Five last-minute Secret Santa gifts

Christmastime: novelty gifts and wine…

Whether you’re a big fan of the annual anonymous exchange of presents around the office, or you’re begrudgingly forced into buying something for a stranger for five-pounds-or-less, choosing what to get for Secret Santa can often be a puzzling ordeal. Especially if you’ve left it late.

We’ve already covered some Secret Santa dos and don’ts, but if you’re still struggling for festive inspiration, here are six last-minute gift ideas that ‘Santa’ (and/or you) could be bringing this year:


1. The gift in a jar

So, it’s the evening before the big Secret Santa reveal, and you’ve totally forgotten to buy anything.

Unfortunately, even one-day delivery can’t save you now – it’s time to go DIY.

The good news is, there is a quick-fire way to fashion a thoughtful gift with a limited number of resources. Simply fill a jar with your co-worker’s favourite things (e.g. sweets, chocolate, anything else that’s vaguely edible). Decorate it with a bow and some ribbon, and you’re done.

If the person in question isn’t a fan of childhood treats, simply change the contents of the jar. Mini bottles of alcohol or hot drink sachets are also pretty good options.

NB: an ‘IOU’ is not.

500ml Glass Jar for £2.75 at Amazon.


2. The novelty mug

If it’s witty slogans, bad puns, and personalised jokes you’re after, mugs really do have it all.

Use what you know about the person to make an educated guess on what type of mug they (or anyone else in the office) would find absolutely hilarious, then sit back and patiently wait for the LOLs to come rolling in.

If in doubt, remember: hot drinks + biscuits = win-win.

Biscuit Pocket Mug for £5.99 at Amazon.


3. The game

If your Secret Santa is the same day as your Christmas party, why not kill two birds with one stone and avoid work all afternoon*?

You just need the right game, and the right group of people. But pick wisely – especially if you’re likely to start playing in the office. All it takes is some competitive co-workers and a few choice words before people start referring to your gift as ‘The Travel Twister Incident’.

If in doubt, play it safe and go for a classic. Everyone likes Pointless, right?

And to avoid any awkward situations, we probably wouldn’t recommend ‘Cards Against Humanity’.

Pointless Mini Game for £7.99 at Amazon.


4. The pampering gift set

AKA, the ‘safe option’.

It’s guaranteed that anyone will need some kind of pampering product in their lives at some point. So why not save the hassle of them buying it for themselves, and treat them to an upscale version of their usual body lotion and bubble bath?

Normally pre-packaged as a gift, and sometimes decorated with a bow and other Christmas themed finishes, this is a ready-made present in itself. All you need to do is cater your choice to the person’s gender and taste.

Just don’t go overboard – having your co-worker think you’re trying to address a personal hygiene issue is unlikely to ever end well.

Snow Fairy Shower Gel for £8.25 at Lush.


5. The desk décor

Finally, why not bring it right back to the office?

In the assumption that you’ve spent the last few weeks covertly glancing over at your co-worker’s desk for inspiration, you’ll probably have noticed the types of decorative (or entirely functional) objects they like to keep on display.

Your job is to add to it, or figure out what’s missing. Is your co-worker a massive neat freak? Get them a unique desk tidy. Are they easily flustered? Sounds like they need a stress ball. A big collector of Lego figurines? You know what to do.

If you’re still stuck for ideas, just use the force. And by force, we mostly mean R2D2 themed desk-hoovers….

Funko Pop! Star Wars Porg Vinyl Figure for £9.88 at Amazon.


* do not condone avoiding work. 


Honourable mentions: Emoji magnets, Instagram photo prints, a USB cup warmer, alcohol.

Things to avoid: Stationery, novelty underwear, your own unwanted gift, a signed picture of yourself.