I still remember rushing through three different stores, in one of the poshest malls of Delhi, trying to find a gift that both fit our Secret Santa budget, and was ‘good enough’ for my colleagues on the eve of Christmas, last to last year. Fun fact: I don’t even remember what I bought and who my Secret Santa or ‘Santee’ was!
I remember frantically checking my bank account to see how much money I had left to buy the gift though. The other things I remember? Feeling anxious about how I’d cope for the next six days of the year, till the next pay cheque came in through.
Buying gifts for anyone can be stressful. But being peer-pressured into buying gifts for someone you moderately tolerate or detest is a whole new level of hell. Secret Santa, a modern day abomination is a popularly celebrated ‘tradition’ thanks to globalisation, corporatisation, and *insert some other big -isation word here*. One more reason in our long list of reasons that gives us anxiety while ensuring we also die broke.
The world, and her cousin, loves to joke about how millennials are all pampered little snowflakes. But has anyone stopped to consider that some of us might have legit reasons to complain? Secret Santa is one of those reasons.
Now, now… I know what some of you are thinking. Here we go again; another millennial complaining about one more innocuous thing and proving our point about millennials being simply obnoxious. But, as someone who has been doing this for four years in a row now, let me tell you I am not the only one who hates doing the Secret Santa. Yeah, getting thoughtful gifts on Christmas – or just about any other time of the year – is actually a ludicrously nice feeling, but hyperventilating about going broke is not. And not an iota of thought is put into most of the socks you get from your Secret Santa unless it was from a person who actually likes you. The chances of that are slimmer than the chances of Kolkata turning into London as a certain Didi had promised a few years ago.
Christmas is that time of the year when all I want to indulge in are plum cakes, nolen gurer roshogollas, and copious amounts of hot chocolate laced with brandy and rum. But how does one do that when they also have to worry about buying presents for colleagues one doesn’t like? Because let’s face it, most of us aren’t lucky enough to get our work BFFs as our Secret Santa/Santees.
I was relieved to know that this year, I won’t have to put myself through the whole hoopla. A day before Christmas, it was just HR distributing toffees at work, like we were back in school on Children’s Day. And all was fine in this world, till I remembered, with a thud in my heart that I had forgotten to get a gift for my best friend, who was coming from out of town to meet me.
The Secret Santa at work might have given me a break this year, but hadn’t really stepped out of my life in its entirety. As I stood in every aisle of Bath & Body Works in yet another posh mall of South Delhi this year, I realised I was too poor to actually buy anything from there. So instead, I took a deep breath, inhaled the candy scent wafting through the store, and texted my best friend that this year, my company shall be the only gift she gets. She was more than okay with it, so there you go.