Whether you’re planning a Christmas party for your friends and family or you’re attending an office holiday shindig, you should always give memorable gifts. That’s especially true if you’re all doing Secret Santa together.
A great gift for Secret Santa can be anything that brings a smile to someone’s face, no matter how much you spend on it. This holiday season, take your gift exchange to the next level with these extraordinary Secret Santa gift ideas.
What is a Secret Santa gift exchange?
Secret Santa is a traditional gift exchange that’s often part of office or personal holiday parties. Coworkers, friends, or family draw random names in advance to see whom they’re giving gifts to – they’re that person’s Secret Santa.
During the fun-filled party, the Secret Santa recipient opens their gift and tries to guess who’s their Secret Santa. As everyone guesses each other’s gift givers, the whole room’s holiday spirit might just transcend the usual Christmas cheer.
- Clothing and Apparel Gift Ideas
- Practical Everyday Items
- The Best Tech Gift Ideas
- Unique Home Decor
- Must Have Travel Accessory Gift Ideas
- For Coworkers
- For the Plant Parent
- For the Coffee Lover
- For the Gamer
- For the Space Lovers
- For the Photographer
- For the Smart Home Enthusiast
- For the Go-Getter
- For the Astrology Lover
- For the Skincare Lover
- For the Wild Card
Secret Santa Rules and Best Practices
If you’ve never done Secret Santa before, it can initially seem tricky to understand. Just follow the below rules so that everything runs smoothly.
Agree on a predetermined budget
Finding the perfect gift without emptying your wallet can be challenging. That’s why Secret Santa gifts commonly have a budget of at most $25, though you can go higher or lower. The budget you set will make it easier for guests to know what types of gifts are acceptable. This way, everyone can get the most out of your Secret Santa.
Have participants create wish lists
Tell everyone to write down their top three gift choices within the budget. Even if someone can’t find the exact item, the list can at least give them a good idea of what their gift recipient enjoys.
Write down each name on a piece of paper
Each guest needs to be assigned their designated recipient for the game. To make sure no one is left out, write down each person’s name on a piece of paper. You can also use online Secret Santa tools for this part if your group won’t be getting together in person until the big night.
Draw names to randomly assign a Secret Santa to each player
Next, randomly draw names and assign them to players, or let each player draw a name one at a time. You can also do this virtually with an online Secret Santa tool to connect everyone from afar.
Pro tip: Keep it a secret. You should tell everyone to keep their recipient, as well as the gift they purchased, to themselves so there are no spoilers. Half the fun is trying to pull your Secret Santa out of thin air.
Know your recipient
Understanding what your gift recipient likes and dislikes typically leads to better gift-giving. Getting to know the other person – without revealing that you’re their Secret Santa – can make the gift a bit more personal and special.
Set a date
Setting a deadline to buy gifts ensures no one is left out during the gift-opening part. Encourage everyone to buy their gifts in person rather than online so nothing gets lost in the mail and the gift-giving experience goes on uninterrupted. It’s how you transform an ordinary holiday night into the gift-giving event of a lifetime.
Open gifts in front of the whole crowd
Each player should bring their gift to the holiday party, keeping the gifter’s identity a secret until it’s time for guessing. The gifts will then be handed out and opened in front of everyone, this way, everyone can see what they got, and the recipient can clearly tell who participated.
Keep going until everyone knows their Secret Santa
The game ends when every guest has opened their gift and figured out their Secret Santa. It may take some players a few tries to correctly guess their Secret Santa, and that only makes the game more exciting.
The Ultimate List of Secret Santa Gift Ideas Anyone Would Love
Now that you know how to plan, organize, and hold Secret Santa, you can consider some of the best high-quality yet low-budget gift ideas. There’s a creative Secret Santa gift idea for everyone – find a huge list below.
Clothing and Apparel Gift Ideas
Personalized printed socks
You can add a personal touch to your Secret Santa gift ideas with printed socks. You can customize these socks with the gift recipient’s furry best friend, favorite sports team logo, or their own face. You’ll broaden the horizons of what can go into a great clothing gift.
