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Secret Santa Gift Guide

The holiday season is officially upon us and that means it’s time to do some serious shopping. Many friend groups, student organizations, offices and teams participate in a variation of a Secret Santa gift exchange where you are assigned one person to shop for and will give your gift to at a holiday party. These gifts are typically not extravagant and are supposed to be kept within a certain budget, which may be challenging but also gives you the opportunity to get creative. If you’re having trouble finding the perfect gift, here is a list of ten suggestions that are all under $20:

1. For the fashionista:  Nail polish and make up bag

We all know someone who is an avid nail polish user, and is always sporting a perfect manicure. Consdier gifting them the Essie Holiday Collection, which features mini samples of this season’s top colors. The nail polish is only twelve dollars, so you may even want to purchase a fun make-up pouch from Amazon (they have really inexpensive options) to hold them, which will also add to the presentation of the gift giving. 

2. For the one who prefers a movie to going out: Fuzzy socks and scarf

This is the perfect gift for that friend who always votes for pizza and wine rather than going out to the bars. This J. Crew Holiday sock collection is great for those cold winter nights spent on the couch with your favorite book and a cup of hot chocolate. These socks are as fastive as they are warm and cozy! If your gift spending limit is a bit higher, consider adding a fun patterened warm scarf to go along with them. J. Crew has some great options for this as well. 

3. For the friend who needs some relaxation: Candles and bath bomb

The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone. Finals have luckily wrapped up, but then comes the wave of family, travel and maybe a little too much socialization. If your Secret Santa is feeling the holiday stress, this Yankee Candle gift set would be perfect to help them get that much needed R&R. Conisder gifting this with Target’s holiday themed bath bombs “Snow Ball” and “Santa Bomb” for the ultimate holiday spa themed gift. 

4. For the friend who is always late: Coffee/travel mug

This mug speaks the truth. For many of us, coffee is our most trusted sidekick and reason for success, so this is the perfect gift for anyone who would agree. Luckily, this mug also comes in a travel thermos option on Amazon, becasue chances are if you’re running late your coffee is to-go. 

5. For the tech friend: Waterproof speakers

Wireless speakers are a necessity in any college dorm or apartment and contrary to popular belief, they do not have to be a large investment. These SoundBot speakers that you can order on Amazon are only $18, and can be delievered quickly if you have saved shopping for the last minute, as many of us do. These speakers are also waterproof, which is perfect for listening to music in the shower or just to relieve the stress of encountering any spills. If you want to take your gift to the next level, make your secret Santa a Spotify playlist with their favoirte songs!

6. For the active one: Step counter

Step counters are another tech item that have the repuation of being expensive for a quality product. However, that is not the case. Most step counters are more or less the same depending on how many features you are looking for. This Smart Watch option on Amazon is only 15 dollars and includes a pedometer and a calorie counter, so that the user can track their fitness levels. 

7. For the tipsy one: Wine glasses

Wine is arguably as important as coffee when it comes to dealing with life. This novelty wine glass gets straight to the point, and holds an impressive 12oz of wine, which may feel necessary at the end of some days. This funny wine glass is only $10 from Bed Bath and Beyond, so consider gifting a bottle of their variety to go with it!

8. For the trend setter: Choker and earrings

Despite how you may feel about them personally, chockers have definitly made their comeback and seem as though they are here to stay. If the person you are buying a gift for is known for their fashion and accessorizing, check out Urban Outfitter’s selection of chockers, necklaces and earrings. They are reasonably priced and would make a great gift that your friend can get immediate use out of during the holiday party season. 

9. For the world traveler: Journal and pens

This is the perfect gift for your friend who always seems to be emabarking on their next adventure. Whether it  be a day trip to a nearby park or traveling abroad, having a place to write your thoughts and experiences is an important part of any trip. This would also make a great gift if your friend will be studying abroad next semester! Etsy has some incredible options, most of which can be personalized for an added special touch. 

10. For the binge watcher: 

TV shows have a way of becoming part of our identity, as they often relate to our sense of humor and outlook on life. They must be a good descriptor of who we are, as it is often one of the first questions asked when trying to get to know someone. TV shows offer great talking points and remain relevant long after they are discontinued due to their classic lines. If you know someone who is obessed with a particular show consider getting them something that only a true fan would understand: (Amazon has amazing choices for nearly every popular TV Show). 

This Tshirt referencing “The Office”:

This mashup of the best lines from “Friends”:

Or this novelty mug from “Parks and Rec”:


Happy gift giving!

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Amanda Matos


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