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Chances are you’ve probably participated in a game of Secret Santa or some form of gift exchange. However, after years and years of the same old cliché gifts, these traditions may have started to feel overrated. These gift exchanges should be exciting and thrilling, not burdensome or frustrating. So why do we keep doing them if so many people see them as an inconvenience?

These traditions may seem repetitive, but at the end of the day, people give gifts to the people involved because they cherish them. It’s not about the physical gift. It’s important to remind friends and family that you care about them and are thinking of them during the holidays.

Nonetheless, the gift giving season should be fun, and the best way to make sure it’s an exciting experience for everyone involved is to come up with unique gift ideas.

Secret Santa is known for being a more creative way of gift giving, where each person in a group of people is assigned one person to give a gift to, and (ideally) no one knows who is giving a gift to who. If you’re similar to me, the secrecy makes it all the much more fun because I struggle to keep it to myself, and I constantly wonder who is giving me a gift!

If you are participating in a Secret Santa gift exchange this year, here are some unique and creative gifts to give your friends and family.

A scrapbook

As convenient and nice as store-bought gifts are, no gift is more personal and special than a gift made from scratch. If you’ve known someone for a while, making a scrapbook is a great way to remind them of all of your memories together and create a lasting reminder of your friendship. Plus, scrapbooks can be individualized with pictures, stickers and text. If you are feeling extra silly, you can add some humor to the gift, too. Not sure how to do that? One way you could be funny is by making a mood board on one of the pages filled with funny qualities that your friend has or including some iconic, ridiculous pictures of them with silly quotes they have said over the years.

Anything from Bath & Body Works

If you know me, you know how much I love Bath & Body Works, and I will never get sick of receiving their products. You can stray away from the typical clothing and jewelry gifts by gifting your friends and family a great smelling perfume or candle. There are so many different flavors and scents to choose from--along with an endless selection of products--so there is something for everyone on your list.

Personalized gifts

Something customized to the likes and passions of whoever is receiving the gift is bound to be a hit. Some of my personal favorite custom gifts are mugs, bags and picture frames. Another one of my favorites is customized socks! There are also sites where you can order a custom blanket with your loved ones’ dog or cat on it!

Something to fill their stomach

Who wouldn’t be happy unwrapping a delicious treat during the holidays? Decorative and delicious foods are a huge part of the holiday season, so getting someone food may be the answer to all of your problems. If you’re confident in your own abilities, baking and decorating the dessert yourself is a great way to make the gift extra special. If you know someone has a sweet tooth or a weak spot for chocolate, this is definitely your solution!

A Cameo video

If you don’t know what it is, Cameo is a website where people can purchase customized videos from their favorite celebrities and influencers. A Cameo isn’t usually something people think to buy on their own, so surprising someone with a customized video from their favorite singer or TV star might just make their day.

A card game

If you've never played a game like “What Do You Meme?,” it’s time to purchase this knee-slapper. This is the perfect game to play with a group of friends and the perfect way to celebrate the holidays. If your friend already has this game, don’t worry! There are a ton of other fun party games like this to choose from.

Tickets to an event

Even though it may be on the pricier side, if you are looking for a way to put a smile on someone’s face, this is the ideal gift. Whether it’s tickets to a sports game, museum or even just a movie, planning out a day for you and a friend or family member is the best way to create a lasting, meaningful memory.

The holidays should be a time to cherish your family and friends rather than stress about giving gifts. I hope this can be your go-to list this year to help make your loved ones feel extra special during the holiday season.

Jolie Freedman is a Sophomore at the University of Florida and is from Melville, New York. Jolie is working towards achieving a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with an outside concentration in marketing. Jolie has a passion for storytelling and digital media, and she places a heavy emphasis on the importance of social media. Jolie is also a campus trendsetter for Her Campus Media and an ambassador for the College of Journalism and Communications. Aside from her journalistic involvement, Jolie enjoys skiing and art. Jolie's inspiration to join the Her Campus community stems from her involvement as the Print Manager and Staff Writer/Editor for her high school's newspaper.
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