50 secret Santa gifts they will actually want to keep — all under $25

Samantha Lee / Business Insider


IP gift guide bannerSamantha Lee / Business Insider


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In theory, Secret Santa is a great idea. In practice, it can be a little underwhelming. You could end up with that cosy scarf your best friend knew you wanted – or, you could end up with lacklustre socks from your neighbour that will definitely end up in your re-gift pile.

Whether you’re responsible for getting a gift for someone you know really well or someone you barely do, get them a gift they won’t relegate to the storage closet. If you’re spending money, make it count with something they will actually want.

Don’t worry, we already did the grunge work and found 50 gifts that your secret Santa recipient will love. We’ve got everything from the more generically-appealing, like a pretty candle for your sweet coworker, to the more personal, like a portable cheese melter for your cheese-obsessed friend. Plus, they’re all $US25 or less, so scroll with abandon.


Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Picks’ holiday gift guides for 2018 here.


A scratch-off bucket list to spur their next adventure

Uncommon Goods


100 Things To Do Scratch Off Poster, $US15, available at Uncommon Goods

This bucket list suggests 100 unique activities from little things like “take a cooking class” to big ones like “see the Northern Lights.” They can scratch each box off after they complete it to reveal a colourful image. It’s a cool poster to have hanging and a definite conversation starter.


A set of cool coasters that’s worthy of Instagram

Etsy


Stone Coasters Agate Look, $US20 (set of 4), available at Etsy

Let’s be real – nobody wants water stains and rings on their nice tables, but admittedly, telling guests to put down coasters first isn’t the coolest move. These agate-style coasters are practical, but also add a nice aesthetic, so you’ll actually want to leave them out to be used.


A plant they can grow themselves

Urban Outfitters


Grow Your Own Aloe Kit, $US12, available at Urban Outfitters

Anyone with a green thumb will love the chance to grow, nourish, and care for their own plant. Not only do they look cute, but studies say having plants makes you happier too.


Note: Currently sold out


A small speaker they can fit in their pocket

Amazon


Anker SoundCore Nano Bluetooth Speaker, $US16.99, available at Amazon

This speaker isn’t the best in the world audio-wise (for that you’ll have to spend a bit more), but for less than $US20 it’s a great choice. Give it the friend that values convenience, since this thing is so small they fit it in their pocket and can literally take it anywhere.


A monogrammed candle that will look good anywhere

Nordstrom


Anthropologie Monogram Candle, $US24, available at Nordstrom

A candle is always a safe bet when it comes to holiday gifting. This soy wax option has a simple scent to appeal to many and the monogram adds an air of personalisation.


A reusable bag that’s cute and sustainable

Baggu


Standard Baggu, $US10, available at Baggu

If they hate single-use plastic, they will love this cute, reusable bag. It comes in a variety of fun colours and patterns and the simple style makes it a go-to choice for bringing to the gym, grocery shopping, or even to use like a purse.


A cosy pompom beanie for impending chilly days

Urban Outfitters


Cable Knit Fur Pompom Beanie, $US24, available at Urban Outfitters

It’s that time of year when everyone needs a cosy hat. With a cable knit and fuzzy pompom on top, this one is as stylish as it is comfortable.


A unique condiment for beer lovers

Uncommon Goods


Beer Mustard Trio, $US25, available at Uncommon Goods

Some things just work together. You don’t necessarily expect it, but they do – like these mustards, for example. Beer and hot dogs go together seamlessly, and a hot dog is nothing without a drizzle of mustard, so it only makes sense that the two go great together. This trio has three unique flavours that add intrigue to any dish.


A sophisticated luggage tag and passport holder set

Nordstrom


Beis Travel Luggage Tag & Passport Holder Set, $US25, available at Nordstrom

Staying organised makes travelling a much more pleasant experience. Gift your favourite frequent traveller this matching set that will help them identify their luggage and keep track of their passport and other important documents.


An adult card game that will make parties a lot more interesting

Amazon


Cards Against Humanity, $US25, available at Amazon

If they don’t already own Cards Against Humanity, you owe it to them. It’s a fun party game that always leaves everyone cackling, and I’m not the only one that thinks this – the game has over 29,000 5-star reviews on Amazon.