Favorite sports team gear
Sports team hoodies, beanies, and gloves are sure to score big when opened at the party. The sports lover in your life will get to cheer on their favorite team while staying warm and fashionable.
Cold weather essentials
Nothing says “happy holidays” like the gift of knit scarves, wool hats, and warm mittens. It’s a great way to bring more warmth and joy to the cold of winter.
A Perfectly plush robe
Whoever gets this gift can spend their evenings wrapped in coziness while decompressing from their long day. They’ll experience comfort like never before.
A Dreamy pajama set
Consider giving a pajama set featuring holiday icons such as gingerbread men and snowmen. Festive images will fill the recipient’s dreams with thoughts of Christmas cookies and falling snow.
Practical Everyday Items
Motivational water bottle
Everybody could use a durable 1-gallon water bottle to help them reach their daily hydration goals. Your gift recipient can take it to the office, gym, or any adventure in between.
Imagine sitting on your couch by the fireplace, sipping on some peppermint hot chocolate, and cuddling up in a fuzzy blanket. Sounds delightful, right? Your gift recipient might think so too. Fuzzy blankets can elevate anyone’s couch or bed from merely comfy into an incomparably snug dreamland.
Total self care kit
The holiday season can be stressful, so help your gift recipient out with a thoughtful self-care gift. Self-care kits and relaxation accessories such as stress balls, face masks, and essential oils can make for great stocking stuffers. They can help anyone move into their new year from a foundation of bliss and tranquility.
Foodies will go nuts when they unwrap their gift and see a cookbook. Many popular movies and TV shows have themed cookbooks, or you can get someone a festive cookbook. This way, your gift recipient can eat like it’s Christmas all year long.
If your recipient is an avid hot beverage aficionado, getting them a monogrammed mug is a must. Their unique mug will add a new burst of energy to their morning coffee or tea.
The Best Tech Gift Ideas
All-in-one charging station
A charging station allows anyone to charge all their devices at once without taking up a ton of space. It’s a great way for your gift recipient to always stay connected to their surroundings.
LED desk light
With LED desk lighting, your friend can see better and mentally transport themselves into serenity. The BlissGlow LED strip light takes just seconds to peel and stick for an instant transformation. Your friend’s desk will glow with vibrant colors that they can customize right from the BlissLights app on their own phone. With just a few taps on a screen, they can take their space to new heights.
BlissGlow Multicolor LED Strip Light
Refresh your space with a modern glow.
Most people don’t disinfect their phones very often. A phone sanitizer is a quick and simple way to remove germs from a device safely and efficiently.
Portable Bluetooth speaker
Music lovers will jump for joy over a portable Bluetooth speaker gift. From hiking in the mountains to relaxing on a beach, your gift recipient will be ready to bring their favorite hits to any experience.
Unique Home Decor
Decorative candle assortment
An assortment of candles can spruce up your gift recipient’s home decor, fill the air with pleasant aromas, and transport them to inner peace. Consider gifting holiday-themed candles so your gift recipient can feel like they’re walking through a Christmas paradise with just the flick of a match.
Coffee table book
A coffee table book can make for appealing entrance table decor that ties the whole living room together. To choose a coffee table book, look for either something vintage or fancy, with alluring colors and gripping textures.
Coasters can keep ring stains off furniture and add an ornamental accent to any room. You can choose coasters to match the personality of the gift recipient and fit right into their home.
A decorative accent tray
A decorative tray on a table is a great place for your friend’s spare change, keys, and other random pocket findings. Your loved one or coworker can say goodbye to misplaced keys, and hello to beautiful – and practical – decoration.
Those who like to accessorize might need a jewelry holder to help organize it all. They won’t have to spend time untangling chains – they can just grab their jewelry and walk right out the door into a whole new world.
Must Have Travel Accessory Gift Ideas
Waterproof travel journal
A waterproof travel journal is a great way for your gift recipient to jot down all their favorite moments. A pocket-sized journal might be compact enough to pack, but it can hold tons of memories.
