Secret Santa is an exciting way to exchange gifts with friends or family during the Christmas season. But the problem is…what do you get your secret Santa recipient?
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How to Play Secret Santa
Secret Santa is an American “game” or method of exchanging gifts around the Christmas season. Typically, it’s played with a large group of people to avoid the hassle and expense of each person buying a gift for every other person in the group. Each member of the exchange writes their name on a piece of paper and puts it in a hat. Once everyone has entered, each member draws a name to determine who they will be the “secret Santa” for. If a person draws their own name, they must return it and draw again. Typically, the group determines a price limit on the gift to avoid any awkwardness. The gifts are usually exchanged at a holiday party!
How to Organize a Secret Santa
If the “names in a hat” method is too old-school for you, Elfster is a helpful tool you can use. For this website, you input the names of all the participants, and Elfster does all the work randomly assigning everyone with a person. This website also has lots of helpful optional features like a wishlist, price limit, and notification reminders. My friends and I have used Elfster in the past few years, and it’s always been helpful with organizing a gift exchange.
What Are the Best Secret Santa Ideas to Make?
Sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of creativity to make a thoughtful gift. These are my favorite go-to ideas:
- Pedicure Gift in a Jar: Some of us can’t afford a trip to the nail salon all the time, especially with busy schedules and activities to keep track of. But if your secret Santa has all the materials to do it at home, once the kids are in bed, they can pour themselves a glass of wine and treat themselves to an at-home pedicure.
- Tea Tins: If your secret Santa is more of a tea-drinker as opposed to a coffee-drinker, then customized tea tins are perfect for organization and keeping their selection of teas all in one place. Fill their tin with a selection of all different kinds of tea, and they’ll love having some variety for their morning (or evening) beverage.
- “Spa in a Jar:” Put together a mason jar full of everything they’ll need for a spa day– sugar scrubs, soaps, essential oils, face masks, etc. Decorate the outside with a cute label and they’ll absolutely love the opportunity to pamper themselves.
What Are the Best Secret Santa Gifts Under $10?
If you have a $10 budget, it can be hard to choose something useful and thoughtful. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered:
Gift cards: Okay, so it’s not the most creative gift. But, you can think outside of the box when it comes to gift cards. If they’re a coffee-lover, grab a $10 gift card to a local coffee shop. It’s a great way to personalize a monetary gift while also supporting a local small business.
Candle: Most people like candles. They create a nice ambiance in a home, and it’s a gift you know can be USED instead of just collecting dust. Candles are a great mood-booster, too!
Tiny plants (succulents): If your secret Santa recipient is a plant-lover, then there’s no better gift than a tiny succulent. Even for those without a green thumb, succulents are one of the easiest kinds of plants to care for and thrive with minimal watering. You can also get them a cute pot for their new plant!
Hot Sauce: Does your person love all things spicy? Fortunately, there’s no shortage of hot sauce out there with all different kinds of flavors and spice levels.
Coffee Mug: Coffee mugs are always a safe bet if you run out of gift ideas or don’t know much about the person other than their love for hot beverages. If your Secret Santa already has enough mugs, try getting them a nice bag of coffee beans or grounds instead.
More Secret Santa Gifts Under $10
Adult Coloring Book: If your gift recipient could use a much-needed break, a coloring book is a great way for them to unwind and get creative. You can find coloring books with all different themes and pictures.
Socks: Along with mugs, it’s tough to go wrong with socks. They’re cozy, stylish (most of the time), and functional. If you only know one thing about the person, and it’s that they like cats, bacon, cacti, or Bigfoot, you can probably find them some socks.
AirPods Case Cover: Lots of people love the sleek and modern design of Apple Airpods. But it’s always nice to have a silicone case to keep them safe and protected from the elements. Plus, it adds some personal flair to the all-white design.
What Are the Best Secret Santa Gifts Under $25?
For $25, you can easily find the right gift. Whether they’re a foodie or a film buff, here are some gift ideas for your secret Santa.
