Deciding what to buy your secret Santa can get tricky. A Starbucks gift card? They might be devoted to Tim Horton’s. Homemade cookies? They might be off gluten or dairy or both. A notebook or a candle or a kitschy keychain? They likely already have lots.
So what’s a workplace to do? Mix it up and turn the gift swap into a game, where the better a person’s knowledge of industry events from the past year means the better their chances of winning. Here’s how to play.
Put the names of participants in one bowl. In a second bowl, put an equal number of Canada’s largest pension funds. As each Santa picks their giftee, they also pick a pension fund, and their gift has to represent a company that the fund either acquired or invested in during the last calendar year.
On the day of the gift swap, all employees have to guess which pension plan each present represents. The first person to guess each fund correctly gets a point, and after all the presents have been opened, the person with the most points gets first pick of the presents.
For example, if you picked the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, you could buy your giftee a bottle from the Wine Rack. The plan acquired its parent company, Constellation Brands, in October.
If you picked the Caisse du dépôt et placement du Québec, you could gift a tube of lipstick from Lise Watier. Quebec cosmetics developer Groupe Marcelle acquired the brand in February, with an $18 million investment from Caisse.
And if you picked the Alberta Investment Management Corporation — and were feeling particularly generous — you could give air tickets flying out of the London City Airport, which AIMCo, Teachers’ and Borealis announced acquiring in February this year.