Secret Santa is supposed to be fun. It certainly can be, if you draw the right person. Nothing can prepare you for the nerve-shredding terror of drawing a near-stranger as your gift recipient, though. 

Suddenly, you’re walking an unenviable tightrope. It’s easy to inadvertently cause offence and end up hauled before HR for a post-Christmas party disciplinary hearing. To take the sting out of the gift-giving experience, it’s better to err on the side of caution. 

Thankfully, careful does not need to mean boring, if you plan your gift appropriately. We’ll talk you through some secret santa gifts that will surely bring a smile to even the sourest of faces. Or, at the very least, prevent a scowl and hastily penned email to the company CEO.

Socks

What would Christmas be without socks? This is arguably the most failsafe gift of all. Stick with novelty socks to retain the spirit of the season, but you’ll still be spoilt for choice. Unless your recipient happens to have a peg leg, there’s no way they won’t find this gift equal parts charming and practical.

Diaries and Calendars

Going into New Year, everybody promises that they’ll be more organised and keep a paper diary or calendar instead of relying on their phone. Every February, people rush into WH Smith in a flap and overpay for a generic black diary as they completely forgot. Pick up such a product in advance, looking for clues into your recipient’s personality as to what design they may enjoy.

Mugs and Drinking Vessels

Mugs are responsible for countless passive aggressive battlefields in the workplace. Every office has at least one rascal that insists on using Julie’s dog mug, or Damian’s Batman-branded glass, and doesn’t put it in the dishwasher afterward. The horror! Stave off inter-departmental civil war by slowly but surely assigning new team members their own vessel. If you shop online, it can even be personalised.

Chocolate

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Well, numerous people, but they are clearly of dubious repute and not to be trusted. Supermarkets will be bursting with choctastic gift packs in the run-up to Christmas, or you can order something a little more interesting, such as boxed truffles, online. Even if the recipient doesn’t eat chocolate themselves, it’s arguably the easiest thing of all to re-gift.

Alcohol Gift Sets

Another supermarket classic during the festive season is an alcohol miniature and matching glass, or taster packs of a variety of different products. Again, not everybody drinks, but they could always hand it over to a friend of family member. Having said that, Secret Santa may force even the staunchest teetotaller to change their lifestyle, even if just for one night.

Toiletries

Look, there is no getting around this. Toiletries are the last refuge of Secret Santa scoundrel. You can at least make this gift a little interesting, though. Think more bath bombs, scented hand creams and unique shower gels than a generic Lynx deodorant gift pack from the local petrol station.

This should give you something to work with when choosing a Secret Santa gift for an unfamiliar recipient. Some are more enchanting than others, but they should all manage to evade offense. If nothing else, it’s a conversation starter. You can spend the rest of the year interrogating the individual in question about what they actually wanted, just in time to draw another stranger next year.