Don’t want to participate in a Secret Santa at work? You’re likely not alone.

In a November 2015 U.S. survey, a majority (70%) of employees reported feeling pressured by compulsory gift giving at work.

Of that 70%, 23% detest “white elephant” gift exchanges, 21% don’t like Secret Santa, and 22% are unhappy they’re expected to buy gifts for co-workers and bosses.

The runner-up for most hated holiday workplace practices was anything that affected employees’ schedules, including pressure to complete year-end tasks, working on holidays and having to attend after-hours holiday celebrations.

“Holidays are supposed to be a happy time, but when bosses combine ‘forced fun’ with expectations that impact employees’ finances and eat into their personal time—it’s a toxic combination that often results in negative attitudes, the opposite of what was intended,” said Dr. Paul White, who conducted the survey and created the Toxic Workplace Prevention and Repair Kit.

More than 500 survey respondents submitted holiday “horror stories,” too. One respondent admitted his manager banned his team from taking vacation during the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s but then took those weeks off himself. Another described having to work 17 hours on Christmas day to meet year-end requirements.

But White says employers can avoid workplace holiday negativity. “Leave ample time for employees to work on the extra year-end tasks and reports. Don’t force workers to participate in gift-giving exchanges—explicitly or implicitly. And be sensitive to scheduling issues and time requirements during the holidays.”

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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