The time pressure. The loose budgetary constraints. The public unveiling. Secret Santa is competitive gifting at its absolute finest.
The rules of engagement depend completely on the generosity and maturity of your friendship circle/family/work colleagues. But remember, no matter what anyone says - Secret Santa is not anonymous. Not even in the slightest. Everyone wants to know. You want to know.
How are you approaching it this year? Already started gathering intel on your lucky recipient? Waiting for some last minute inspiration? Just playing it safe and getting them a load of posh chocolates?
We've identified seven common Secret Santa stereotypes for you to look out for this year.
1. Dr Poundshop
"I know, I'll get them exactly £10 worth of crap from poundland!" Her-larious. That being said, they get top marks for spending the full £10 on you. You might not be sneering at that 24 pack of Walkers Max crisps and two pairs of reading glasses once you've seen the gifts other people received.
2. The Oxfam Raider
Arguably more creative and adventurous than Dr Poundshop. Who wouldn't want an old NHS crutch, a dusty ABBA vinyl and a Guinness Book of World Records from 1994? What a haul!! (Other charity shops are available)
3. The Imbecile
Doesn't require (or deserve) too much explanation. They'll usually buy something awful and novelty no matter who the recipient is. Something like a Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer thong. The unveilling is always met with a weary ripple of forced laughter from the room. For the imbecile this is considered another successful Secret Santa.
4. The Big Spender
There's always one - someone who goes about £20 over budget just to make everyone else's presents look pathetic. They'll usually go to great lengths to ensure word of their generosity gets out. Perhaps a knowing wink to an onlooker as they put their enormous gift bag beneath the tree - "oo-er I may have gone a bit overboard this year - but DON'T say anything."
5. The Wretch
A beast at the opposite end of the spectrum. You finish unwrapping your Secret Santa (if they've even bothered to wrap it at all) and you can't fathom how this gift could possibly cost anywhere near £10. A gentle rage brews inside you. You deliver a vague statement of gratitude to the room whilst assessing everyone's faces to try and weed out the tightfisted pig.
6. The "Maverick"
The moment they drew their recipient's name they made a beeline for the nearest Hotel Chocolat or Lush (or both). Don't get us wrong, these are the absolute cream of the 'safe gift' crop. Everyone loves a cheeky bath bomb and a posh lump of chocolate - but where's the thought? The in-joke? The sense of adventure!?
7. The Enigma
They could be a close friend or someone you barely know. One way or another they've done their research and managed to surprise you with a genuinely thoughtful gift. How could they possibly know you were planning a trip to Berlin? Or that you've always wanted to learn how to crochet? The less they know you - the nicer/creepier/more impressive it is (delete as appropriate).