Every year, offices around the country engage in Secret Santa gift exchanges. While these can be fun, they can also end in confusion, stress, and, more often than not, disappointment.
Stories of Secret Santa exchanges gone awry go viral around this time every year. Last year, a school counselor virally recounted how her Secret Santa gift was regifted right in front of her. Earlier this month, another Internet user joked about what gifts one can give a co-worker they don’t like.
Now, another Internet user’s Secret Santa story has gone viral and sparked discussion in the process. In a video with over 2.3 million views, TikTok user Angela (@iso_angela) says that her office participated in a Secret Santa exchange with a $40 budget. The preparations for this Secret Santa celebration were pretty involved; each person had to fill out a questionnaire about their favorite things, which items they did not need, and more.
The group decided to share their gifts at a staff holiday dinner. When Angela arrived, she was seated next to her boss, who told her that she was Angela’s Secret Santa. Her boss then handed her a bag. Inside was a single “beaded phone wristlet.”
“I was appreciative of the gift, and I think [because] we had a $40 budget…I was expecting at least one more gift, but I was still appreciative,” Angela says in the video. The current price for the same bracelet on Amazon is around $24.
Angela says she thanked her boss for the gift and then went home.
However, her boss wasn’t mentally done with the Secret Santa exchange. The next day, a Saturday, Angela’s boss texted her and said, “If you’re not happy with your gift, I can exchange it.”
Angela responded that she’s content with any gift, but if she feels the need to exchange it, she can do so with a Target gift card. The boss responded that she could not do that, but could instead offer a Verizon gift card or a “magnetic business card holder.”
Angela simply ignored this message. Then, the following day, Angela’s boss texted again, this time saying that she could swap the bracelet for some earrings. Angela again said that she was fine with her gift. Her boss then asked if she was sure, to which she did not respond.
Angela’s boss then called her. Angela did not answer, as it was a Sunday.
“You guys, when I go to work tomorrow, I don’t want to be asked about this gift,” Angela says in her video. “I don’t want to talk about this gift. I don’t want my boss to bother me about it. I just don’t know what to do.”
Angela has since removed the video from TikTok.
In a follow-up video, which has also been removed, Angela reiterated that she was thankful for the gift and that she genuinely does not mind regifting.
“I don’t plan on giving it back. I don’t plan on taking this further,” Angela says. That noted, she states that she is unsure if she will participate in the Secret Santa exchange again the following year.
In the comments section, users shared their thoughts on Angela’s Secret Santa experience.
“Sounds like it was a free gift from Verizon,” said a user.
“Rule #1 BOSSES ARE NOT INCLUDED IN SECRET SANTA,” added another.
“Here’s the thing with Secret Santa, if you’ve got a budget set, I am going to spend until I hit that budget.. so I expect that everyone does the same!” declared a third.
The Daily Dot reached out to Angela via TikTok direct message.