As the holidays get into full swing, a Secret Santa gift exchange may be in your near future. This tradition, believed to have been started by a good Samaritan in Kansas who would anonymously gift random people $100 bills around the holidays, has evolved into a gift giving tradition practiced in homes and offices around the world. If you need help finding the perfect gift for your secret Santa celebrating, keep reading!
How does Secret Santa Work?
If you’ve never participated in Secret Santa, here’s how it works! Co-workers or friends each enter their name to be drawn by another participant. Each person draws a name and they become that person’s Secret Santa! Some versions call for a small gift each day leading up to Christmas or one gift to be opened on a pre-determined day. There is usually a budget set for the gifts and some offices choose to have participants fill out their list of favorites when submitting their names. This makes gift buying easy! Whichever way your office chooses to host Secret Santa, finding the perfect gift for your co-worker can be a challenge. This article will help narrow down some of the best gifts!
Things to Consider before Buying your Secret Santa Gift
- Keep the budget in mind. More than likely, your office has set a budget for Secret Santa gifts. Try your hardest to stay as close to the budget as possible. If you spend way over budget, it may make others who stayed within the price range feel uncomfortable. If you happen to choose a friend’s name and you really want to gift them something over the budget, consider doing it separately, away from work.
- Consider any possible allergies or other medical needs. If you’re thinking of giving your co-worker candy or homemade treats as part of the Secret Santa exchange, be sure you check for dietary restrictions. Some people may have severe allergies to certain foods or may be diabetic and unable to have sugary treats.
- Make the gift work appropriate. Pay attention to your office culture before purchasing your gift. Most workplaces are professional environments, so giving a gift that is political or uses crude humor may not be the best move.
Now that you know how Secret Santa works and things to consider about the tradition, it’s time to go shopping! We’ve divided the options into gifts under $10 and gifts under $25 for ease!
Gifts $10 and Under
Who says you have to spend a fortune to buy a great gift? These Secret Santa options are all around or under $10 and are sure to be well received.
Nerf Zombie Strike FlipFury Blaster
Who doesn’t enjoy getting rid of tension by firing a Nerf gun? This one comes with 12 darts, which can all be fired without reloading. A Nerf gun can be fun both inside and away from the office. Your coworkers will all secretly hope you draw their name for the next Secret Santa gift exchange!
Burt’s Bees Essential Gift Set
Burt’s Bees is a universally popular bath and body line. This reasonably priced set includes five of their best-selling products, including deep cleansing cream, milk and honey body lotion, and the famous beeswax lip balm! This gift also comes pre-packaged in a cute box. Just put in a gift bag with some tissue and you’re done!
KapTron Travel Toiletry Bag
Does your Secret Santa recipient love to travel or have a job that requires frequent out-of-town meetings? Then this travel toiletry bag is the perfect Secret Santa gift for them! Built for light weight travel, this bag can extend out to hang on the back of a door and holds all the hygiene essentials. This set also includes two shoe bags for added travel convenience!
Dunder Mifflin The Office Mug
Bring a little of “The Office” to your office with this Dunder Mifflin mug. Your coworker who is a fan of “The Office” will enjoy not only using this mug but also displaying it on his or her desk as well.
Magnetic Slime Putty
Any coworker would enjoy this magnetic putty. It can be used as a stress reliever or as a way to store paper clips and magnets. You can leave it on a desk or in a drawer because it doesn’t dry out. It comes with a pair of wiggly eyes so you can make all sorts of creatures.
VIBELITE Magnetic Pickup Tool
For the co-worker who loves gadgets, this flashlight and magnetic pick up tool set is perfect! A powerful, 3 LED bulb flashlight is attached to a telescoping handle when your coworker needs to see in tight spots! This would be perfect for using when hooking up computer cords behind desks where light is sparse! Another tool has a magnetic head for reaching to pick up small metal objects such as screws and nails.
Travel Cosmetic Bag
Often times, I find myself grabbing my makeup bag while going out the door for work to finish up my morning routine in the car. This multi-functional collapsible cosmetic bag is perfect for your co-worker on the go! With built-in mesh pockets and a compact design, this is just large enough to hold essentials (and maybe a few extras). The bag is waterproof and machine washable as well!
Gemseek Ceramic Owl Planter Pot
Does your co-worker have a green thumb or have the best plants on their desk? Then consider getting them this adorable owl planter! Perfect for succulents or herbs, this planter features breathable ceramic and a beautiful high shine. A cute bamboo stand is included to protect desk surfaces! Whether it’s used as a planter or a pen holder, this cute accessory is perfect on any desk.