A carry-on cocktail kit to make flights a little more bearable

Uncommon Goods


Old Fashioned Carry-On Cocktail Kit, $US24, available at Uncommon Goods

This kit fits right in their carry-on bag and has all of the fixings for two Old Fashioned cocktails. All they need to do is add whiskey or rye. This cocktail kit can be enjoyed at any altitude, but it will most definitely make for a fun flight activity.


A catch-all inspired by their favourite pet

West Elm


Ceramic Animal Ring Dish, $US7 each, available at West Elm

Everyone could use a catch-all to collect the small odds and ends around the house. Dog lovers and cat lovers alike will love these trinket dishes modelled after their favourite pets.


A cheese-making kit for chefs and foodies

Uncommon Goods


Italian Cheesemaking kit, $US24.95, available at Uncommon Goods

The only thing better than cheese is cheese that you made with your own two hands. Cheese fiends will love the chance to make their own favourite Italian cheeses. Plus, once they learn they will be armed with cheesemaking knowledge to last a lifetime – now that’s a gift that keeps on giving.


A skincare gift set for some nighttime TLC

Sephora


Clinique Nighttime TLC, $US24.50, available at Sephora

Everyone deserves to pamper themselves now and then. This gift set is complete with all the goodies like eye cream, a creamy face mask, and a sleeping mask, for a little extra TLC before bedtime.


A no-spill travel mug

Amazon


Contigo Autoseal Insulated Travel Mug, $US13.59, available at Amazon

Students, commuters, or anyone who enjoys hot beverages on the go will love this travel mug. As its name suggests, this mug automatically seals to stops leaks and spills, even if it’s rolling around in a backpack. Its durability and affordability make it a team favourite.


A calendar that will make them laugh everyday

Amazon


2019 Dad Jokes Calendar, $US10.19, available at Amazon

There’s no better way to start the day than with a good old-fashioned dad joke. Equip them with this calendar for an arsenal of enough silly quips and puns to last all year.


A mini waffle maker for the cutest breakfast ever

Urban Outfitters


Dash Mini Waffle Maker, $US17, available at Urban Outfitters

This miniature waffle maker is adorably small and will look super cute in their kitchen. Plus, it makes for a delicious, easy breakfast.


A motivating water bottle that reminds them to stay hydrated

Uncommon Goods


Drink More Water Bottle, $US19.99, available at Uncommon Goods

Staying hydrated is important. If you happen to need a gift for someone who never gets their recommended daily dose of H2O, this water bottle can lend some much-needed motivation.


A hilarious coffee table book

Uncommon Goods

“F in Exams”, $US8.50, available at Uncommon Goods or Amazon

This is a great gift for the person who can laugh at the little things in life, or for anyone who works as a teacher. It’s a collection of hilarious wrong test answers that is sure to keep them laughing.


A little backpack that can actually hold their things

Urban Outfitters


Fila UO Peacoat Mini Backpack, $US25, available at Urban Outfitters

Mini things are all the rage these days, and this mini backpack is right on trend. Although it’s small, it’s actually big enough to fit a good amount of their everyday belongings.


A unique hot sauce blend for an adventurous eater

Uncommon Goods


Gochujang Sriracha, $US10, available at Uncommon Goods

Give them a gift to take their hot-sauce habit to the next level. The blend of Thai sriracha and Korean gochujang is sweet, spicy, and unlike anything they have ever tasted before.


A limited-edition pair of socks inspired by an artist

Happy Socks


Andy Warhol Limited Edition Flower Sock, $US14, available at Happy Socks

Art is all around us, but there’s probably one place you never thought it would be – socks. Friends with a more funky fashion sense will love this colourful pair inspired by Andy Warhol’s art work.


A set of reusable straws

Crate & Barrel

SipWell Extra Long Stainless Steel Drinking Straws, $US8.89 (set of 8), available at Amazon

For those trying to make a positive impact on the planet, give them these reusable straws so they never have to rely on the wasteful plastic ones again. These come with a brush so they’re easy to clean and ready to be reused.


A meme-worthy T-shirt

Headlines


Headline Shirts Nicholas Cage T-Shirt, $US24, available at Amazon

The national treasure of all T-shirts. That is all.


