12 Secret Santa Ideas That Will Decrease Your Anxiety

12 Tips and Ideas For Secret Santa Gifts This Holiday Season

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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18 Times Kate Middleton Was Actually All Of Us In College, Beside The Princess Thing

Every girl has to go through her clueless college stage before she reaches Duchess status.
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Kate Middleton is basically a household name by now, and how could this not be the case when she has the gorgeous hair, kind smile, and incredible fashion sense. With her constantly in the spotlight looking so put together, we sometimes forget that the Duchess was actually all of us in college!

Here are 18 times that Kate proved she was just like all of us.

1. Going all out in the name of school spirit

There is nothing like breaking out the war paint and screaming for your home team. Like Kate, we all love to get a little messy and make some memories with our friends.

2. Hanging out with the roomies

Some people may not get lucky in this area but for those who are best friends with their roommates, they understand the love. It's a dream come true for everyone who has always wanted to live with their best friends. It's like a sleepover that never ends.

3. Dressing up cute on the first day of school...

You got to make a good first impression on your way to school. Whether it's during your 7 A.M or 4 P.M., it's always best to dress to impress.

4. ...and wearing yoga pants for the rest of the year

And this goes all the way until the last week of school when you don't bother getting out of bed to wear pants at all.

5. Going grocery shopping and throwing in cookies, ice-cream, and every type of Pringles because your mom isn't there to say no

You'll probably regret that in a few months when the Freshman Fifteen kicks in.

6. Walking for miles from your car to your dorm carrying groceries

We can't park by the apartment for a solid five minutes to carry our groceries up to the kitchen or we will risk a ticket, but we can walk a few miles carrying food that gets heavier, and heavier, and heavier with every step.

7. Going out for a night on the town on a Friday night

Dancing, laughter, and fun? Everyone in college has been to a party or two. It's a classic part of the college experience. Sometimes you just need a distraction from all the essays and tests.

8. Being so late to class you threw on whatever your hands grabbed next

We've all been there. Our alarm doesn't go off, we press snooze a few too many times, or forget to even set an alarm and next thing you know we are running around the dorm room like Taz from Looney Toons. You throw on whatever, then run to class.

Unfortunately 9/10 times our outfits don't turn out. Although, Kate can certainly pull off this look, no matter how mismatched.

9. Pretending your walking to the same building as the cute boy you met so you have the excuse to keep talking to him

I am very guilty of doing this. Although I missed my class, at least I got to talk to the really cute boy who has class at 9:45 in the STEM building. It was worth it.

10. Sitting on the floor or standing because you're a poor college student who can't afford chairs or tables

Eating on the floor? Always. Being a college kid is tough and sometimes you have to sacrifice some things to obtain the others. Such as choosing chocolate milk and Halo Top over vegetables and hair conditioner.

Judging by Kate's beautiful locks, she chose the conditioner.

Probably the vegetables too.

We should just all follow her example.

11. Going on cute date with the boy you followed to class-turned-boyfriend

Now my short-lived romance may not have extended farther than us talking and walking to his class, but Kate and William obviously had a better ending. Nevertheless, college is the place to grow and date and possibly find the one.

12. Keeping your hair long and growing because you can't afford to get it cut

Don't trust your roommate. No matter how many times she begs you to let her cut it. Don't.

13. Turning 21 and getting dressed up and going out with your best friends

While this one probably doesn't apply to Kate, since you can drink at age 18 in most countries, all my people in the United States know the sweet freedom of turning 21. It's an iconic time in a students life and marks a huge milestone as well.

14. Passing out flyers for some type of movement or protest

Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger - which is why college is the time to stand up for what you believe in. May that be RedforEd, Planned Parenthood, anti-Abortion, Trump, the Wall, pizza bagels, it's all an exercise of the first amendment.

15. Ranting to your friends about the professor that just "doesn't understand you"

You know your thinking about that professor right now as you read this. And you know that that's your reaction whenever they give you a bad grade or say something you disagree with at the tiniest degree.

16. Getting glammed-up for those senior photos

Pick out your best outfit and make sure it's a good hair day because everyone will be viewing these photos forever... and in Kate's place that is more than true. Luckily she looks as gorgeous as ever. Does she ever have a bad hair day?

17. Walking out of your last class knowing you'll never have to write a single paper again

And purposefully not thinking about how you will be going into the real world in less than a few days.

18. When you've graduated and realized you have no idea what you're going to do with your life

Maybe a prince will be right around the corner to sweep you off your feet so you won't have to figure your life out.
Cover Image Credit: Laura Warshauer

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The Football World Loses One Of Its Finest Players

Bart Starr passed away and NFL players, coaches, and fans all mourn the loss of the Packer legend, but his life and career will live on in hearts of Packer nation forever.

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Bart Starr passed away at the age of 85 in Birmingham, Alabama. The NFL lost a great player. The Green Bay Packers lost a hero. And, the world lost a true gentleman. Starr's legacy has surpassed his accomplishments on the gridiron. He inspired not only his peers but the generations that have come after him. He is — and always — will be remembered as a Hall of Famer, a champion, and a Packer.


Bart Starr was a Packers legend. Starr led Green Bay to six division titles and five world championships. As the quarterback of Vince Lombardi's offense, he kept the machine going and executed the plays like no other. His mastery of the position was a large part of the Packers success in the 1960s. Starr was also the perfect teammate for the perfect team. His leadership put him in command of the Packers. Starr's time in Green Bay will not be forgotten by former players, coaches, and the fans.

Bart Starr's resume is rivaled by few in NFL history. He played in 10 postseason games and won 9 of them. He led the Packers to victory in Super Bowls I and II and won the MVP award in both games. He was the MVP of the league in 1966 and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960s. The Packers retired his number 15 and Starr has been inducted into the Packers and Pro Football Hall of Fame.


After his playing days, Starr would become the head coach of the Packers. He could not repeat the success he had on the field from the 1960s teams. His coaching years do not take away from his legacy as one of the all-time great Packers. Starr was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

One of Starr's last visits to Lambeau field was on a cold November night in 2015. Starr and his wife attended a ceremony in which the Packers retired Brett Favre's jersey number. Starr was the perfect personification of what it meant to be a Packer. His most heroic moment came in the 1967 NFL Championship Game. The Ice Bowl came down to a third and goal in Lambeau Field's south endzone against the Dallas Cowboys. Starr came to the sidelines and bravely told Vince Lombardi that he can sneak it in for a game-winning touchdown. Lombardi then replied, "Run it, and let's get the hell out of here." Starr ran a quarterback sneak for the game-winner and the Packers were off to Super Bowl II. Without Starr, Green Bay would not have won a second straight Super Bowl. His leadership in big game moments will live with Packers fans for a lifetime.

Vince Lombardi: A Football Life - The Ice Bowl

Starr leaves behind his wife Cherry, his son, and three granddaughters. Packers fans will have a tight grip on the memories Bart Starr and the 60s teams created. Starr left behind a template for being a Green Bay Packer. He also left a template for being a good man and a gentleman of the game of football. He was a competitor and a leader. Packer nation mourns for the loss of one of the finest human beings the game has seen.

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