The best Secret Santa gifts

Christmas treeEvery Christmas the list of people we have to buy for seems to get slightly longer, so instead of buying for everyone you know, why not give Secret Santa gifts to avoid spending so much money.

Secret Santa, when you give 'secret' gifts to other people in a group at a certain budget, is an office classic but picking out a suitable present, with a small price budget, can be daunting.

Alcohol and food are pretty safe bets and all the supermarkets are loaded with deals around this time of year but if you're buying for someone you don't know even these can be a little risky.

Therefore instead of spending hours traipsing around the shops trying to find something, here we've compiled the ultimate gift list for Secret Santa presents at any budget.

£5 and under

If you're on a really tight budget of £5 and under there are some good presents to be found, but most are more likely to be found in the 'novelty' theme. Nevertheless, here are a few picked out to suit the different personalities of your friends and/or co-workers.

Music lover:

Be warned in advance, if you're getting this for someone you spend a lot of time with such as a co-worker, it could get annoying. However, drum stick pencils, £5 for a pair from Boots, are guaranteed to be entertaining.

More serious guitar fans will enjoy this pack of classic blues guitar licks from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Robert Johnson all for £5 from The Great Gift Company. Each card has information about the song and artists along with the chord sequence for the lick.

Sports fan:

Unless you know exactly what sport your co-worker or friend is into it can be hard to get something precise. Specific sports gifts can be bought at shops like Sports Direct, Decathalon or Soccor Scene but if it's an all-rounder you're after this trivia game from Marks and Spencer is only £3.50 and will provide lots of office entertainment.

Another bargain gift are these tabletop games such as basketball, bowling and pool for £3 each from Tiger.


All cooks, both junior and advanced, need a suitable oven glove to protect themselves while baking and this one from Butlers is decorated in a pretty table linen pattern and only costs £4.99.

Love it or hate it, everyone has an opinion on Marmite. And this handy key ring for fans of the black stuff doubles up as a pound coin case, all for £4 from Debenhams.

Style fanatic:

This Cath Kidson key fob is the ideal present for someone who cares about fashion and needs something to liven up their key chain and it's still under budget at £4.50. For carrying larger items, this handy foldaway bag from Paperchase is £4.

Lucky dip:

Stationery doesn't have to be dull and if you're after something a little bit quirky but still useful go for these bicycle paper clips for £3.50 from Habitat.

Many people like to brighten up their desks with pictures of friends and family and for this Tiger has brought out a small snow scene photoframe for £1.

£10 and under

As the budget increases so do the quality of gifts yet many of the following still fall below £10 leaving you with a few extra pounds saved.

Music lover:

This gift is a little more specific and requires the recipient to own or wear a pair of glasses. There are four music-themed cases to choose from featuring retro images of cassette tapes and records for £9.99 each at The Gifted Penguin.

A bit more of a generic present for music fan are these vinyl coasters for £6.99 for a set of six at

Sports fan:

If the person you're buying for is a fan of cycling then this 'I Like Cycling' homemade badge for £8 from Not On The High Street is a perfect fit.

The 'Keep Calm and Play On' kit from John Lewis includes everything a sports supporter needs including essentials such as ear plugs, energy sweets, handwarmers, tissues and suncream all for £10.


Food sets are the perfect present for food lovers, and also something you can't go wrong with if you don't know the person that well. John Lewis has a set of two pots of pastes, sun dried tomato and olive, along with two reusable terracotta pots for £7.50.

Fans of The Great British Bake Off will appreciate the kitchenware range from Sainsbury's and for £7 you can get a set of two themed teal towels.

Style addict:

Working in an office is all about drinking tea, lots of it, so a specially designed mug, such as one created by Orla Keily for £8.50 is a safe bet. Alphabet mugs are another option and show you've put a little bit more effort in. John Lewis has a range for £7 each.

Lucky dip:

Another novelty product, scrabble fridge magnets for £7.99 from Lakeland are guaranteed to provide hours of entertainment both at work and home.

Oxfam has a range of gifts at various prices for Christmas. For £10 some chickens will be given to a family in poverty and they'll be taught how to look after the animals.

£15 and under

It's rare to get a budget this high for Secret Santa but if your friends are feeling particularly flush this year then there are plenty of presents available.

Music lover:

Any music fan would be pleased with this set of six Abbey Road Studios coasters for £12 from The Great Gift Company. There's also a desktop drum kit for £13 from BHS which we'd advise only giving to people who sit out of earshot.

Sports fan:

Anyone into sports, both the professionals and the fair weather enthusiasts, will need a good water bottle. Bobble's one litre reusable water bottle for £12.99 is one of the most popular around. Football fans will also enjoy the Match of the Day quiz master from Boots for £15.


Boiling an egg is easy but if you'd prefer not to have to watch it like a hawk until it's ready, an automatic egg boiler is a good option. You can get it for £11.99 from Lakeland.

Wannabe bakers will appreciate an icing set, such as this one from Sainsbury's for £15, which comes in its own tin and includes eight stainless steel nozzles each with a different design. On the plus side if you give this at work the recipient will hopefully bring their cake designs into the office for you to try out.

Style addict:

A case, for reading or sunglasses, is a handy present if you've picked out a name you don't know and this pretty one from Cath Kidston is £14. A sturdy shopping bag is also something most people will find a use for and this Castello version from Paperchase is £15.

Lucky dip:

An Etch A Sketch is the ultimate in retro games and Heal's has a pocket version for £12.

Another essential item you could buy is a 2013 diary. Those from Moleskine have a weekly page view and you can buy them at several shops including Waterstones for £11.99 in either red or black.

How to save even more money

When buying your present you'll also need to factor in postage costs, if buying online, and order the gift so it has enough time to arrive. Buying through a cashback website, such as Quidco or TopCashBack will save you money, along with spending on a cashback credit card.

Also keep an eye out for vouchers and money-off discounts to help lower the price.

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