Secret Santa Gifts and Ideas for Friends, Family, and Coworkers

Secret Santa Gifts and Ideas for Friends, Family, and Coworkers

Buying gifts for friends and family can be hard enough. When you have to buy a Secret Santa gift for a colleague there's a lot you have to consider. You can't be too provocative. You can't be too humorous. You can't be too adventurous. You need to make sure you don't offend whoever you're buying for and you also have to make sure that the other colleagues, including anyone above your position at work, are okay with the gift you bought. Even if you know your colleague well, play it safe with these gift suggestions.


If you have to buy for the opposite sex, definitely play it safe. Make sure you don't buy them anything that could suggest an attraction, even if you are. A new coffee mug that's lighthearted is always a safe idea. Anything that can be used at work, for example, stationary, is also appropriate. Something personalized that's not all that personal like an engraved pen is another winner to buy the opposite sex as a Secret Santa gift.


If you know the colleague well, why not buy something you know they'll like? If you're not sure, wine or expensive coffee or nice chocolates are always good gifts, although not if you're buying wine for someone who doesn't drink or chocolate for someone who's struggling to stay on a diet. As before, you could get something they can use at work like an expensive mouse mat but don't be disappointed if they don't end up using your gift in their day to day activities at work.


You don't have to play it as safe when buying for a friend but you still have to buy within a budget and make sure you get something that will be appreciated. If you've been taking note, there might be something they've already mentioned. If not, try and find out what they're into and buy something they'll love. A personalized mug or T-shirt is a great gift. It shows you've given the recipient some thought and you've made some effort to buy something you know they'll cherish.


This can be an awkward one. If you're doing Secret Santa with your extended family, you might not know the cousin or nephew you pick that well at all. That's fine because this is an excuse to get to know them better. As with friends, don't go for a general gift. Get something personalized. You can be a little outrageous with the gift too if you like. This is an opportunity to showcase you're wild sense of humor or your craziness in general but only if it'll be appreciated. Avoid things that are Christmas orientated. The singing Santas and dancing reindeer type presents that aren't used after the festive period are only appropriate for coworkers who don't expect a great gift from the work Secret Santa.


Get coworkers things that aren't offensive. These can be seasonal and don't have to be anything useful although buying something they can use at work is probably the ideal present. For friends, you can express yourself fully and buy something you know they'll love. The same can be said for family, although you might want to hold back a little bit because Christmas can cause arguments among the family and you don't want to be the cause of that. Or do you?

To Consider Before Your Purchase

Play it safe with coworkers. You don't want to make the wrong impression.

Our Notes

  • Always make sure you know when the gifts will be handed out and have yours ready.
  • Don't ignore the rules. Stick to the budget as best as you can. Underspending will look bad but spending a lot more than your colleagues will also annoy them.

What Do They Say on Other Sites

“I got a brilliant one this year - half a dozen cupcakes baked especially for me!” RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie on Mumsnet)

“Had a guy at my last workplace give a framed signed photo of himself topless a wearing shorts and boxing gloves.” (AmytheFlag on Mumsnet)

Any thoughts? Let us know your comments!

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