“For I don’t care too much for money, for money…
Christmas certainly is the busy season. Just try to book a venue or even make a restaurant reservation in late November or any time in December and you’ll realise just how true this can be. More and more workplaces, social groups, sporting groups, and other communities are taking the opportunity to gather together during the holiday season for some kind of Christmas party.
And it often seems to be the case that the highlight of a Christmas party is the now almost perfunctory Secret Santa game. New versions of the game are being invented all the time, usually involving people opening Secret Santa presents in front of the group, with others then having the opportunity to “steal” or swap gifts. Raucous laughter usually ensues, and everyone comes away with something. Then, of course, there are those Christmas parties that stick with the now “traditional” Secret Santa routine, in which everyone draws someone else’s name out of a hat and is tasked with purchasing a gift for that person.
However it pans out, you will still inevitably be looking for Secret Santa gift ideas, and usually you will need more than one. It is not uncommon for people to attend five or more Christmas parties during each silly season, and spending $20 on each Secret Santa gift will really start to add up. That’s why we’ve prepared this list of fun, clever Secret Santa gift ideas that won’t cost the earth and that are guaranteed to be enjoyed.
1. Battery: Gifts Not Included
We’ve all experienced that moment when we receive a gift and eagerly tear it open, only to find that it won’t work because printed in tiny letters somewhere on the packaging it says “batteries not included.” This gag gift is a play on that moment of disappointment, wherein you give those precious batteries you wished you’d had as a child, but this time with the disclaimer “gift not included!”
2. Chocolate Money
By Life as Mom
Sometimes it’s just easier to give money as a Secret Santa present. You may not know the other guests very well, or you may be unsure as to what would be an appropriate gift. Perhaps there is a wide variety of people who are going to be in attendance at the party, or maybe you just don’t have time to go shopping. No matter the reason, it is a universal truth that everyone needs money, and most people could do with a little extra. If you’ve decided to give money, disguise your gift in a chocolate box for the added element of surprise when your recipient opens the gift.
3. Disappointment Turns into Happiness
Your gift recipient will have to hide their disappointment when they think they’ve unwrapped a Mason jar full of chocolates, yet when they open the jar they’ll find a cardboard tube inside which houses something a little more interesting than chocolates: money, for example.
4. Facebook Stalk Your Way to a Great Gift
If you know who your Secret Santa gift recipient will be (in other words, you know the exact person you’re buying for and that the gifts won’t be swapped or exchanged as part of a game) and you have access to that person’s social media accounts, do a little Facebook stalking and choose a photo that you think they’d like. As a guide, look for a recent photo that has had a lot of likes and comments; or you could go in another direction and scroll through their social media archives and choose a photo that they may have forgotten about. Turn that photo into an inexpensive professional canvas print and you’ve got a fantastic, personalised Secret Santa present that is sure to impress.
5. Exercise Block
This DIY secret Santa gift is quick and simple to make, that is sure to get a laugh if given to someone who is notorious for promising to exercise but never following through. The directions on the side of the box read:
1. Place block on the floor.
2. Walk in a circle around the block, then repeat once more.
3. Sit down.
4. Relax. You just walked around the block twice!
6. Snowman Poop
In essence, this DIY Secret Santa present idea allows you to create cute holders for regular Tic Tac boxes. An alternative idea is to call the Tic Tacs “grinch pills” instead of “snowman poop,” depending on whether you are looking for a funny or a cutsie gift idea. Either way, it’s a clever idea and one that can be made very inexpensively, and in bulk if necessary.
7. Pretzel Hugs
If baking is your thing, or you like to think of yourself as handy in the kitchen, you’re incredibly fortunate because you can whip up your own Secret Santa presents that are sure to be appreciated, at a fraction of the cost of a store-bought equivalent. This particular tutorial also includes ready-made printable gift tags, so all the work is done for you (except for the work that needs to happen in the kitchen, of course).
8. Everything and Anything in a Jar
It’s not only home-made food items that can given in a jar: any kind of themed collection can safely be collected into a jar for a thoughtful, clever gift. This website includes many different “in a jar” gift ideas, including energy in a jar, pampering in a jar, refreshment in a jar (perfect for frequent travellers!) and even a sewing kit: in a jar, of course. Once you’ve chosen your jar’s theme, it’s a simple matter of heading to a discount store and collecting as many small, themed items as will fit in your jar. Then print out and glue on a label, and your gift is complete. This tutorial also includes printable labels to make everything as easy as possible.
When tasked with providing a Secret Santa gift, it can seem a little too easy (and a little too expensive) to head to a store and purchase something. But with a little creativity you can come up with Secret Santa present ideas at a fraction of the cost of store-bought alternatives. The added bonus is that these more thoughtful gifts are much more likely to be remembered and appreciated than store-bought gifts, even though you’ve also saved money in the process.
And as a bonus holiday party tip: make sure to take a group photo of everyone enjoying the party (perhaps you could have everyone hold up their Secret Santa gifts in the photo) and then organise to have that photo printed as a canvas print for everyone to enjoy during the other eleven months of the year.