Some millennials want the “Secret Santa” office holiday tradition canceled, a recent study found.
According to the British job-hunting website, Jobsite, Secret Santa gift exchanges trigger anxiety in many millennials. Dr. Ashley Weinberg, a psychology lecturer at the University of Salford in Manchester, believes the holiday gift swap triggers anxiety in those who overspend because they don’t want to appear “stingy.”
The study found that 26% of millennials admitted to dipping into savings or over-drafting their accounts to fund an office gift while 78% of millennials felt they contributed “more than they should” to an office party gift compared to 58% of the rest of the workforce. Nearly 17% of millennials “felt judged” by their co-workers based on the gift they chose to contribute.
Nearly 1 in 3 millennials wants to boot the “Secret Santa” office holiday tradition. They are just generally worried about being judged, and it leaks into all aspects of their work lives. Weinberg explained that it was the pressure from social media that contributed to the reported anxiety.
“If you’ve grown up in a world where social media is at your fingertips and those kinds of social judgments are being made fairly constantly, suddenly you’re even more aware of what others might be thinking,” the psychologist said. “Naturally, that’s going to spill over into all kinds of areas, particularly something that can be a social taboo when you think about maybe not giving, or maybe questioning why people are giving.”
Weinberg added, “I think there can be a bit of that and naturally it does lead to anxiety for a lot of people.”
Psychologists and workplace morale experts suggest that workplaces take “mental health” into consideration when organizing work events and plot holiday-themed activities that will appear to workers across the board.
As millennials are the poorest generation of Americans since World War II, the financial burden of Secret Santa exchanges may hit them harder, according to Washington Examiner.