Pro tip: One of my favorite websites for unique, interesting, and fun gifts is UncommonGoods. It’s basically built for the person who’s having trouble finding the right gift. My favorite feature is that you can shop by interest. So if you know that your secret Santa is a gardener or a music enthusiast, you can cater your search to their hobbies.
For the Music Lover
If your secret Santa lives and breathes all things music, then a gift that celebrates their hobby will make them so happy.
Music Playing Cards: If your Secret Santa is a fan of all the great music legends, they’ll be pumped to use this novelty deck. Featuring loving illustrations of musical greats on each card, it splits up the genres into four suits.
Recycled Record Bottle Opener or Coasters We all have that friend who lives and breathes vinyl. Whether they need their bottles opened or their coffee table protected, a vinyl-themed gift will make them so happy.
Songwriter’s Journal: Some music lovers are also writers! This unique journal helps musicians keep their lyrics and melody notes in one place.
Glass Glazed Stoneware Guitar Picks. For the musician who plays guitar, you really can never have enough picks. These beautiful stoneware and recycled glass guitar picks combine the joy of music with the joy of using recycled materials. The durably fired and glazed picks produce a unique sound along with their distinctive look.
Bluetooth Speaker: If your Secret Santa likes to listen to music on the go, whether that’s on the beach or camping, having a Bluetooth speaker is always a win.
Secret Santa Gifts for the Mixed Drink Connaisseur
Is your secret Santa the person who’s always the designated bartender? Some people can’t help that they missed their calling. Whether you buy them a fancy bottle of top-shelf liquor or a new accessory, there are lots of gifts out there for the mixologist.
Whiskey Wedge and Glass: Whiskey just tastes better when it’s out of the right glass with fancy ice. And no whisky-lover should be without this creative solution to a diluted drink. The ice slope chills spirits but minimizes dilution with this rocks glass’ fitted silicone mold.
Infuse Your Booze Cocktail Kit: You can infuse your cocktail with just about any flavor these days. The cocktail connoisseur will certainly be excited to infuse new, exciting, and exotic flavors into their booze.
Perfectly Paired Bitters Kit: Bitters are a love-em-or-hate-em addition to any drink. If your secret Santa is a fan, get these perfectly-paired aromatic, concentrated botanical flavors to add to their drinks.
Cocktail Grow Kit: Every cocktail tastes better when you use fresh herbs. What could be fresher than herbs you grew yourself?
For the Wine Lover
It’s wine-o-clock somewhere, right? If you know nothing about your secret Santa other than their love for a good bottle of wine, you’ve got to run with it.
Uncorked Wine Candles: What could be a more romantic combination than candlelight and a bottle of wine? It was designer Craig Davies’ inspired idea to combine the two with eco-friendly, long-lasting soy candles.
Recycled Wine Bottle Platter with Spreader: This is perfect for the wine person who loves to throw a fun party. Recycled wine bottles make great platters, especially for cheese and other charcuterie.
Merlot-Infused Coffee: Sometimes wine-lovers and coffee-lovers intersect, and that’s where this perfect gift comes in. This is great for the lover of dark coffee and red wine with deep, rich flavors.
Funny Food Plastic-Free Produce Bags: If your earth-lover loves a good pun, these plastic-free produce bags are perfect for their trip to the store or market. Thanks to the tare information, these 100% cotton sacks make it easy to deduct the bag’s weight from your purchase.
Secret Santa Gifts for the Outdoorsy Type
Some people just can’t get enough time in the great outdoors. A gift that makes that time a little more enjoyable is sure to make your Secret Santa feel loved.
Campfire Roasted Coffee: When you’re camping, and there’s nothing like a hot cup of joe in the morning. These coffee beans give all the flavor of coffee beans roasted to perfection over a blazing campfire, even at home.
Go Lightly – Travel Without Hurting the Planet: With this book, a traveler can learn how to choose the least impactful methods of travel, how best to protect wildlife, how to pack with more consideration, and how to implement mindful practices into each travel day.
