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Woman Called Out For Getting Coworker A Fantasy Novel For Secret Santa To ‘Broaden Her Horizons’

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For all their promises of good cheer and celebration, office gift exchanges around the holidays tend to stress more people out than not.

One Redditor, who posted their experience on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit, learned that the hard way this Christmas.

The Original Poster (OP), known as aita_throw_secrets on the site, came out with the key variables right in the title:

“AITA for giving my coworker a fantasy novel for Secret Santa to try to broaden her horizons?”

OP began with her initial thoughts when the holiday traditions got underway.  

“For Secret Santa I got Sara, who put down a bunch of books that she wanted as well as other things like socks, tea, and candy.”

“I was a little disappointed to be honest, because I really like to shop for people and give really cool gifts and these were just blah things.”

So she took some liberties. 

“When I looked up all the books to get her I found out that they were all romance novels.”

“I felt kinda cringe buying her romance novels so I looked at the common themes and found a really good fantasy novel to buy her instead called Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. It has a romance in it too.”

“I figure if she likes to read then she’d be happy to broaden her horizons and branch out. I also got her some Baby Yoda socks to go with it because who doesn’t like Baby Yoda and some Bigelow tea that looked good.”

Then came the big reveal. 

“We did the exchange this morning and she looked visibly confused when she opened hers. She changed her face to be surprised/happy but this really bothered me.”

“In the break room later I heard her talking and complaining saying she didn’t get why someone got her these things.”

“The other person said ‘they probably were upset they got a woman instead of a man.’ Which I thought was rude (I’m a woman too I’m just not a ‘Pumpkin Spice Latte and Hallmark’ woman).”

OP was stunned by what happened next. 

“Then after I saw her give the socks to someone else saying they could have them for their kid!”

“I was honestly really bothered by this. I put thought and effort into a gift. AITA for getting her something to branch out of the hum drum romance genre and Baby Yoda socks? I thought EVERYONE liked baby Yoda.”

Once Redditors began to share their comments, OP intervened with a clarification.

“For those trying to make this into me being a “pickme” first of all, don’t be misogynistic. Second of all she wasn’t talking about $5 Harlequin romances on her list. Her list had the following books:

“Beach Read by Emily Henry”

“The People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry”

“In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren”

“The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren”

“So there aren’t traditional romance novels. They were normal enough to make me think that branching out was fine.”

Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Most Redditors told OP that, yes, she had been an a**hole.

” ‘I judged my coworker for what she likes and felt the need to force my own interests on her’ “

“There. Fixed it for you.” — dramaandaheadache

“LOL. Yes, YTA, but you will probably never understand why, so there’s not much point in this. Still, I’m going to say it anyway.”

“What the heck is your problem? Why do you feel it’s your job to shame people for what they like? She literally put what she wanted on a sheet of paper, but you decided you knew better.”

“Of course she was disappointed. The whole point of putting things you like down when doing these things is so people can receive something they actually want, instead of some bullshit they don’t want.”

“Congratulations on wasting your money and disappointing someone for no reason. Maybe next time stop being condescending and let people enjoy things. Or don’t participate.” — ethnobruin

“YTA. Get over yourself. ‘I put thought and effort into a gift.’ “

“No, you disliked her taste so got her something you would have liked instead of something she would have liked.” — curien

“YTA. You got a list of what she likes, disregarded it because her tastes weren’t in line with yours, and got her completely different things. Just because you’re not a ‘pumpkin spiced latte and Hallmark movies’ kinda gal doesn’t mean it’s bad that she is.”

“If you truly were wanting to get her things she’d like/use you’d have stuck to the list. The idea wasn’t for you to judge her list and decide if it was exciting enough for you, it was for you to get her things she enjoys. Maybe you shouldn’t participate if you’re not going to do it right.” — Special-Emu3

A few people took a moment to school OP on a couple things. 

“YTA How would you feel if a coworker disregarded your preferences and bought you fluffy romance novels, “boring” tea, bubble bath, and a DVD collection of Lifetime movies.”

“Would you feel disappointed and misunderstood? Damn right. Stop acting superior and condescending to those who aren’t as nerdy, and try being a friend.” — little_munkin79

“YTA. In case you didn’t know, the whole point of the forms is to be able to buy that person an appropriate gift that you know they’ll like. It’s not just about you wanting to be able to shop for whatever you want because you like doing it your way.”

“And just for the record ‘who doesn’t like baby yoda?’ Me. Newsflash, not everybody likes baby yoda.” — fab__dady

“Ok no one jumps from romance novels to freaking Brandon Sanderson. If you wanted to get her a fantasy novel to ‘broaden her horizons’ that was NOT the book to choose. I love reading fantasy and I haven’t even made it through a Brandon Sanderson novel.”

“Like, damn. Get her a freaking romance novel if that’s what she likes. It’s not hard. I’m not a ‘pumpkin spice latte and hallmark girl’ either but I couldn’t care less about baby yoda. Don’t assume. YTA.” — katwhohatescats

Perhaps OP will handle next year’s gift-giving a little differently.

Written by Eric Spring

Eric Spring lives in New York City. He has poor vision and cooks a good egg. Most of his money is spent on live music and produce. He usually wears plain, solid color sweatshirts without hoods because he assumes loud patterns make people expect something big. Typically, he'll bypass a handshake and go straight for the hug.