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The Busted Halo Question Box
Ask our spiritual experts virtually anything!
This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

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Caitlin Kennell Kim
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Mike Hayes
Our readers asked:

Do I have to participate in the office “Secret Santa” exchange?

Neela Kale Answers:

Secret Santa gift exchanges can bring out the best of collegiality and the worst of office politics. Some people love any excuse for gift-giving; others can’t stand the thought of unwrapping one more tchotchke for their cubicles. While office gift exchanges can contribute to employee morale and build company culture, there are also plenty of legitimate reasons for not participating, such as financial constraints and differing religious customs surrounding holidays. A wise human resources manager will make participating optional and find other appropriate ways to help the staff celebrate. Can you suggest an alternate activity, such as contributing to a charity you all agree to support or bringing something to a potluck? Or can you join in and secretly laugh your head off when your fashion-challenged colleague unwraps the ugly Christmas sweater you bought for him? While you are not morally bound to participate, you may find it best to play along for the sake of workplace harmony.

The Author : Neela Kale
Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.
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  • meerkat13

    I think with a bad economy, people should not be forced to spend even one penny of their grossly inadequate paychecks. Gift exchanges mostly just waste money on useless objects anyway. A container for a charity everyone agrees on can be left in a prominent place for those who are lucky enough to be able to share some holiday cheer.

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