millennials ban Secret Santa

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Millennials Want to Ban ‘Secret Santa’ Because It’s ‘Unfair’ and Stressful

A large majority of millennial office workers think “Secret Santa” is too stressful, according to a new study by a British job-hunting website.

Jobsite found that 73 percent of employees aged 23-38 have experienced financial strain from the traditional Christmas gift exchange or other obligations at the office. Twenty-three percent of millennials expressed anger at the organizers of such celebrations, and 17 percent felt judged for not spending enough on their gift.

“Clearly this is unfair and creates stigma,” psychologist Ashley Weinberg said in an analysis included in the study.

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Given this perceived injustice, 24 percent of millennials said they “feel like the business should shoulder the burden [of paying for gifts] – rather than adding to the pressures of individual employees,” according to the study. Fully 35 percent of the cohort said Secret Santa-like events should be outright banned at work.

Among officer workers of all ages, only one-fifth demanded an office gift fund and one-quarter wanted to abolish gift-giving.

At the same time, though, most British workers acknowledged that staff gift exchanges are good for morale (61 percent), build camaraderie (60 percent) and signal respect between coworkers (64 percent).

Why millennials want to ban Secret Santa

Weinberg, a psychology lecturer at the University of Salford, identified the root problems as workplace income inequality and power dynamics that negate employees’ ability to consent. She called on companies to respond with regulations.

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“The workplace is an obvious testing ground for our ability to negotiate, but we don’t always feel we have the power to say ‘no’ and we should,” she said.

“Having the chance to share our appreciation of colleagues and to celebrate positive events is really valuable – just as long as this is done fairly. Workplace organisations can play a positive part in this, whether helping to suggest sensible parameters or even by setting the ball rolling with a contribution to collections for employees.”

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