Pentagram-based environmental public service Do Green Thing has created ‘Ungifted Secret Santa’, an imaginative web-based alternative to all the awkward, unwanted and wasteful Secret Santa gifts we give each other at work.
Launched alongside Do The Green Thing Issue 12, the free-to-use digital platform inspires people to do things with or for other people at Christmas, rather than giving them thoughtless and environmentally-harmful tat. Things like a surprise burrito, doing your timesheets for a week, complimenting you in front of your boss, making you the perfect cup of not-too-milky tea or anything else you can think of.
But why is Secret Santa so bad? Simply put, it takes the worst bits of Christmas – bad presents, extra spending and planetary woe – and exacerbates them.
A staggering 90% of workers in Edinburgh (the highest rate of Secret Santa practitioners in Britain) and 51% of workers in Southampton (the lowest) are being forced into a practice that piles on even more junk to the heap of unwanted gifts we give each every festive season – a tenth of which end up in a landfill.
As well as reducing environmental impact, ‘Ungifted Secret Santa’ has been designed to take away the admin hassle associated with the traditional manual version. Created in collaboration with web-developer Eric Yamane, the platform matches and assigns team members, inspires them with suggestions, and delivers everyone's Ungifts simultaneously at an agreed time and date.
A series of workplace Christmas party themed visuals (illustrated by Cachetejack and animated by Tom Baker) are applied across the experience, injecting charm and joy.
So this Christmas, Do The Green Thing is asking you to try a new way. A way that gives you something you actually want, cheaply and with little waste. And while ‘Ungifted Secret Santa’ targets the workplace, it is open to any group that wants to give it a go.