Secret Santa, in a word, can be… awkward. Though we respect everyone we work with, we don’t always know them on a personal level. When we’re shopping for our besties things are easy—but, as hard as it is to believe, not everyone out there shares our love for liquid matte lipstick and minimalist jewelry. And a gift from that new Urban Decay “Naked 4Some” holiday vault might not go over so well with Paul in HR. (Or maybe it will. Who knows?) So how the hell do we pick something for someone we barely know? Just pull trigger and pray they like it?
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.)
Originally published November 2016. Updated November 2017.