For an amazing coworker gift, get Daelmans Stroopwafels. These melt-in-your-mouth Dutch caramel wafers are decadent and amazing. They are sure to be a favorite gift for anyone. The wafers come in a festive white and blue tin with depictions of Dutch scenes. It’s the next best thing to eating fresh stroopwafels in Amsterdam!
I’m Thinking T-Shirt
For the co-worker who is always cracking jokes, a humorous t-shirt is perfect! This t-shirt simulates the downloading symbol with a cute “thinking” caption. Your co-worker will love wearing this shirt while imagining their brain doing just that!
Tara’s All Natural Handcrafted Gourmet Sea Salt Caramel
Tara’s Gourmet Salted Caramels are perfect for the co-worker who is a foodie! They will appreciate the decadent dessert and think of your kindness each time they reach in their desk for another caramel break. Individually wrapped and presented in a gift-ready jar, this is a perfect food gift!
AstroAI Digital Tire Pressure Gauge
Using an analog tire pressure gauge can be frustrating; you never know if it’s really accurate. This digital one makes it easy to get an accurate tire pressure reading so tires can be inflated correctly. Help your coworker get to work safely by keeping their tires properly inflated.
For the co-worker who is into astrology, this constellation magnet set will be a big hit! The walls on my cubicles at work are magnetic, so any type of small magnet we can use to hang notes and pictures is greatly appreciated. This set includes all twelve astrology constellations and are great quality!
Windy City Light-up Beanie
For that co-worker who loves anything to do with Christmas, this light-up beanie hat is the perfect Secret Santa gift! Made of warm material with LED lights strung throughout, they can show their Christmas spirit all season long. Batteries are included!
Soft Cover Notebook Journal
Nothing inspires creativity like a new, blank journal. This soft-cover bullet journal is perfect for the co-worker who loves to make lists. With a minimalist design and offered in a variety of colors, this is the perfect journal to pair with a nice pen. They can use it to start making plans for the new year or write down those last minute Christmas gifts!
Gifts $25 and Under
Mpow Noise Canceling Bluetooth Earbuds
Who wouldn’t love a great pair of quality earbuds? These are perfect for working out, as they have a special coating that protects against sweat and water. The Bluetooth capability means these earbuds can be paired with a phone for calls or listening to music. Choose from 7 different colors. At under $25, these are a great choice for any coworker.
Desktop Relaxation Fountain
The stress of work can be hard to escape, especially if you are stuck at a desk. This desktop relaxation fountain fits well on a desk and provides the soothing sound and sight of moving water. It’s a unique desk decoration, and your coworker will be excited at the thoughtfulness of this Secret Santa gift for the office.
Savvy Infusion Water Bottle
My co-workers and I are constantly drinking water at our desks. Be the talk of the water cooler by gifting this Savvy Infusion water bottle! A BPA-free infuser filled with fresh fruits or veggies will add a touch of flavor to plain water. It’s top-rack dishwasher safe and made of shatter resistant plastic. Small enough to fit in a car cup holder, it’s also perfect for your co-worker’s commute!
Crock-Pot Lunch Warmer
Your coworker will thank you for this gift. This food warmer makes it easy to bring lunch with you to the office and warm it up on your desk. No more lunch mysteriously disappearing from the office refrigerator! This Crock-Pot food warmer is large enough to hold your lunch but small enough not to take up too much room on your desk.
Nature’s Blossom Herb Garden Kit
Your co-worker will love this indoor herb growing kit, despite the cold weather outside! If you know your gift recipient loves to cook, then this kit will help inspire their next dish. Fresh herbs are a must in any good recipe, so help get them started, even in the dead of winter. The kit includes everything they need to grow basil, cilantro, sage, parsley, and thyme!
Omnigates Bluetooth Shower Speaker
Portable Bluetooth speakers are popular for good reason. They’re convenient and give your co-worker the ability to play their favorite music no matter where they are. Take a speaker to the ballpark, on a run, or to a favorite ski slope. This model is also waterproof, so it can even hang in the shower! I have a speaker similar to this and use it for office parties, team trainings, and group activities.
Casio Men’s Watch
For that guy who is always late to the office, get this Casio Men’s Watch. It’s a subtle (or maybe not so subtle) way of helping him get to work on time. This watch is inexpensive but has some great features including an alarm, LED backlight, and 10-year battery life.
George Foreman Electric Quesadilla Maker
Looking for “cheesy” gift for your colleague? Check out this electric quesadilla maker. It makes 10-inch quesadillas in just a couple minutes with very little effort required. This is perfect for someone who works long hours, doesn’t love cooking, or likes quick and easy food options.