Personalized luggage tag
Customized luggage tags can help your gift recipient get their luggage back even if something goes wrong. They can bring some extra piece of mind – and style – to any trip.
Leather passport case
Passport cases are nifty, durable accessories that protect passports from damage. Your Secret Santa gift recipient can explore the world knowing their passport is safe and within arm’s reach.
Jewelry travel case
Traveling can be hectic, and small valuables can easily get lost. A jewelry travel case can keep valuables safe in one place so they won’t go flying around in suitcases. As your friend reaches new destinations, so will all their favorite jewels.
Reuseable lunch bag
If there’s one thing every coworker could use, it’s a reusable lunch bag. These containers transcend your average plastic bag, and they can take your coworker’s meal prep to the next level.
All your coworkers take notes and write down important information. Get them personalized stationery so that all their notes have that extra edge to them.
Durable travel mug
For the coworker who’s always spilling their open mugs while commuting, a travel mug is a trendy way to enjoy coffee without the stains. It can transform a stressful coffee chug into a moment of delicious, delightful bliss.
Coffee and tea warmer
Busy mornings happen, and when they do, some people might not have time to finish their coffee. With a coffee warmer, that cup of joe can stay nice and hot all day. You can also substitute this for tea as well.
Customized office supplies
You can give commonplace office supplies such as pens, pencils, and pencil cup holders a touch of personality. Customized office supplies can take your employee’s workday above and beyond the usual.
For the Plant Parent
Make any plant parent’s job a tad easier with a self-watering planter. All they’ll have to do is add some water every now and again, and then, the pot does the rest.
A watering globe can keep plants hydrated even when their plant parents are away for a while. It automatically trickles out water while adding a nice flair to any space.
Plant propagation station
Any serious plant lover will go crazy for a propagation station. This device can help plant clippings grow roots before being planted in soil, letting your friend nurture their plants all the way from the start.
Garden tool accessories kit
With a garden tool kit, new plant parents will have everything necessary to start their nursery. They’ll be planting and growing beautiful greenery in no time.
Floating wall planters
Let your plant lover turn their greenery into alluring decor with floating wall planters. These planters can save space and turn any room into a natural utopia.
For the Coffee Lover
Insulated coffee mugs
Upgrade your gift recipient’s coffee-drinking experience with insulated glasses. These chic, heat-resistant glasses keep beverages hot so your gift recipient can take them on any adventure.
Portable milk frother
Give the gift of a professional finishing touch on top of a cappuccino with a milk frother. You’ll bring fluffy foam right to your gift recipient’s kitchen.
Coffee bean grinder
There’s nothing quite like brewing a cup of coffee from freshly ground beans. Once your gift recipient starts grinding their own coffee beans, they might never look back.
Travel coffee press
With a travel coffee press, your coffee enthusiast can brew their favorite beans wherever they’re headed. Thanks to airtight and insulated features, they can instantly experience the transcendence of freshly brewed coffee while still on the go.
Reusable glass straws
When it comes to iced coffee, reusable straws are game changers for any environmentally conscious person. They can reduce plastic and enjoy their cold brew all at the same time.
For the Gamer
Controller holding stand
Color-changing LED Lights
Color-changing LEDs are a great gamer holiday gift that can truly elevate the gaming experience. With this gaming room accessory, your friend can feel fully immersed in the action – all without getting out of their chair.
Your gift recipient can set the mood in seconds with color-changing LED lights. The BlissRadia LED ambient mood light, for example, diffuses gentle, colorful gradients to elevate the atmosphere. Plus, your gift recipient can control it with voice commands or a smartphone to mentally transport themselves elsewhere without moving at all.
BlissRadia Smart LED Mood Light
From desktop to bedside, light the way to concentration, stimulation, or relaxation.
Mini arcade machine
Mini arcade machines are a blast from the past that can put a smile on any gamer’s face. With these gamer stocking stuffer essentials, you can instantly transport your gamer friend into the classics.
