How To Boss Your Secret Santa Gift


Chances are you have a secret Santa gift that you have been agonising over. Whether you are doing it with a society, your home friends, uni friends or your family you will probably have at least one secret Santa gift that you just can’t solve.

While secret Santa is a student favourite as it works out cheaper, it doesn’t always work out easier. There is always the possibility that you pull the short straw and have to buy a present for someone you don’t know very well, is super fussy or has some restrictions that make finding the perfect present for them hard. You might want to go safe and easy by getting them some chocolate, but let’s be honest that’s the lazy way out. Any type of gift is so much nicer when some thought has been put into it. So, here are some helpful tips and tricks to help get these difficult people something personal no matter the budget.

What to buy

Items related to their interests

This can be hard if you really don’t know the person, but it is worth a try to have a look into what they like. Please do avoid stalking them, but do actively try to find out some stuff about them. Think about the activities they do, the TV shows they watch, the items of clothing/jewellery they wear, the topics they have brought up in conversation, the pets they have. Anything like this can springboard an idea. For example, you can get them merch from their favourite TV show or an item of jewellery similar to what they tend to wear.

The easiest one might be to get them something relating to how you know each other. If you are both a part of a society, then you know at least one thing they like.

A personal gift doesn’t have to be spectacular; it just has to relate to them. It could be something small. Perhaps you notice they always have a scrunchie in their hair, so you buy them a variety of scrunchies. It can be that simple.

Their favourite chocolate

If you still want to go safe with chocolate, then at least get them their favourite chocolate. Do some snooping, find out what they like. A nice idea would be to get them a selection of different chocolates that they like – basically create them their own selection box. This way you can get them a variety of chocolates from different makes and perhaps a chocolatier depending on your budget.

It is also something that can easily be made to look fancy, you can tie it up with ribbons or put it into a nice box for example. Even if you really don’t know what they like, selecting the chocolate yourself shows that some effort has been put into it.

Another tip is to buy them some cheap chocolate to go with their main gift. You can reserve £1-2 out of your budget to buy them their favourite chocolate – this way if you’ve gone for something risky, you’ve also got them something they definitely like.

Do a little gift basket

Buying a lot of small items focused on one theme is an easy way to put more effort in. Much like the chocolate suggestion, it requires just a little bit extra thought, but it makes a gift so much more special. If you have found out things that they like, then you could get them a selection of £1-2 items that surround that theme. Again, it is really easy to make a gift like this look pretty.

If you don’t know specific things that they like, then you could get them something more generic like pamper items.

Something they will use

By this, I don’t mean buy them something boring and practical, but instead something nice and practical. Often with secret Santa, you can receive items that you have no idea what to do with. You could get them a nice mug, a nice makeup bag, a nice water bottle, the list goes on and on.

Novelty gifts

However, you can also go the other way and get them something highly impractical like a joke/novelty gift. The shops will be full of random Christmas items, so you’ll have plenty to choose from!

This is a classic secret Santa option, but I do think it can be risky, so be careful. For example, someone isn’t a particularly crude person then it probably isn’t a good idea to get them a controversial joke gift. A good safe gift (that definitely won’t cause any arguments) would be a Christmas game or a Christmas ornament.

Buy them something you can do together

For this tip, you need to be reasonably close to the person – both in terms of your relationship and your proximity (the latter is especially important at the moment). An example of a gift you can do together is to get them a board game or activity – this is a classic for Christmas afternoon. Another example would be a voucher for that coffee shop you keep saying you will eventually go into. A more niche example would be to get them a book you could read at the same time. If you have a friend who likes reading you could buy them a book you both want to read so you can have discussions about it.

Where to buy

Look on Etsy

It could be that you have all the ideas, but you just don’t know where to look for a personal item. If so, I would suggest looking on Etsy or any small business sites. You will 100% be able to find something that fits your theme. And it will also be something that they definitely do not have or, in a lot of cases, even seen before.

Go to a market

For an in-person approach, go to your local market. This might be a bit harder this year, but if we are allowed to then it’s something we should all try to do. It is important to support local businesses, especially after Amazon has received all our money over lockdown.  

Lancaster Charter Market has loads of stalls, and even more stalls will pop up just in time for Christmas. This is a particularly nice idea for someone who doesn’t live in Lancaster. They might not have seen the stalls before, so you are offering them something they can’t get locally.

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