A healing Himalayan salt lamp

Amazon


Himalayan Glow Salt Lamp, $US16.99, available at Amazon

Himalayan salt lamps have recently become a big trend in home decor, but they’re also said to have healing properties as they purify the air around them. Whether they believe in the health benefits or not, anyone can enjoy the warm glow and aesthetic appeal this lamp offers.


A set of Hasbro-inspired glasses for game night

Modcloth


Game Night Delight Glass Set, $US15, available at Modcloth

Game night wouldn’t be complete without some drinks. This set of four glasses is inspired by your favourite Hasbro games, making them the perfect addition.


A five-year journal that asks the big questions — and little ones, too

Urban Outfitters


One Question a Day Journal, $US16.99, available at Urban Outfitters

A gift for your ambitious friend who’s always asking where you see yourself in five years. Help them answer this question for themselves, with a daily journal that poses a new question each day for five years.


A luxurious body balm that relieves stress and tension

Nordstrom


Le Labo Camphor Balm, $US25, available at Nordstrom

This all-natural body balm is made with good-for-you ingredients like calming eucalyptus, stimulating camphor, and soothing black pepper. Together, these ingredients work to relieve tension when massaged into skin. They can pair with a face mask or warm cup of tea for all-around relaxation.


A letter board they can leave fun messages on

Amazon


Zen Home Letter Board, $US16.99, available at Amazon

This is a fun message board and a great piece of home decor all in one. They will love using this to display mantras, messages for roommates, or just to show off some random thoughts. It comes in plenty of colours, so you’re sure to find one that fits their space and aesthetic.


A mug inspired by “The Office”

Amazon


The Office Mug, $US11.99, available at Amazon

Your boss or any fan of “The Office” will get a kick out of this one. Let them embrace their inner Michael Scott while sipping coffee at the office or at home watching Netflix… maybe even “The Office.”


A french press coffee maker for their morning brew

Amazon


OXO Good Grips Shatterproof French Press, $US19.99, available at Amazon

A French press makes it easy to enjoy delicious, rich coffee every morning. It’s not as quick as a Keurig (you have to let the grounds steep for a few minutes), but the results are worth the wait. Plus, they will love that they can fill it with their favourite beans.


A mug for cat and coffee lovers alike

Nordstrom


Paladone Happy Cat Heat Change Mug, $US14, available at Nordstrom

Cat lovers will go crazy for this colour-changing mug. Though the eyes start out open, when they add a warm beverage, they will love to watch the kitty’s eyes close in coziness.


Note: Currently sold out


A cool baseball hat for sunny days

Patagonia


P-6 Logo Roger That Hat, $US14.50, available at Patagonia

Give a practical gift they will look good wearing. Those that are more environmentally and socially conscious will appreciate the ability to track the supply chain and follow the footprint of this hat.


A faux plant desk organiser for much needed greenery and tidiness

Urban Outfitters


Potted Pen Phone Stand, $US15, available at Urban Outfitters

If they’re stuck inside an office all day, they could benefit from the sight of something green. This plastic plant isn’t as good as the real deal, but it adds some much needed colour and works as desk decor, plus it functions as a phone stand and organizational tool.


A spice set for rescuing bland pizzas

Uncommon Goods


Pizza Rescue Kit, $US15, available at Uncommon Goods

All pizza is not created equal. That’s why the pizza aficionado in your life deserves this pizza rescue kit. With the three flavorful spices, this set will transform even the most “meh” slices to. If you’re not sold, it was made by New Yorkers – and they know good pizza.


A mug that lets them play with their food

Uncommon Goods


Playful Sports Mug, $US25, available at Uncommon Goods

This mug is for the young at heart who refuse to stop playing with their food. With a basketball hoop handle, this could be the most fun way to eat cereal or dunk marshmallows into hot chocolate.


A microwave popcorn maker

Uncommon Goods


Microwave Popcorn Popper, $US15, available at Uncommon Goods

Stovetop popcorn is delicious, but it’s so much easier to just pop a bag in the microwave. If they love the stovetop taste, but don’t love dealing with the stovetop hassle, gift them this fun gadget. All they have to do is load it up with their choice of kernels and microwave. It’s much more convenient, plus it doesn’t need oil so it’s healthier too – but there is a butter melter on top just in case.


