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Secret Planter: regrowing a PaperCut tradition

It’s no secret PaperCut loves trees . But also green things in general. Our office is home to lots of indoor plants and trees, which we all missed so much when we had to work from home during COVID-19. In fact, quite a few PaperCutters suddenly grew green thumbs during the lockdowns so as to recreate these mini-indoor jungles.

Returning to the office after more than half a year in lockdown , I spotted a couple of personal plants on desks that sadly hadn’t survived Melbourne’s (most recent) 6th lockdown. As sad as their dried and wilted leaves made me, it got me thinking about a pre-COVID tradition PaperCut started back in 2018 called Secret Planter.

PaperCut Secret Planter logo

Our Secret Planter logo circa 2018

Planter, not Santa: wordplay with a difference

What on earth is “Secret Planter” you might ask?

It all started when we were planning our PaperCut 20th Anniversary celebrations in 2018. We were trying to come up with various ways to make that December extra special.

Rather than running a standard Secret Santa/Kris Kringle , we gave it our trademark “green” spin with a focus on sustainability – gift-wrapped in some PaperCutty wordplay of course.

To be honest, I think it originally started as a rhyme in jest during a brainstorming session. But then we realized, “Hey, this is actually a great idea!”

Putting the tree into “Christmas Tree”

Office Secret Santas/Kris Kringles can get quite stressful. There’s usually a modest spend limit ($10-$15) for those who opt-in. The anxious part is it can be difficult to buy for work colleagues who you might not know very well.

We found that not only did gifting plants take much of that stress away, but that people also felt like they were doing their bit by not adding to the amount of “stuff” people have.

PaperCut Secret Planter table

Secret Planter gift table 2019

Fun, festive, and meaningful!

In 2018 and 2019, Secret Planter was a success! People had lots of fun not only choosing plants for their PaperCut colleagues, but a lot of thought also went into the pots and how the plants were presented – some even had really special stories behind them…

Take for instance the beautiful Peace Lily to yours truly from PaperCutter Sonja. Turns out it was an offshoot from the Peace Lily that Sonja was gifted by a friend back in 2001 – which is still thriving in her living room! I am happy to say that my plant (who I named Audrey) is also still loving life 3 years on.

Pre-COVID, Audrey used to hang out at the office with the PaperCut plants. But for the last 18 months, she’s been keeping me company at home, along with Barry the gnome.

Audrey hanging out with her friends in the PaperCut office / at home with Sam the bear (Barry the gnome got camera shy)

An important tradition for now and the future…

Whilst we didn’t get to hold a Secret Planter gift swap in 2020, it’s making a comeback for our 2021 end-of-year festivities. We can’t wait!

COVID-19 has disrupted many things, professionally and personally. As well as adjusting to working from home, PaperCutters were missing our office and our office traditions dearly. From monthly birthday cakes to annual hackathons , so much was put on hold. So I thought, there’s no time but the present to bring back another important tradition for our company and office’s future.

Why not put a sustainable spin on your office Secret Santa/Kris Kringle and give Secret Planter a try?


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