For the Space Lovers
Glow-in-the-dark stars will twinkle brightly on any space enthusiast's ceiling. Your space-loving friend can wish upon a star while tucked beneath their covers and fully immersed in the spacecore aesthetic.
Bring the magic of the galaxy right under your space lover’s roof with a star projector. A constellation of stars will shine in their room with extraordinary finesse.
Sky Lite Evolve: Smart Galaxy Projector
The latest evolution in smart galaxy lighting.
Custom star maps
Capture a special moment with a custom star map modeled after a big date in your gift recipient’s life. This memory, alongside the stars, can be endlessly captivating.
Cosmic scale posters
Gifts for space lovers can be as simple as a couple of cosmic posters. With these posters on their bedroom walls, your friend can seamlessly traverse galaxies without moving an inch.
Solar system stress balls
With planet-shaped stress balls, your recipient can squeeze their anxiety right into the earth. They’ll feel like they have the entire world in the palm of their hand.
For the Photographer
With finger flip caps on the forefinger and thumb, photography gloves are not only practical, but a thoughtful gift idea for the photographer who finds themselve using camera touchscreens in the cold. You’ll make it that much easier for them to get that perfect shot.
Custom film roll keychain
Photographers will adore the unique gift of a custom film roll keychain. Now, they can bring along some of their favorite memories wherever they go.
Vintage camera ornaments
Camera lovers can add some retro flair to their Christmas tree with vintage camera ornaments. These miniature camera decorations are an adorable addition to any ornament collection.
Photographers should be ready to snap a shot at any second. With portable lighting, they’ll never miss an opportunity to build – and capture – a new world right in front of them.
With a lensball, your photographer friend can get a unique fisheye-lens look for their pictures. It’s a great way to help your friend instantly transform their craft.
For the Smart Home Enthusiast
Smart herb garden
A smart herb garden is perfect for anyone interested in cool smart gadgets. This garden is completely self-sufficient – it’s a marvel of plants always getting what they need.
Motion-activated lights or smart lights
Smart lighting and motion-activated lighting can revamp your gift recipient’s home in a whole new way. You’ll bring new light – and life – to their surroundings.
If your gift recipient loves all things smart technology, then they’ll love a smart toothbrush. This unique device can tell them the brush’s speed, position, and feedback to take their morning and nighttime routine above and beyond.
For the Go-Getter
People who are always running from one thing to the next could certainly use a personalized planner. This way, they can keep track of their schedules in style.
Tiered desk organizer
Help your coworker keep their desk neat and tidy with a tiered desk organizer. With this must-have work desk accessory, your coworker’s days of scrambling to find important documents will be a thing of the past.
Instead of your gift recipient just throwing their laptop into their bag, now they can keep it protected and safe in a fashionable laptop sleeve. See if you can find custom-engraved sleeves to take this simple gift idea to the next level.
Stainless steel tumbler
Busy schedules often require a ton of caffeine. Giving your recipient a stainless steel tumbler can help them stay caffeinated and lively throughout the entire day.
Go-getters travel with a lot of gadgets, so trying to find the right cord can cause a slowdown. With a cable organizer, they can pull out exactly what they need in a flash.
For the Astrology Lover
Personal zodiac guide
Most astrology devotees love learning more about Zodiac signs, their meanings, and their traits. Give them the gift of a Zodiac signs book so they can take their understanding to the next level.
Crystals and gemstones
Crystal displays and gemstones can bring positive energy and a gorgeous ambiance to any home. Astrology enthusiasts can use them to elevate their decor while infusing their surroundings with calmness and relaxation.
Galaxy projectors such as the Sky Lite Evolve shine enthralling displays of sparkling stars and weightless nebula clouds throughout a room. Your astrology lover’s fantasy of spending time among the stars will come to life with just the push of a button.
Sky Lite Evolve: Smart Galaxy Projector
The latest evolution in smart galaxy lighting.
