Buying a Secret Santa gift, whether it’s for a work colleague or a family member can either be great fun or a complete minefield. You’ve got the pressure of working out what to buy, sometimes when you don’t know that person very well, the competition with your fellow Santas and the added stress of keeping to a budget.
I’ve been witness to a few shockers in my time, including being the last person to open my gift in front of the whole department, to reveal a commemorative Wills and Kate wedding mug. You really don’t want to be the person who’s well-intentioned joke gift backfires and you have to hide your face to not give the game away!
This year in particular, I think that we all feel that giving a lovely gift to someone is really important. But, let’s be honest, money is tight, so how do you make your money go further? It might be tempting to max out at a bargain store, but there are some easy ways to put together a present that your recipient will love without blowing the budget.
The first key step is to find out their interests. This might be easy if you know them well, or have a trusted person you can ask for tips. But if you’re not close, or don’t know them at all, it can be quite tricky. A quick Google search might give you some clues or their social media profile; try to pick up on a trend rather than relying on just one photo for evidence! Once you have a theme, the world is your oyster.
It’s really important that your gift looks like you put some real thought and effort into it, rather than just buying the first pair of slipper socks you saw in the supermarket. This doesn’t mean that you need to spend loads, there are lots of easy ways to keep the costs down without it impacting on the final product.
Making a present yourself can work out to be very cost effective, especially if you end up making a big batch of something. You don’t need to be an expert chef either, but you do need to be well prepared. Jams and chutneys always go down well; you will need some sterilised glass jars but these can be recycled from your store cupboard. Homemade fudge and other sweets can be just as appealing to make too, and always well received. Buy some fancy gift bags and ribbon to present them beautifully.
If you’re a parent, there’s always the option of getting your kids to make the present too, but that’s more appropriate for giving to family members than work colleagues! A hand drawn picture, salt dough decoration or filled baubles are always crowd-pleasers.
Bargain shops are great for making up gift parcels or hampers on a budget. You can really go to town on a theme, such as gardening, crafting, stationery or even food. It doesn’t need to be traditional wicker hamper either, a gift box or bag works just as well. You could even wrap up each individual item separately to enhance the experience!
As you can see, with a little time and a few pounds, you can conjure up Secret Santa gifts that will be remembered for all the right reasons!