12 Tips and Ideas For Secret Santa Gifts This Holiday Season

12 Tips and Ideas For Secret Santa Gifts This Holiday Season

How to keep the most wonderful time of the year just as wonderful.

70
views

The holiday season is a wonderful time for friendship, family and community. But, nothing can cause as much stress and overall joy-reduction as the anxiety and fear of gift shopping. I love working alongside my fellow teachers, and nothing excites me more than that finding that perfect gift for someone. Seeing that, Secret Santa is understandably something that I am looking forward to in the workplace.

However, that same fun event can go the wrong way down the chimney if you don't know what to do. Secret Santa gifts can be especially hard if you don't know the recipient. Even choosing whether to go with a handcrafted or store-bought gift can be tricky. The holiday season also lends to a feeling of expectation and desire. Adding both of those together can make for less of a very merry experience. However, what I have before you is a collection of jolly good tips and present ideas from my own toy bag of experiences from the last few years of being a Secret Santa. I ho-ho-hope they help you out! (Take a sip of hot cocoa every time I make a terrible Christmas pun.)

1. Learn just one new thing about your person

Giphy

I learned that just knowing one little fact about an acquaintance or coworker can change the trajectory of your Secret Santa gift-buying. In the past, I've had a couple of recipients who I have not known quite as well as my friends who might have been in the mix. However, I calmed my frustrations by remembering or figuring out just one little tidbit about them. I learned about a favorite book here, or a favorite album there and crafted an idea around knowing just that one thing.

Then, you don't need to know their entire biography and still whip out an unforgettable present.

2. Opt for a gift card

Giphy

I know that there are some out there who fiercely resist the idea of giving a gift card as a present. However, especially when you don't know someone and don't want to make a choice for them as to what they'll receive, a gift card is a no-brainer. It actually shows some thought, as well, because you made the smart choice of allowing your recipient to have some freedom with what they really want and need. A standard Visa or Amazon gift card can go a long way and you can even monitor exactly how much you spend on it.

3. When in doubt, be practical

Giphy

I personally love practical gifts with a bit of thought to them. I am an amateur hoarder and have a lot of, just, things. I don't mean that I particularly have a lot of clothes or electronics. But, I have too much random stuff kept from how many years of "Well, I shouldn't throw it away so soon." Therefore, I have grown to particularly love pragmatic presents.

I have spoken to a lot of my other friends and coworkers throughout the years and they concur. Getting a practical gift, based on noticing what someone is in need of or picking out something that we always require in the day-to-day is incredibly thoughtful.

4. Figure out what they can eat

Giphy

When I say figure out, I mean just know if they have any allergies or intolerances regarding food. Then, go for it! I know very, very few people who would say no to some lovely snacks or even a gift card (hint, hint) or voucher to a nice restaurant. If you even know your Secret Santa recipient well enough, you can treat them to a meal and surprise them.

5. Almost everyone likes the movies

Giphy

I know that I love going to the movies, especially in the winter when everyone has come back for the holidays and the big blockbusters come out. Receiving movie tickets can be essential to this, and actually gives someone an incentive to go to the theaters. This could be an otherwise impossible fun because it's easy to argue out of going with how expensive tickets can be.

And really, this could work with tickets to other events, too. I believe that some other ticketing sites have gift cards (hehe see the theme?) or vouchers that could allow someone to rationalize spending the money.

6. Ask a mutual friend

Giphy

Be a secret agent and a sneak. If you have a mutual friend or a co-worker who may have worked at your workplace longer and knows your recipient, then you could extract some information out of them.

7. Find something in common

Giphy

I love figuring out when someone else that I know loves Buffy, Harry Potter, Parks and Rec, or Jurassic Park. I also love when I learn how much someone loves to bake or read as much as I do. When I figure this out, regardless of how well I know someone, I feel like I have made a new friend. Applying this same (weird, I know) logic to gift-giving works so well. I know that I will be able to give a great gift if it is related to something that I love, too.

This information can be obtained through the above-mentioned "mutual friend" tip or from the below-mentioned "eavesdropping" trick.

8. Think about the children

Giphy

Okay, what I really mean by this is think about their children. This may not be the case necessarily if you are not yet in this stage of friendship type, but as an almost Adult™ I now have friends and co-workers with children. This may be much more applicable if your recipient is in the workplace and if you are aware that they have children. If you do know this information, you could always end up getting something necessary for parents or parents-to-be. This can be super helpful for parents who might not have the priority or, really, the energy to want anything for themselves.

9. Then think about the pets

Giphy

There's always the other kind of child that you can consider, and this is the fluffy or scaly or four-legged (most of the time) kind. If you know that you work with or are friends with someone who has a pet (in which case, isn't it the best ever?!) you can always opt for getting their pet something special.

10. Consider their career

Giphy

This mostly applies to those of us that are part of the Adulting™ persuasion who are working with other people in jobs and such. Sometimes the easiest guess to make is that your recipient will always need things for work. This could result in a gift related to fancy stationery or even a nice briefcase (depending on the budget and the Secret Santa rules).

11. Be an eavesdropper

Giphy

For this case, and this case only, (mostly) stay aware of what your recipient might mention to you or someone else. May keep track of what they express interest in or disinterest in. (Although, don't keep an actual log of that because that could be really weird.) For the most part, this is just a simple practice of awareness. If you stay aware of what your recipient seems to want or need, you have ready-made ideas for a killer Secret Santa gift.

12. It's the thought that counts

Giphy

This is always the most important part of not just Secret Santa, but the whole holiday season. Regardless of the handmade quality or the on-the-shelf price, ignoring the pressures of elitism, and most importantly, ignoring your own doubts and fears, your gift will always be appreciated.

Secret Santa has an additional heaviness to it because of the nature of opting in. It can seem that way because you chose to give and receive a gift, that your contribution must be brilliant and unique. But, in reality, this is isn't always the case or in any ways reasonable. So, if you have truly tried to be the best Secret Santa you can be and you love the thought you have put into your gift, that's all anyone wants to know and feel.

So, this lovely holiday season have a peppermint bark and an apple cider on me! (I don't like eggnog. I know it's an unpopular opinion. Don't @ me.) Have a beautiful wintertime regardless of how you celebrate, stay warm, and enjoy that break coming up soon. Also, good luck to all those out there with those last remaining finals. You got this!

Popular Right Now

Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
300786
views

When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

598
views

"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

Giphy

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

Related Content

Facebook Comments