Combine the personality traits of your friend’s zodiac sign with charming aromas to create a beautiful zodiac candle. Your friend might just love how the elements of earth, fire, water, and air all become one.
For the Skincare Lover
A silk sleep mask
Help keep your friend’s skin hydrated and comfortable with a silk sleep mask. These soothing masks are non-irritating and chic, and they give the priceless gift of beauty sleep.
Illuminating vanity lights
Make your friend feel like a movie star during their skincare routine with a vanity lighting Secret Santa gift. Those pesky shadows that haunt their routine will be gone for good.
Fizzing bath bombs
At the end of the day, your friend might love to throw some bath bombs into the tub for an at-home spa experience. They can moisturize their skin in a serene atmosphere before they drift off to sleep.
Silk hair ties
For those who wear their hair up, you may want to consider the gift of silk hair ties. These accessories can ease friction and prevent breakage for all-day comfort and protection.
Skincare lovers will adore under-eye rollers. They can give themselves a mini-face massage while bringing comfort to their body and mind.
For the Wild Card
Cozy fleece slippers
You can’t go wrong with giving your recipient a pair of cozy fleece slippers. This is an easy way to help them feel like they’re walking on fluffy clouds.
Mini smartphone projector
No need for your friend to watch entertainment on tiny screens. Smartphone projectors can transform any ordinary wall into a vast, limitless movie screen.
3D metal puzzles
Puzzle lovers might get amused and astonished when putting together a 3D metal puzzle. These remarkable brain teasers add new dimensions to the classic puzzle experience.
Hot sauce sampler
If you’re giving a gift to a heatseeker, then a hot sauce sampler is a great gift. It’s the perfect way to light up anyone’s taste buds.
Your recipient’s holiday season can shine brighter than ever with LED lights. BlissLights offers all kinds of LED lighting options your gift receiver can use to see their surroundings in a whole new light.
How Can I Make Secret Santa More Fun?
Looking to add some extra energy to Secret Santa? Try out one or more of these ideas.
- White Elephant. Similar to Secret Santa, White Elephant is a gift exchange popular during the holiday season. But instead of knowing whom you’re buying a gift for, you’ll bring a gift, and then, everyone will randomly pick gifts from the pile.
- The Yankee Swap. Take White Elephant one step further by giving players the added ability to swap gifts with someone else during their turn. This can add all kinds of new dimensions to your classic Secret Santa event.
- Have a theme. Themes can add an extra layer to your party. Guests can dress up according to the theme, and your decorations can bring them into your own world of make-believe.
- Be creative. As long as everyone’s having fun, there’s no right or wrong way to have a Secret Santa party. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make your Secret Santa gift exchange unique and fitting to your group.
Frequently Asked Questions about Secret Santa
How do you exchange Secret Santa gifts?
Secret Santa gifts should remain unopened and kept a secret until the gift exchange occurs. All gifts should be labeled with the name of the gift recipient. Once Secret Santa begins, the organizer can either pass out the labeled gifts or have each player go up and get theirs. The Secret Santa shouldn’t give their gift directly to the recipient – avoid that to maintain the mysterious, intriguing mood.
What can you exchange instead of gifts?
Instead of gifts, your group can exchange food or pastry items for Secret Santa. However, if you decide to go this route, be sure to take notice of everyone’s dietary restrictions and allergies. This can be a great way to broaden the horizons, and add a fun and creative twist to the traditiona Secret Santa.
How can I evolve my Secret Santa party?
Trying to find the best holiday lights that truly illuminate an area can be a hassle, especially around the holidays. This year, avoid the stress and view our Christmas Lighting Buyers Guide or browse the BlissLights collection now and upgrade your festive holiday decor with ease, for the ultimate Secret Santa party experience.
Here's a ho-ho-whole lot more: Inspired Gift-Giving Catalog
Can’t find that perfect item for your Secret Santa? We’ve got you covered. Master the art of gift giving this holiday season by browsing our additional resources to help you discover the gift that anyone would love.
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