Lifestyle Viral and Trending 21 Dec 2019 Spreading the festiv ...

Spreading the festive cheer

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | JOYEETA BASU
Published Dec 21, 2019, 12:43 am IST
Updated Dec 21, 2019, 12:43 am IST
Apollo Health and Lifestyle employees enjoying Secret Santa
 Apollo Health and Lifestyle employees enjoying Secret Santa

As the city gears up for Christmas, a new game is emerging as the most fun thing of the season, bringing the tradition of gift-giving into the work space. At corporate offices of all types, average Joes are turning into crafty elves by playing ‘Secret Santa’.

Brings people together

Over 4,000 staff of Apollo Health and Lifestyle Ltd., play the game across all its centres in the city. From cleaners to specialists, everyone buys gifts and gives them anonymously to their designated ‘child’.

The game was introduced in Apollo Health  by Dharmesh K. in 2015, after he joined the company’s HR department. “My previous company had been playing Secret Santa for years. I started it in Apollo as it brings people together and creates lots of happiness. People get really excited as they don’t know who their mystery gift-giver is,” he says.

“We have a Christmas tree in the Reception area and everyone drops their gifts there secretly before Santa comes along on Christmas Eve, reads out the names and hands them over amidst loud cheering,” he explained, adding, “Everyone, including full-time employees and consultants, get a gift.”

IIFL Finance Ltd employees celebrating Secret SantaIIFL Finance Ltd employees celebrating Secret Santa

It’s great fun

IIFL Finance Ltd, a financial services conglomerate started by a group of entrepreneurs in 1995, organises Secret Santa as part of a larger scheme at the company. It has been celebrating December as a thanksgiving month since 2015. Activities include visiting NGOs, marking Appreciation Week and hosting a Christmas Carnival on December 23.

Secret Santa is celebrated a day later, said Lakshmi Saikiran Kandukuri, HR Business Partner. “We draw lots of staff names, and buy gifts for the persons whose names we draw. It’s like celebrating a birthday — people wait eagerly to find out what gift they’ll be given. It’s a great way to connect to people you haven’t met before. We have a Santa who distributes the gifts, cakes and chocolates and we all have a great time.”

The staff of Zaggle gifting each otherThe staff of Zaggle gifting each other

A great bonding session

The staff of Zaggle, a B2B FinTech company, has been playing Secret Santa since 2015. Says Vice-President Harmeet Singh Arora, “We draw lots with staff members’ names and earmark a cupboard for people to store their gifts. We bring them out on December 24th and have a big Christmas party. It’s a fantastic bonding session as we have more than 200 employees and not everyone knows everyone else. It’s a great conversation starter and connecting factor among employees without any HR intervention.”

This year the theme is eco-friendly gifts but moving forward, the company has bigger plans. “The gifts have so far been materialistic but we may take it a step forward next year and work with an NGO for a day for a more satisfying experience for our employees,” said Harmeet.

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