The secret’s out! How to give great Secret Santa gifts

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Christmas is considered a time for giving and receiving, but it’s about time we addressed the issue of Secret Santa.

Some people get it bang on. Others get it very wrong.

What may merely start as a bit of fun between friends or work colleagues can become an opportunity to fob off or receive utter tat. There. I said it. It’s not me being ungrateful I just think some of us could up our gift giving game. So here are a few tips to make those gifts more personal than pure, last-minute Poundland presents. Unless you’re into that, of course.



Now, I’m not saying go into full stalker mode, but just try to spot the signs without revealing that you have them as your Secret Santa. What are their likes and dislikes? Listen out for anything they’ve ran out of recently or anything they might be complaining about that a gift might help solve it.

This does not mean that if you spot ‘Bob’ with holes in his socks that you should necessarily buy him some. You don’t know their shoe size (unless you and ‘Bob’ are tight), plus there is the likelihood that they’ll be one family member of theirs who has already got it covered.

I am thinking more on the lines of if your Secret Santa needs to relax more, why not buy them a candle? Or if they keep running out of pens and always needing to borrow yours, then buy them a pack of Bics or a stylish pen set. It’s the idea of thinking of something that maybe they haven’t thought of for themselves.

Despite saying not to go into full stalker mode, maybe take a look at their social media profiles to learn more about them if you’re really stuck…



As much as I love chocolate (who doesn’t?), it does not necessarily mean chocolate should be a Secret Santa gift. Maybe as an addition if you have money left but not as the main gift. If you’re anything like me, chocolate does not stick around long, therefore the receiver hasn’t got much to show for as it may have disappeared rather rapidly.

Ideally, you want get your Secret Santa something they can keep for a while. Try to get a gift which is unique and shows it is specifically for that person. Although somewhat controversial as to whether it is tacky or tasteful, I would potentially recommend getting personalised or initialled gifts. These can vary from cufflinks and mugs to scarves and pens. When done right and the lettering looks sophisticated, these can be a real winner.

If you want to pursue this idea take a look at websites such as Notonthehighstreet, Prezzybox, Amazon and Etsy where there are a variety of personalised gifts available for a range of budgets.



A gift card? I know I am contradicting myself by saying be personal but sometimes we get tricky, fussy Secret Santas.

With gift cards it allows your receiver to buy what they desire (up to a point) but unlike chocolate, they have something to show for. It might mean them choosing out their gift as opposed to you but it should make them happy. You might even get a reaction where they show off what they bought with the gift card you gave.

Either pick their favourite brand (if you are aware of it) otherwise go for a universal brand such as Amazon, ASOS, Marks & Spencer or one which offers multiple brands to choose from.

This is a last resort though. My other suggestion would be to get them a plant, this can go on their desk at home or work, on their windowsill, on a shelf or in their garden. Plants are versatile but maybe try to get one that requires little maintenance and isn’t too awkward to carry home.


Secret Santa gift giving can be hard, let alone keeping it a secret! I wish you the best of luck on your gift mission!


Words by Alice Lorenzato-Lloyd

Hope and Vicky are your lifestyle editors.

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