Nostalgia S’mores Maker Kit
This s’mores kit is a great gift for any co-worker who loves the nostalgia of making s’mores but doesn’t have time to make a camp fire. This indoor electric stainless steel s’mores maker comes with four roasting sticks and spinning compartments for everyone to grab their chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker! The heating element roasts marshmallows to perfection for the quintessential winter dessert!
Flickering Flameless Candles
This set of three flameless candles is the perfect gift for co-workers because it’s something you never knew you needed until you have it! The three battery-operated candles come with a remote for maximum ease of use and can be used in a variety of settings. Need to add ambient lighting or have a power outage? These candles are perfect for safe lighting that won’t burn wax or have an overpowering smell.
The Argyle Sweater 2020 Calendar
Get away from the tech world with this hilarious desktop calendar. The entertaining drawings and witty sayings on this calendar from The Argyle Sweater will keep your coworkers and you laughing all year long. Your coworker can tear a page off each day and save favorites to enjoy again and again.
Tech Tools Desktop Punching Ball
Sometimes you can’t get away from the office when you need some stress relief. Enter the Tech Tools Desktop Punching Bag. You can punch out all your frustrations without ever having to leave your desk! This is perfect for the stressed out coworker. You might be surprised how many other people in the office stop to take a punch at this bag.
ONXE USB LED Clock Fan
A clock is a pretty common item to see on someone’s desk, but this clock is different. Simply plug it into your computer’s USB drive and watch the clock’s LED display light up. The spinning fan keeps air circulating, and the time is updated automatically through the computer. Everyone loves this clock that seems to be floating in midair.
Winter Plush Throw
At any given point during the winter in my home, you can find at least one family member wrapped up in a cozy blanket on the couch. Even if there is a roaring fire and the heat is keeping us warm, I still find myself grabbing the nearest blanket to wrap up in. There is something so cozy about a fleece throw. This Christmas-inspired design with plush backing is perfect for the co-worker who is always chilly. This blanket comes wrapped in a taupe bow, perfect for gifting!
Mini Meditation Zen Garden
A desktop mini zen garden is not only a good relaxation tool, it’s also a fun conversation piece. This meditation garden comes with everything shown here to help refocus the brain and relax the soul. It’s a great choice for a colleague Secret Santa gift.
Jar of Smiles Motivational Quotations
Who doesn’t need a little dose of inspiration each day? This Jar of Smiles gift is perfect to set on your co-worker’s desk. Filled with 31 inspirational quotes, the recipient will have one to open each day of the month! You could also add your own favorite quotes or even reasons your co-worker is the best to give them a daily boost of confidence.
Takeflight Tactical Pen Self Defense Tool
For the co-worker who loves gadgets, this tactical self defense pen is sure to be a hit! The rugged design and multifunctionality is the perfect gift for someone who is ready for anything. The pen features multiple self defense tools, hidden within the design, as well as a window breaker in the event they’re ever entrapped. This pen also comes with two refills and is packaged in a gift-ready box!
Yankee Candles are one of the most popular candle companies around, so there is a good chance your co-worker would like one of their famous jar-style candles! This Balsam Cedar scent is the quintessential Christmas smell, as it fills your home with the scent of a Christmas tree. I love getting candles as gifts because often times I’m gifted a scent I wouldn’t normally choose for myself but I end up loving!
Winter Hat, Mittens, and Scarf Set
For those cold winter days, a warm beanie, neck scarf, and gloves set is the perfect gift for your co-worker. Available in a variety of colors with spun acrylic and fleece lining, this set has a hardy, rustic look while still being stylish. The gloves have touch screen fingers on the thumb, index, and ring fingers and the beanie features a modern, slouchy design.
Knit Wool Socks
Nothing says Christmas comfort quite like a pair of cozy knit socks. With vibrant, rustic designs these can be worn while lounging around the house or paired with boots for a vintage finish to any outfit! Your co-worker will love curling up by the fire with a pair of these one-size-fits-all socks.
My favorite options on this list are the Nerf gun and the earbuds. Both are universally liked gifts that would work for either males or females!
With so many options of gifts to give your co-workers for a Secret Santa exchange, shopping for them may become your favorite thing to do! At the end of the day, it’s all about the thought you put into the gift and the happiness you will feel in treating someone to something nice. It’s a way to add even more joy to the spirit of Christmas that will last all year through. Happy gift giving and Merry Christmas!