Blackstone Cast Iron Camping Dutch Oven: When you’re cooking out in the forest, nothing tastes better than food cooked in a cast-iron skillet over a campfire. Make sure your outdoorsy Secret Santa eats well when they’re out on the trail!
For the Chef
Every chef is always looking for a fun new tool that makes cooking a little bit easier. Check out these cool ideas for under $25:
Cast Iron Garlic Roaster: Have you tried roasted garlic? You can spread it on bread, mix it with veggies, add it to soups, eat it straight. There is seriously no getting enough of that flavor. This cast-iron tool lets you get the roast just right, in the oven or on the grill. There’s even a silicone tool that lets you squeeze each golden clove out of its husk without burning your fingers.
Flavor-Infusing Grilling Wraps: On the grill or in the oven, these natural wood wraps will infuse their favorite food with smoky flavor from Pacific cedar and alder. Made by a family-owned business, the sheets keep food juicy as they infuse their naturally savory notes. They also offer a cool presentation for plating.
OliveWood Salt and Pepper Mill Set: This chic salt and pepper mill set will have your Secret Santa excited to season all of their favorite meals. Food will taste better. The kitchen will look better. It’s a win-win.
Mini Waffle Maker: If the recipient of your secret Santa gift loves breakfast, this is the perfect gift. Whether they’re going on a trip or they’re anticipating a waffle emergency, a tiny waffle maker is a novel idea.
Secret Santa Gifts for the Film Buff
There’s no shortage of people out there who love movies, but some people are on the next level. If your secret Santa recipient loves nothing more than to dive into a classic film, then check out some of these great gifts:
100 Movies Scratch Off Poster: If your Secret Santa is a huge fan of all things film, this is an excellent idea for their basement, living room, or wherever they screen the classics. It’s like a “menu” for movie buffs where they can scratch off each bucket list film—from The Godfather to Mean Girls to The Lion King. After they watch it, they can reveal the film-related art underneath.
Cinephile Game: Movie night meets game night—what could be better? Your Secret Santa can gather up their favorite film fanatics and test their knowledge. Players connect actors through the films they’ve appeared in together, keeping the degrees of separation low to win it all. They’ll be excited to start popping that popcorn and get drink refills ready!
Eat What You Watch Cookbook: If your Secret Santa is a film buff but also a bit of a foodie, I have the perfect gift idea. With this one-of-a-kind cookbook, you can make and eat what you watch with 41 recipes for dishes from the big screen. Think hazelnut gelato from Roman Holiday and double-decker New York-style pizza inspired by Saturday Night Fever.
For the One Who Needs to Be Pampered
Everyone could use a little pampering every once in a while. Some people aren’t great at slowing down and taking a little “me time.” Here are some of the best Secret Santa gift ideas you can give the person who needs it most:
Skin-renewing masks: Taking care of your skin is one of the best ways to look good and feel good. These renewing, heaven-scented kits come with ingredients for fifteen face masks each. This is the perfect “total package” gift for friends who could use some downtime.
DIY Organic Home Spa Kit: This all-natural kit comes with organic ingredients and clear instructions for concocting spa-day essentials: foot soaks, bath salts, salt scrubs, face masks, hair masks, body oils, toners, and serums. Give the private vacation in a box to a friend. Just wrap it all up in the sustainable furoshiki cloth and protective paper packing with seeds you can plant to keep the natural cycle going.
Rose Quartz Facial Roller: With this tool, your secret Santa can wake up their face with cooling, soothing rose quartz crystal. Facial rollers are known to improve circulation, reduce redness, ease swelling, and even diminish the appearance of fine lines. They can also use it with their favorite creams, serums, and oils to maximize their efficacy.
Are You Ready to Knock Secret Santa Right Out of the Park?
Whether it’s an office get-together or an extended family gathering with all the cousins, Secret Santa is a great way to make sure everyone gets a gift that they love. Get your family’s best suggestions for secret Santa on FamilyApp!