Secret Santa for Co-Worker

Dear NBG, 

I know that this is a little out of season… but I seem to get a lot of anxiety about this around the holidays. I work at a semi-large company. Every year we do a Secret Santa gift (under $20), and I always get some random person in a department I don’t interact with. Then the panic sets in. I procrastinate. Then become irrational. I don’t know why this gives me so much stress. I don’t want to give a Starbucks gift card, everybody does that. What do you recommend I give this person?

Hmm. I can see why that would give you anxiety. Part of giving a decent gift requires that you know something about the person, which is why this is so challenging.

I would steer away from novelty items. Don’t get them a dog calendar, santa-themed slippers or seasonal mug. They won’t appreciate it and most likely will never use it. I know you don’t want to get them a Starbucks gift certificate, but gift certificates in general shouldn’t be ruled out. If anything, it is appropriate in this case. Here is a fun list of items you can get them under $20:

  1. Get a star registered under their name.
  2. Check out the Things To Do section in Groupon. There are so many local options that you can gift.
  3. Lottery tickets.
  4. Any of these consumable items from our Foodies Gift Ideas post.
  5. Gift certificate to a local movie theater.
  6.  A two dollar bill.
  7. An subscription to a photography-rich magazine, like National Geographic, or Outdoor Photographer.

I have personally given these gifts myself for Secret Santa, and it has always been a hit.

Do you have a difficult recipient to gift? Send us a message at for help.

This post contains no affiliate links. This is 100% my unbiased, unpaid opinion!

Leave a Reply