Unique Secret Santa Gifts That Won’t Disappoint Your Giftee—Or Your Wallet
Starting at just $16.
Updated Nov 8, 2022 5:14 PM
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While we personally prefer the strategic game play of white elephant—especially since there’s no pressure to find a thoughtful present for someone you may hardly know anything about—Secret Santa is often a holiday party standard that’s impossible to avoid. To fight the Ebenezer Scrooge feelings, we came up with 17 semi-expensive ideas (from $16 to $42) to have on hand in advance. Whether it’s a picky coworker or judgy relative, the best unique Secret Santa gifts should appeal to most anyone. Think: celebrity-approved hand sanitizer, a five-pack of really nice fine-point prism pens, and prewrapped panettone. For our full list of recommendations, read on.
Our Favorite Secret Santa Gift Ideas
- Urban Outfitters Edy Glass Coaster Set
- Brass Monkey Roll Dice Set
- Date Better Cashew Lime Crisp
- Ghetto Gastro Black Power Kitchen
- Terra Sol Plant Support Stake
- Kalita Brown 102 Coffee Dripper
- Poketo Set of 5 Prism Color Rollerball Pens
- Evolvetogether Malibu Hand Sanitizer Starter Set
- Matilda Goad & Co. Cocktail Napkins
- Wonder Valley Oud Incense Sticks
- We’re Not Really Strangers Game
- Siesta Co. Conservas Variety 5-Pack
- Poketo Double Wall Groovy Cup
- Haeckels Bladderwrack and Buckthorn Body Wash
- La Torinese Panettone
- Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels
- Meet Me by the Fountain
Your coworkers may be torn between whether to keep this set of colorful, jelly-like glass coasters for their desk at work or bring home—they’re that pretty. Each is equipped with grippy rubber foot pads that previous purchasers confirm lock them in place, no matter the type of surface your giftee ends up deciding to rest them on.
This little box equips your giftee with everything they need for 30 different dice-based games, including a shaker cup, mini pencil, and notepad to keep score (it’s so cute, you don’t even have to worry about wrapping it up).
Who doesn’t love a midafternoon snack? This fancy pack of chocolate-covered Medjool dates will fend off the 3 p.m. slump better than your standard bag of potato chips or boring trail mix. Harvested from California’s Coachella Valley and packed with protein thanks to the addition of cashew butter, Date Better offers creative flavors, like this combination of lime, crispy quinoa, caramel, and dark chocolate.
This recently released cookbook by culinary trio Ghetto Gastro isn’t just an assemblage of family recipes, it’s an inspiring walk-through of the group’s history and personal travels, and it nods to its Bronx-based roots. Peppered throughout is art and photography, in addition to clear instructions on how to put together each meal (plus it’s currently on sale via Amazon from its typical $40 asking price).
Whether you’re routinely on video calls or in the office, it’s pretty easy to figure out which coworker prefers their caffeine intake via tea, energy drink, or coffee. For the latter, this Japanese Kalita-style dripper can sit atop most mugs or pour over pots to brew the perfect single cup. And since it’s less than $17, you can tack on the matching paper filters, too.
Moss poles and trellises are essential for most greenery to grow strong and straight, which is why any plant parent would be delighted with this ceramic stake by Terra Sol. An aesthetically pleasing alternative to the basics, there are three shapes to choose from—a bobby pin squiggle, arch, and wavy top—and all provide a stable amount of support.
A colorful set of quality pens is better than anything the office is already supplying. Whether for bullet journaling, daily manifestations, or simply jotting old-fashioned notes down in an office meeting, Poketo’s five-pack is sure to keep the holiday cheer going strong into the new year.
Since 2020, everyone has a stash of hand sanitizer, so why not gift something a bit more sleek than the standard? From celebrity-approved brand Evolvetogether, this set comes with two refills of perfume-fragrant, plant-based formulas (Malibu is light and citrusy) and a matte, minimalist dispenser that could easily be mistaken for a tube of lipstick or mascara. It dispenses the right amount with one squirt and will never leave your hands feeling sticky.
An assorted set of cocktail napkins sporting Matilda Goad’s signature scallops offers up four playful patterns—and they’re still under $30. These will dress up any of your giftee’s drinks or snacks, even if it’s at their desk.
Forget the incense sticks of your college days. Wonder Valley is all about a ritualistic burn to provide true R&R vibes. Made in Kyoto, Japan, the Oud is a resinous heartwood tree that will provide a naturally woodsy aroma that hinoki fans will love.
If you really don’t know your designated giftee, consider this game an introduction. After going through the deck of 150 cards, you might end up feeling like best friends (it’s happened to past purchasers and players, who credit its questions to deep conversations that aren’t intrusive).
Why not wrap a tinned fish sampler? Siesta’s variety pack allows your giftee, gourmand or not, to dig into mussels, mackerel, sardines, small squid, and white tuna, all sustainably caught in Spain.
Rippled borosilicate glass in groovy colorways—we couldn’t pick out a better Secret Santa gift for ourselves. And since this glassware is double walled, it can host both hot and cold beverages, no problem.
This one’s a bit more indulgent, if your Secret Santa is more personal. The giftable body wash from Heackels is an upgrade from cutesy soap-and-lotion sets. It promises to soothe skin with buckthorn, seaweed, and tee tree, while allowing essential oils like lavender and the scent of carrot seed to linger.
If you’re feeling a wee bit lazy, we don’t know anyone who could refuse an orange and cranberry panettone from La Torinese. It’s already wrapped in pink paper and tied together with an orange bow, so you can skip the gift bag or card.
For the coworker logging long hours in front of a computer screen, gift them eye gels that actually work. The 500-plus positive reviews on these from Skyn claim to help reduce fine lines and puffiness.
For those always with their nose in a book or a podcast playing in their ears, this recollection of the rise and fall of America’s shopping malls might just pique enough curiosity to skip their to-read or to-listen lists.