Whoever first thought of Secret Santa clearly never thought of the complications.
On the surface, it’s a simple idea – one present to buy instead of 10, which means no traipsing around the shops for hours on end and, better still, you don’t have to start saving at the end of December for next year’s presents.
But it’s fraught with danger. With just one present to give, you’ve got to get it right.
I’ve had some random offerings over the years. Some have been wonderfully fantastic; I still treasure the salt and pepper pots in the shape of Father Christmas’s boots. That year, I found out who my Secret Santa was, and I think of her every Christmas Day when I sit down to dinner.
Other years have been less successful. I’m far too polite to name them, of course, and I’ve loved – and been very grateful – for all my gifts, but sometimes wondered quite where the inspiration came from.
You can always go for the lucky dip option, but that can be even more random. At an annual night out with a group of girl friends, I’ve ended up with some glass tree baubles (good), bubble bath and body lotion (also good), and a pair of knickers made out of sweets (ok, they were a good laugh).
For our work do this year, I knew the person I bought for pretty well, and her face lit up when she unwrapped her pressie. But there’s always that panic that I might have got it wrong. And worse still, what if they really don’t like it and find out it was from me?
My Secret Santa clearly knew me. A large chocolate Mr Claus (whether that lasts until December 25 remains to be seen) and a keyring with a sparkly red ruby slipper and diamante heel – a nod to my love of The Wizard of Oz.
Now I wonder if the real Santa has bought me a real pair?