Depending on how you feel about gift-giving, team bonding, and the holidays in general, Secret Santa can either be the best or worst part of the season—especially if you work in an office where the tradition is, well, somewhat less than voluntary. What do you get for coworkers you only see from 9 to 5? Will Jenn in HR ever actually use a fancy ballpoint pen? Does Mark in sales eat chocolate, or has he gone Paleo again?
Long gone are the days when you could give your classmate a new Lip Smackers and call it a day—actually, who knows, maybe your ’90s-loving assistant would be thrilled.
And while it’s tempting to just pick up something easy, cheap, and preferably edible on your way into work, we propose you put in just a teensy bit more effort this year and choose something no one else will have bought. With a little forethought, you, my friend, will be the master of Secret Santa, the guru of gift exchange, the wizard of white elephant. Your other coworkers will seethe with envy—or at least be a little miffed you didn’t pull their name.
No matter who you’re buying for, you can’t go wrong getting them something to gussy-up their desk, like twinkly lights or a fancy pencil cup (if it’s an open floor plan, bonus: you benefit, too!) Condiments are an unexpected break from the barrage of sweets this time of year; try Hot Honey for spice fans, or a bottle of grown-up balsamic vinegar for desk-salad devotees.
In the gallery, shop 25 Secret-Santa gifts so good, you’ll want to get them yourself. (Hint: forward this around to your office and you just might.)