A convenient phone grip for texting on the go

Amazon


PopSockets Grip, starting at $US9.99, available at Amazon

They might seem unnecessary at first, but PopSocket Grips are extremely useful. They can use them as a kickstand to prop up their tablet and to comfortably hold their phone while reading on the subway. It’s a very useful way to spend $US10 (or less.)


A portable cheese melter

Uncommon Goods

Portable Cheese Melt Utensil, $US24.99, available at Uncommon Goods, or $US19.95 at Amazon

Melted cheese can make pretty much every meal better. If you don’t believe us, check out this video to see the gooey goodness in action.


A best-selling book for foodies

Amazon


“Salt Fat Acid Heat”, $US14.81, available at Amazon

Home cooks will love honing in on their craft with this book. Don’t expect just a recipe book, though. The vivid illustrations in this one help explain how to master cooking techniques by looking at those four important elements that are in everything we cook and eat.


A shower beer holder for mid-rinse brews

Uncommon Goods


Shower Beer Holder, $US15, available at Uncommon Goods

Shower time might not seem like the most opportune moment to crack open a cold one – that is, until now. This silicone beer holder sticks to tile (or any other glossy surface), so they can always have their favourite brew by their side, whatever time it is.


A pair of fuzzy animal slippers for lounging at home

Amazon


Halluci Cosy Fleece Slippers, $US17.99, available at Amazon

For those who love to lounge, go for these adorable animal slippers. They come in a variety of cute animals and will keep their feet extra toasty on cold winter days.


A week’s worth of wellness teas

Uncommon Goods


Week of Wellness Tea Set, $US22, available at Uncommon Goods

Give tea lovers the chance to try something new every day with this set of seven wellness teas. Each day offers a unique, aromatic blend they will love to sip on.


A diary for sports, music, or movie lovers

Uncommon Goods


Ticket Stub Diary, $US14, available at Uncommon Goods

A great gift for anyone who is constantly attending shows, concerts, or sports games – and never throws away their tickets. Instead of keeping them hidden in a shoe box or desk drawer, they can use this diary, which has plastic sleeves to fit all different kinds of tickets as well as open margins on the sides where they can scribble notes to remind them of each event.


A tracker for keys, wallets, bags or any other important items they’re prone to lose

Amazon

Tile Mate, $US25, available at Tile or Amazon

Your forgetful friends and family will be so thankful for this gift. They can place this tracker in their wallet, purse, or phone case to make sure they never lose their things, because if they do, the Tile app makes it easy to retrace.


A set of K-beauty sheet masks for an at-home spa night

Walmart

Tony Moly I’m Real Sheet Mask Set, $US18.99 (11 count), available at Walmart

You don’t need to spend a fortune to give the gift of a pampered evening. This face mask set will do the trick on a budget, with sheets aimed at different skin concerns such as brightening, elasticity, and pore care. They’re fun to put on and will leave their skin feeling replenished, too.


A pair of cosy socks for wine lovers

Etsy


Wine Socks, starting at $US9.99, available at Etsy

These toasty socks pair best with a bottle of your favourite wine, a comfy couch, and some Netflix on a Sunday night.


A pair of touchscreen gloves

Nordstrom


Zella Tech Running Gloves, $US25, available at Nordstrom

They don’t need to be a runner to appreciate a nice pair of touch-screen-friendly gloves. This pair will keep their hands warm while they type, scroll, and click away – plus it has reflective detailing for some added safety.


A refreshing post-shave gel for their morning routine

Nordstrom

Kiehl’s Post-Shave Repair Gel, $US22, available at Nordstrom

They’re gonna need a good shave after Movember. Help them treat their face right with this post-shave gel made with ingredients to soothe, replenish, and refresh skin.


A sequin pillow that changes colour

Amazon

Ankit Reversible Sequin Pillow, $US14.99, available at Amazon

You can sleep easy knowing you gave them one of the most fun pillows they will ever own. With the help of reversible sequins, they can write on it and draw fun designs – even adults will be enamoured.

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