It’s that time of year again. The Christmas decorations are in the shops, the diaries are filling up with functions and you’re being cajoled into the office Kris Kringle.
Taking a poll around the office, you won’t be surprised to hear that this well-intentioned Christmas tradition is fraught with angst! The very thought of giving and receiving a cheap gift from someone you don’t know particularly well is enough to turn even the most festive individual into a grumpy old scrooge.
We asked around for stories of the worst or weirdest Kris Kringle gifts ever. There’s the usual coffee mug, soap, or something totally inappropriate like the X rated stubby holder.
Then there is the down right weird.
- “An electric blue plastic bird on a clip”
- “A garden gnome and I don’t even have a garden”
- “A t-shirt with Santa riding on a Harley with the motto “you better watch out” underneath”
- “A 1993 calendar […and it wasn’t 1993]”
- “A light for a bike and I don’t have a bike”
- “A can of spaghetti”
You can’t blame the gift giver – how on earth can they give a great KK pressie when they hardly know the person that they are buying for? Think about when you’re on the giving end – that sense of complete confusion about what to buy for that colleague you barely have anything to do with.
- Wine? (Turns out they have been sober for 8 months…….)
- A car magazine? (Apparently cars aren’t their thing…….)
- A new-fangled egg beater? (They are allergic to eggs……)
Even the things you think they might like could be totally off the mark.
The best presents by far are from those that know you well and can pick the perfect thing for you – something that you like/need/want.
As we head into the festive season, the KK disaster is a timely reminder that when making products for our customers, we must make sure we know that customer well, so that we can make a product that solves genuine problems – a product which is useful and adds value to someone’s life. Contextual enquiries, surveys, workshops and usability tests are great methods for getting to know your customers.
So, if you are a part of an office Kris Kringle this year, use it as an opportunity to conduct a little research on your colleagues to find a gift that is right for them.
But keep your expectations low and be prepared to receive an Xmas sweater with inappropriate reindeer on it.