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The Perfect Secret Santa Gifts

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Queen's U chapter.

It’s the most wonderfully anxiety-inducing time of the year for those of us who haven’t gone Christmas shopping yet. If you’re like me and you wait until the last minute to do things that you really should’ve done months ago, you’ll understand the pressure that can come with buying gifts for the people close to us, especially when it’s exam season and we can’t afford to do anything but study. It’s even more stressful when you’re taking part in a Secret Santa gift exchange and there’re all these rules like price limits and deadlines and whatnot. I know the struggle of wanting to find the perfect gift for someone in a time crunch. I also know how difficult it is to find gifts that are generic while also being thoughtful, which are important qualities to consider when you don’t know your chosen Secret Santa person all that well. So I’ve compiled a collection of Christmas-appropriate gifts that fit a wide range of price points and are very safe options for everyone on your list. Hopefully something here will suit your fancy and you’ll be stress-free for the rest of the holiday season!


1. DavidsTea ’24 Days of Tea’ Advent Calendar, $40.00 at DavidsTea

Okay. Take it from me when I say you can never go wrong with tea. Everybody likes tea, and if you know someone who doesn’t, this gift will change their opinion forevermore. If your price limit is a bit on the higher side, this $40.00 tea advent calendar is a freakin’ cute option. It comes with 24 loose-leaf teas in tins holding about 6-13 grams each. It includes some of their best-selling teas and some of the holiday collection teas. This is a great gift for a tea newbie as well, because they’ll get the chance to try every type of loose-leaf tea from black to oolong to rooibos, with flavours ranging from nutty to fruity to spicy. You might end up being held responsible for creating a tea-loving monster because of this gift, but what kind of monster could be better? Also, if your price limit is a little lower, DAVIDsTEA has tons of Christmas tea gift sets to choose from including adorable itty bitty Christmas tree ornaments filled with tea for as little as $5.00, so this type of gift is an option for everyone.


2. Bite Beauty ‘The Perfect Bite’ Holiday Lipstick Set, $28.00 at Sephora

If your Secret Santa person is a makeup junkie, this gift will blow their perfectly groomed eyebrows right off. Bite Beauty is a ground-breaking lipstick brand, their products coming straight from a lab in Toronto (yay Canada!) where everything is handmade and totally edible! However, their products will look better on your lips than they will in your tummy, so just try your best not to be tempted by the tantalizing fruity smell of their lipsticks. All of Bite’s products are cruelty-free and vegan as heck, so you’ll feel great knowing you’re supporting a brand that has its priorities in check. This holiday limited-edition set can be found at Sephora for $28, and includes four deluxe-size mini lipsticks at about 1.5g each in the shades “Fig,” “Pepper,” “Honeycomb,” and “Nori.” Their creamy, comfortable, long-wearing formula is perfect for everybody, as this stuff does not dry your lips out but also manages to stay put for a solid 6 hours. The colours are also quite beautiful, and a quick Google search for swatches will reveal that these shades fit a range of skin tones and manage to look good on everybody. My favourite shade is “Pepper” because it’s a bold rose colour but still manages to look natural on the lips when sheered out. Your makeup-obsessed friend will love you for this. I know I would.


3. Steam Gift Cards, Various Prices at Various Retailers

Two words. VIDEO. GAMES. I think it’s safe to say that any student at Queen’s would really, really appreciate a Steam gift card to help unwind after a day of hardcore studying. It’s perfect for Secret Santa as you can buy them at any price point, and it also leaves the choice of which games to buy up to your “giftee,” which is great because they might be able to finally get the game they’ve been eyeing for a while. These can be found at most stores, including Shopper’s Drug Mart and Loblaws, so they won’t be hard to find. But maybe wait ’til after exams to gift this one, because as distractions go, video games are a damn good one.


4. Novelty Socks, Prices Ranging From $9.00 to $16.00 at Minotaur


Novelty socks are the kind of gift that’ll leave someone thinking you’re a very, very cool person. With plenty of sassy sayings and cute patterns, these socks are great for lower price limits and are especially perfect for new friends, as the cuteness/sassiness/overall funny vibe of this gift will break the ice between you two and pave the way for many novelty sock exchanges to come. You can find these at quite a few stores in different parts of the city, however, I’ve found Minotaur to have the best selection and value. Bonus points if they’re knee socks. Your Secret Santa friend will have you to thank for keeping their toes toasty all winter.


5. A Really Cool Mug. $10.00 – $15.00 at Spencer’s

FUN FACT: I’ve found (and bought) the above pictured mug at Spencer’s in Cataraqui Mall for $11.00. It’s amazing with its stainless-steel inside and I use it for all my tea and coffee drinking needs. I don’t think there’s a person who won’t think this is the coolest thing ever. If dragons aren’t your Secret Santa person’s thing, Spencer’s has tons of mugs to choose from, some featuring different Pokémon characters, some featuring extremely sassy sayings, and some featuring characters and scenes from the best Disney films. This is a great gift option because you can be sure that your person could use a cool mug in their life, but also because if you know them really well, you can personalize it to their interests and they’ll think it very thoughtful of you. Bonus points if you buy them some tea to go along with it! Celestial Seasonings makes affordable, yummy holiday teas that can be found at the Grocery Checkout in the ARC. Happy holidays!

I like cats, among other things.