Deck those artificially-lit halls, guys. It’s Christmas. You’ve been roped into your office Kris Kringle, and for better or worse, you’re going to have to enter this dreadful charade with a big fat smile on your face.
To preface this article, it needs to be said that if your office Kris Kringle is over $30 then you should leave now and go to your nearest employment agency. You’re going to need a second income to support your boss’ indulgent bourgeois lifestyle. I cannot help you.
But if your office manager is a sensitive type who understands that you would rather wash the dishes with your brand new silk shirt than spend all your earnings on the people who fill you with a quiet rage, then read on, friends!
Sometimes the act of Kris Kringle is just part and parcel of office culture. So here’s a gift guide to your five most common office characters. May you never give – or receive – another bath bomb again…
The Ladder Climber
It’s a sad fact that there are people in this world who would stomp all over your dead body just to get where they’re going. There are also the subtle climbers who use your body as a kind of fleshy hoist to sneakily rise above you.
Hopefully you don’t deal with either of these people, but if you do, don’t fear. You’ve got options.
The strategy to deploy against Ladder Climber is pure, unadulterated kindness. Go as luxe as your budget will allow. A beautiful candle or a range of calming herbal teas might help them chill the F out. Or if they’re more of the jock type, that Cards Against Humanity game will have them eating out of the palm of your hand.
Either way, buy them something so amazing that they never want to use you as a human ladder ever again.
Many people might consider drawing your boss in the office Kris Kringle the short straw, but they’re just not thinking strategically.
Look at it this way: you have an opportunity to completely switch the power structure in this relationship. Do not hold back from being as creative and insightful as possible. The world is now yours.
Try a fancy hand cream for your boss’ callous soul. A nice 2017 diary is a good reminder for him/her not to get inappropriately drunk at the Christmas party, lest they spend the next 365 days in a regret spiral. Nobody wants to subjected to that. Or at the very least buy them a nice, boring indoor plant. Because who the hell cares anyway.
The Control Freak
We all know this person. They eat the same lunch at the same time. Every. Single. Day. They love being on time, creating Google spreadsheets, and rearranging the snack cupboard.
Their penchant for timeliness makes them a good candidate for a nice Scandinavian-style table clock. Segmented Tupperware will lend itself to a Japanese level of tidiness that Control Freak will just love.
Or go all out and buy them a desk planner with matching notepad. There’s never been an easier time of year to get this person on side.
The Office Clown
Before I start, you need to ask yourself this: are you the clown in your office hierarchy? If you just had a mini revelation, you’re welcome. If you didn’t, chances are you’re not the office clown – well done. You’re free to get as crass and offensive as your imagination will allow, because, let’s face it, the Office Clown draw is the holy grail of Kris Kringles.
You can go the novelty route by channelling David Brent’s idea of a good hens do. Or perhaps your office clown has a thing for Big Mac sauce? $30 will get you 75 containers of the stuff. Or shatter their comedic façade and get them two custom-printed mugs with a festive portrait of their kids printed on each.
The Work Friend
You’ve been blessed enough by drawing this one, that it’s tempting to offer no suggestions at all.
But seriously, even if you’re not life friends, getting your work friend as your Kris Kringle is a small Christmas miracle – you should be panting several sighs of relief.
You sort-of know this person, therefore you should know where they get their nails done and can promptly buy them a mani/pedi voucher. Boom. Or perhaps you know they are going for a ’70s look at the moment, so you can sort it out with a pair of hoop earrings. Done. Or maybe you are privy to the knowledge that he’s a festive socks type of guy? You’re basically shoeing this whole thing in.
Illustration by Twylamae.