Are you playing Secret Santa this year?
Whether you’re pulling names out of a hat with friends, family or colleagues, it can be tough to come up with a Christmas-worthy gift - especially if you have a strict budget, as is traditional with this festive game.
But first, a quick run through for those who have never played, or anyone who might need a refresher.
What is Secret Santa?
How it works is like this: each participant writes their name on a scrap of paper before folding it and putting it in a hat or bowl. The bowl is then shaken and you pick a name out of the hat. Whoever’s name you get is your giftee and you’re their Secret Santa. You’re not allowed to reveal your recipient to anyone else, and must buy a gift at a set limit (usually £10 or less) to wrap and put in a pre-assigned spot by an agreed date. Tag the gift with your recipient’s name, but crucially, not yours. Once the gift has been opened, the giftee must guess who their Secret Santa was.
Got it? It’s fun to play; everyone gets a gift and you can usually get creative with friends and colleagues, playing on in-jokes or getting them something you know they really want for just a few pounds.
However if you pick the name of someone you don’t know very well, it can be hard to think what exactly to wrap. And that’s where we come in.
We’ve compiled a crack list of the best Secret Santa gifts to buy for less than a fiver. From novelty presents to jokey gifts and even helpful tiny tech, here’s how to nail Secret Santa this Christmas.
See our favourite Secret Santa gifts to buy now
Firebox CBD Christmas Pudding
Best for: your experimental mate
Firebox is a brand that's got its finger firmly on the pulse, and for Christmas has combined a favourite festive food with new wonder ingredient CBD. It's completely legal; the only high they'll feel is a Christmassy one.
£9.99 | Firebox | Buy it now
Prezzybox Personalised Face Mouse Mat
Best for: a work ex-husband or wife
If you've moved jobs away from your work spouse, this personalised mouse mat is the perfect way to stay by their side.
£9.99 | Prezzybox | Buy it now
Fortnum & Mason Brandy Snaps, 100g
Best for: the sweet-toothed
Fortnum & Mason may be the poshest grocers in the land but you can still bag luxury treats with change from a fiver. These delicious brandy snaps are perfect for friends and family with a soft spot for sweets. The golden crunchy treats are perfect on their own or paired with ice cream or melted chocolate.
£4.95 | F&M | Buy it now
Paperchase Rainbow Metal Straws
Best for: the eco-warrior
For those who wish to give something useful to their recipient, we present this set of four metal straws that come with a cleaning brush so they can use over again without any trouble. Every little helps.
£4.50 | Paperchase | Buy it now
World’s Smallest Microscope
Best for: the detail-orientated
Providing 10x magnification and featuring adjustable focus as well as an LED light, this palm-sized microscope is perfect for those who want to examine everything from the backgrounds on banknotes to the cell structure of leaves.
£6 | Urban Outfitters | Buy it now
M&S Small Bicycle Kit
Best for: the city bike commuter
A crucial bit of kit for anyone who's made mode of transport is on two wheels, this kit comes with a dumbbell spanner, puncture repair kit and two reflective bicycle clips.
£8 | M&S | Buy it now
RMG 40 Year Brass Keyring
Best for: key forgetters
Everyone owns a set of keys, so a charm to dangle from them should go down well. This one is from Royal Museums Greenwich and spins to show you the days and dates of every year for the next 40 years. The calendar is updated annually and will begin from the year it was bought, in this case 2019.
£6 | RMG | Buy it now
Lucy Bee Soap and Coconut Shell Soap Dish
Best for: being green and clean
Made with 100 per cent coconut oil, Lucy Bee's soaps not only smell divine but they're palm oil and cruelty free too! They lather brilliantly and will leave your skin feeling hydrated yet squeaky clean.
£8.95 | Lucy Bee | Buy it now *On sale from £11.95
IWOOT Grow It Prosecco
Best for: a princess lifestyle on a pauper's budget
Nudging ever so slightly beyond the £10 mark, the prospect of being able to grow your own prosecco is worth going 99 pence over budget. The kit contains everything you need to nurture and grow your own glass of bubbles.
£10.99 | IWOOT | Buy it now
Huggable Corgi Handwarmer
Best for: pet-less animal lovers
This adorable corgi hand warmer will keep their hands and their hearts toasty. It's filled with natural buckwheat and lavendar and can be revived after each use with a spell in the microwave.
£9 | Urban Outfitters | Buy it now
Zara Emotions x Jo Loves
Best for: the fragrance lover
Created by one of the best noses in beauty, Zara's latest fragrance line is made in collaboration with Jo Loves, headed by Jo Malone MBE.
There are eight EDPs to choose from (we like the sound of the dreamy Tubereuse Noir most) and while the 90ml cost more than most Secret Santa rules allow (£25.99), the are 10ml minis available for an exceedingly bank balance-friendly £5.99.
£5.99 | Zara | Buy it now
SockShop Men's Heat Holder 1.6 Tog Lite Socks
Best for: cold feet
Cold feet are the worst. Banish the chill with these toasty socks that will wrap feet in 1.6 tog of pure cosiness.
£7.99 | SockShop | Buy it now
No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference Book
Best for: nurturing environmentalism
Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg has become the poster girl for action against climate change.
This tiny book contains Greta's speeches that form a rallying cry to protect the world we live in. A more mindful take on Secret Santa than the usual novelty tat.
£2.99 | Oliver Bonas | Buy it now
Five Guys Gift Vouchers
Best for: the burger aficionado
Vouchers can feel like a cop-out but when it’s a gift card for US-chain Five Guys, well that’s tough to top. Whether they're familiar with the delights of the diner-style burger chain or are yet to try their dreamy double patties (not to mention festive gingerbread milkshakes), a gift card to spend in-store will help them on their path to burger enlightenment.
The only downside is that they're not available to buy online, but with the 100th UK restaurant opening in St. Paul’s we're sure there's a branch near you.
From £5 | Find your nearest store
Nestlé Quality Street
Best for: everyone
When in doubt, a box of Quality Street is guaranteed to be welcomed with open arms. It's a perfect option if you happen to choose the name of someone you don't know well and are short on time (but definitely didn't forget).
£2 | Waitrose | Buy it now
Oliver Bonas Pocket RuPaul Wisdom Book
Best for: pocket-sized sass
The infinite wisdom of RuPaul should be available to all, but especially your Secret Santa recipient. Packing in witty quotes and bolshy advice into 96 pages, it's a fun read that will delight any fan of the ultimate drag superstar.
£6.99 | Oliver Bonas | Buy it now
Next Alphabet Mug
Best for: tea break glamour
Upgrade the style stakes of their usual cuppa with a monochrome and metallic mug from Next.
£5 | Next | Buy it now
SAMY - Shovel Shape Metal Bottle Opener (Gold)
Best for: beer garden types
This cute spade-shaped gadget makes a great gift for those who like nothing better than kicking back with a cold bottle of beer.
£5.99 | Amazon | Buy it now
Hair Of The Dog DOF Glass
Best for: the morning after the office Christmas party
We all know someone who will end up worse for wear the morning after the work party. Help their hangover with this hand-blown double old-fashioned glass, etched with a pooch and the words 'hair of the dog' in gold.
£8 | Anthropologie | Buy it now