, but people will spend an average of £99 per year on their co-workers.

That’s a rather extravagant total of £4,667 over the course of our careers.

Let’s face it, nobody wants to miss out on a trip to the Maldives because they were adding too many contributions to Keith’s birthday fund.

Millennials may have reason to feel a little put out, too. After all, it turns out - according to the research - that they spend 34% more on these types of office whip-rounds than other generations.

This extra cost works out to leave millennials £151 per year out of pocket, the equivalent of £7,111 across their whole careers.

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You don’t have to get involved, though. At least, that’s what psychotherapist and life coach, Christine Elvin, thinks: “Christmas especially can be a really expensive time of year and my biggest piece of advice would be for young people - in fact, all people - not to feel pressured to say yes.”

“It’s worth being honest if you can’t afford to get involved. It’s likely other people feel the same way but aren’t comfortable telling the truth. If the situation allows, honesty is the best policy.”

The people arranging Secret Santa and other whip-rounds could look at changing their approach, too, to ease the pressure from people not wanting to get involved.

“By making Secret Santa opt-in only, it stops people from feeling as though they have to give money when somebody appears at their desk holding an envelope full of cash. Being sensitive of everybody’s individual situations will make for a much happier work environment.”

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