Though Secret Santa is a fun and much-loved tradition, in practice the chances of ending up with a cheap, useless gift that collects dust in your closet are pretty high.

It’s not necessary to spend a lot on Secret Santa gifts to give something special (and hopefully receive too), it just takes a little thought and this list of Secret Santa gift ideas.

Best Secret Santa Gift Ideas

Hot Sauce Kit

Seven bottles (three glass and four squeeze bottles), peppers, apple cider vinegar, spice blend, a two-inch funnel, five pH strips, two pairs of gloves, labels and instruction card are included in this authentic hot sauce kit.

The recipient of this gift must have a love for hot sauce, so this is one of the best Secret Santa gift ideas for friends swapping presents.

3-In-1 Charging Hub

This smart charging hub will help maximize outlet space.

It can charge the recipient’s three most important Apple devices at the same time, making it one of the most versatile Secret Santa gift ideas for coworkers, friends, family and anyone else who owns an Apple product.

The dock station has a great look, is durable and can sit on the table beside their bed.

Himalayan Glow Salt Lamp

Undoubtedly one of the trendiest Secret Santa gift ideas under $25, not only do these lamps purify the surrounding air, they are said to provide a calming atmosphere and encourage relaxation as well.

Whether the gift recipient believes in its health benefits or not, they are going to relish the warm glow and unique hand-carved aesthetic this lamp offers any room they place it in.

Rokono Bass+ Mini Speaker

You can safely assume that Secret Santa gift ideas guys will love may involve electronics and convenience.

This small speaker can fit right in their pocket and they can blast the soundtrack to their life throughout the house or down the street.

On a full charge, it’s capable of 10 hours of continuous playback, comes with the USB charging cable and a splash-proof travel bag.

United States Watercolor Scratch Off Map

Not only is this one of the coolest $20 Secret Santa gift ideas, it is also one of the best for people who love to travel – especially if they have a goal to visit the entire country.

The map has beautiful foil gold that, when scratched away, reveals a gorgeous watercolor state beneath.

This Secret Santa gift is an elegant way to keep their memories of adventure alive.

Homesick Mini Scented Candle

Memory and smell are closely tied, so it’s no surprise that just the smell of cinnamon and sugar can bring back childhood memories of French toast and One Saturday Morning cartoons.

This candle brand specializes in customized scents that embody the ethos of cities, states and experiences like summer in Chicago or taking a road trip to the Grand Canyon.

Sweet and sentimental, this is one of the best Secret Santa gift ideas for guys or girls close to your heart.

Slate Stone Coasters

People may have water stains on their tables, but there is nobody who actually wants them there.

Asking company to use coasters without looking uptight is a hard move to pull off, but this 8-pack stone coaster set can do the talking for you. It includes a stand that holds them vertically, begging them to be touched.

Look no further for guy Secret Santa gift ideas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fun and easy, Secret Santa is played in both personal and professional settings, but sometimes people can be disappointed by the gift they receive or give.

To keep that from happening, let these rules guide your group’s next exchange.

When it’s time to honor the sacred tradition of a Secret Santa gift exchange, you’ll all walk away with a great gift.


  1. Make a list of everyone participating and put their names in a hat (or a non-transparent container).
  2. Everyone draws a name (that’s not theirs). The name they get is the person they must buy a present for.
  3. Keep it anonymous. You’re not supposed to know who gave you the gift and you have the satisfaction of watching your giftee open yours.

1. Make sure everyone knows the rules

It may sound ridiculous to say, but honestly it’s the best place to start.

Don’t assume that everyone knows how it works just because you do (it’s a terrible feeling).

If you are unfamiliar with the rules, Secret Santa basically works like this:

These are the basics. Of course there are variations, but that’s up to you.

2. Set a price limit

Setting a budget is probably the most important part of Secret Santa. The holiday season is an expensive time of year, and this game is supposed to be fun, so a limit of $30 or less is pretty common.

The smaller the budget is, the more creative people will be choosing that perfect gift. Feel free to make the limit whatever you want, just make sure everyone is in agreement without feeling uncomfortable.

3. Focus on your giftee

If you know the interests or personality of the person you’re buying for, get them a holiday gift that reflects that knowledge.

Don’t know them that well? Think about a time you two had a simple chat in the breakroom or shared a joke. For example, if they always have salad as part of their lunch, you can find a candle that smells like salad or their favorite dressing – get creative!

Sometimes you know nothing about them at all, in this case get something simple. A cool phone charger or a nice lamp are always welcome to most people.

4. Let your sense of humor shine

Secret Santa is supposed to be fun and, pro tip, the unwrapping ceremony is a good time to show off your funny side.

Going the funny route? Keep the joke simple and if it makes sense to everyone participating you’re going to be a hit.

If the gift exchange is between friends, only you know how far you can go and how personal you can get. Just make sure you still have your friend by the end of the game!

5. Receive with grace

No whining or moaning! You may be a great gift giver or have more time to get a good gift, but you don’t know what anyone else is going through.

Try to be polite even if you hate your gift.


Secret Santa has never been about what you receive, but what the activity is in itself. It’s meant to bring you and the people you are exchanging holiday gifts with closer together.

With the right mindset and the rules above, it will!