Secret Santa: Celebrity Edition

To demonstrate our creativity over the holidays, we decided to play celebrity Secret Santa, complete with star studded giftees and a million dollar budget.


The holidays are always met with a mixed bag of emotions, with people being divided into two camps. The first being the die-hard Christmasmaniacs. The second being the ‘Bah Humbuggers’. Given the two very different perspectives, traditional holiday activities can go over very differently among a group of people. Playing exclusively Christmas music in the office starting November 1st can completely divide colleagues and spur arguments. A forced viewing of ‘Elf’ isn’t necessarily met with squeals of glee. In fact, the copious amounts of holiday treats are probably the only thing that both camps can agree are awesome about this time of year. One particularly contemptuous holiday tradition is Secret Santa. Some love the challenge of buying something for a person they were assigned by chance, while others find the task daunting, especially with a limited budget.

We do Secret Santa at Eighty-Eight every year, and there are definitely mixed feelings about it. While we obviously adore one another, some people are harder to buy for than others, and the $25 budget can be a little limiting. We were curious about how creative the team would actually get if given a larger budget. To make things interesting we assigned notable people as their Secret Santas and upped the budget to 1 million dollars. Here’s what they came up with.

Erin Bury – Taylor Swift

I would get her her very own cat cafe. I would buy one for her and she could bring her cats to it whenever she wants, and the cafe would exclusively play Taylor Swift music, and have a line of Taylor Swift cat-themed merchandise like t-shirts that say “Cats against Kanye”. If it has to be an actual item, I would get her the Men With Cats book so she can find her next boyfriend, since you know this relationship will be over by her next album.

Fatima Zaidi – Beyonce

I’d start a professional upscale franchised lemonade stand in her honour….and of course diamonds are a girls best friend. Lots of diamonds!

Gabriella Rackoff – Donald Trump

I think he might like a private space ship. It’s cool, ostentatious, and it might distract him from causing trouble here on earth.   

Kait Ward – Prince George and Princess Charlotte

What do you get for the little nuggets that are already living a fairytale? Something to make the mere mortals like North and Blue Ivy look like the peasants they truly are! From frappuccinos to graphic tees, unicorns are all the rage so I’d get George and Charlotte mini horse unicorns to frolic with while they spend their downtime in the Norfolk countryside. Take that Suri Cruise!

Morgan Craig – Marcus Stroman

My love. Can’t put a price on that.

Amanda Speers – Gwyneth Paltrow

If I had a million dollars to spend on Gwyneth I would probably get her a lifetime supply of colonic treatments. Why? Well, our girl has caused quite a stir in the past due to her out there and sometimes weird health recommendations. Might as well give her what she loves (and advocates for). We all know how much Gwen loves a good colonicThe colon health connection is a thing. So is the mind-gut connection (not making this up). We wish all our friends a happy, healthy, regular life. Also, bet you found out more about colon health than you thought you would through a company blog post.

Jamie Gillingham – Margaret Atwood

I would use the money to pay her to teach the Creative Writing MA program that I studied. One of the most helpful parts of writing grad school was the guest lectures from working writers, and with Margaret’s schedule, I’m guessing it would take big money to get her for a whole year.

Erica Salvalaggio – Elon Musk

My first thought was to buy back Amber Heard, but that’s definitely human trafficking, so scratch that. Instead, since I know sweet lil Elon was quite heartbroken over his breakup, I would have a life-like Amber Heard AI robot (think Ex Machina) built for him. I would also build an addition to Elon’s house, made entirely of Lego — since in my experience, most entrepreneurs/creators (and really all cool people) grew up obsessed with and building with Lego. Robot Amber Heard would live in said Lego room. Like a doll house, but regular human-sized and the doll can interact with you, learn from you, etc.

Brittany Giles – Drake

Since he’s such a big fanboy of the Raptors and already has his seats at all the home games and his own night (and his own private club at the ACC), I’LL BUY HIM THE WHOLE TEAM. Wait, can I get extra budget? I don’t think a mil is going to cover it and I also want to get him a gold throne for his courtside seats so he can be the king of the Raptors.

Andrea Pace – Celine Dion

If I was lucky enough to have Her Royal Highness, the Queen of Quebec, one of the few good things to happen in 2017 – Celine Dion as my secret Santa I would use the 1 million dollars to fund a selfish dream of my own: a Celine Dion reality show. I would hire an award-winning videographer and director to follow Ms. Dion around, filming everything, travelling with her (I, of course would be a part of this production team), and then sell the show to Netflix for a small fortune. As much as this is a gift for me (and the world at large), I believe Celine would love this as well – she clearly loves the spotlight.

Cory Ingwersen – Snoop Dogg

Instead of a central vac system, a central bong system that allows you to plug in a hose and smoke the ‘central house bong’ no matter what room you’re in.

Fatima Almuhtaram – Eleven from Stranger Things

I would give her a lifetime supply of Eggo waffles, because ever since discovering them she’s been obsessed, so much that she would steal for them. They will also get shipped straight to her door so she never has to deal with another mouth breather.

Stacey Orth – Meghan Markle

I think that I would get Meghan Markle a bestie’s trip around the world and I would fly around the world with her and visit fun and adventurous places. And I would get her a beautiful leather bound notebook and calligraphy pens so she could write all about what a wonderful time we’re having together, because she used to be a calligrapher.