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What's the worst Christmas gift you've ever received?

By Alex Robinson, 15th November 2023 

When I was a kid, my sister gave me an old yellow clipboard that she didn't use anymore. It's gone down in family folklore as The Worst Present. But as time goes by, it's starting to look like she was on to something. 

With the cost of living continuing to bite and the climate emergency ramping up, it feels like now, more than ever, we need a new narrative about all the stuff we give each other at Xmas. And the office seems like a great place to start: habits are less deeply ingrained than at home, and the Secret Santa trend is booming. Last year colleagues gave each other 28 million gifts, and our research shows people are open to receiving pre-loved items. 

Our new Secondhand Santa campaign is here to make regifting and pre-loved presents the new normal. Read below to find out how you can get involved with your colleagues - we're here to make it easy for you (tip: clipboards can make a memorable gift...).

While we're talking about the workplace, when did you last mean to bring your reusable cup in and forget it or - and this is my special trick - make lunch in advance and then leave it in the fridge? Our insights show that forgetfulness regularly gets in the way of our good intentions when it comes to cutting down on all that single-use food and drink packaging - 276 items per year for lunch alone when we last counted. We've got a new campaign to spread the word about those little hacks you can use to make sure you remember. Check the video and I guarantee one will resonate with you (I just hope it's not writing reminders on your forehead!).

And if you wonder where the insights that inform these campaigns come from, and how you could use them in your own work, then do join me and a panel of top behaviour change experts in a couple of weeks for a short breakfast event aimed at helping you do just that. All the info is below.

Switch up your Secret Santa

Invite Secondhand Santa to the party

What’s on our list to Santa this Christmas? Ideally, a whole lot of people giving pre-loved gifts, and a lot less needless waste. 

We spent £280 million on Secret Santa gifts for our colleagues last year* - but two thirds said their gifts were no good, and some people didn’t even take their gifts home from the party. 

Enter Secondhand Santa, coming to a town near you to inspire gifts that are better for your colleagues and the planet. Trading novelty items for preloved treasures might feel like a small step, but collectively, these choices make a big impact. By giving secondhand, we’re not only reducing waste and saving money, but we’re also making a statement about the importance of sustainability. We shine a light on how strange it is to make a tradition out of giving tat. 

Run your Secret Santa as normal but ask people to swap their usual gifts for something homemade or pre-loved! It’s what we’re doing at Hubbub HQ. Think charity shop treasures, homemade edible treats, a second-hand book you know they’ll love, or something they can do. A small change that we hope will see less tat and more treasures gifted this Christmas, saving gifts from landfill. 

Ready to sleigh with a preloved Christmas? We've got you covered with handy templates, assets and designs - everything you need to run Secondhand Santa in your office.

Hubbub's Breakfast Series

Start the day right with our jam-packed 50 minute breakfast events. We'll be sharing great insights, actionable tips and inspiring examples to help you get better at engaging with the public and changing behaviours around sustainability.

How often do you remember you reusable cup, bottle, lunch box?

Gone to the effort of making a packed lunch only to leave it in the fridge at home? We’ve all been there! Our Cup, Bottle, Lunch Box campaign shows how your reusables can fit into your daily routines. From practical hacks to more... extreme methods there's a reusable hack for everyone.