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NOW READING The 10 Best Secret Santa Gifts for Under $25 That No One Will White Elephant
December 14, 2018

The 10 Best Secret Santa Gifts for Under $25 That No One Will White Elephant

Holiday candle? Whitman’s Sampler? Pfft! Let’s upgrade our gift-giving mojo with some goodies that no one will want to give away. Here, our 10 best Secret Santa gifts (or really, any type of gift) that everyone will want to keep.


Shopping for Secret Santa gifts is always a roll of the dice. With everything else going on during the holidays, you don’t really have the time to fret over every potential scenario, but at the same time “what goes around comes around,” and you want to put some good gift karma out into the world! I’m here to make sure your gift selection won’t end up in an endless cycle of being foisted off onto cranky aunts or distant cousins.


When it comes to shopping for Secret Santa gifts, my personal philosophy has always been “What’s something useful that might bring me a little joy that I’d probably never end up actually buying for myself” with a dash of “What’s intriguing enough to grab and hold someone’s attention.” I want my gifts to be the opposite of the impulse purchase racks at the checkout; I want to select the things you never knew you needed until it landed in your lap. With that in mind, here are my 10 best Secret Santa gifts that won’t end up being someone else’s white elephant dud.


best secret santa gifts


1. An elegant deck of cards


Playing cards are such a great little thing to have on hand. Think about it: Every home has use for a deck or two. Break them out when guests come over, shuffle them to keep your hands busy, pass the time with a candlelit game of 21 when the power’s down! Most people have a ratty deck laying around so upgrade them with a beautiful gold embossed deck! It will instantly add a whole new dimension of elegance to this common household staple. I love these cards from Miscellaneous Goods ($15) — I have both the ivory and the red deck, which remind me of something a fancy Victorian gentlemen would play with in a lavish parlor.


best secret santa gifts


2. Terrazzo trivet


Wtf is a trivet and wtf is terrazzo? A trivet is what keeps your kitchen counters and dining room tables from getting scorch marks and burns from hot pots. It’s like a giant heat absorbing coaster! Terrazzo is the hot new home decor trend that’s pushing marble out the door. Most trivets I’ve had have magically appeared in my home and look like they migrated from some unstylish grandmother’s kitchen. I’m really digging this terrazzo marble patterned one from Oak and Fort ($24). It’s simple, modern, and something I’d definitely hold onto. In fact, they’re buy two get one free right now so I might just grab a couple to give as gifts so I can get one for myself for free 😉


best secret santa gifts


3. #1 Good Things Come in Small Packages Beautykit


Everyone in the office already knows you’re the go-to skincare guru, so show them a little bit of why you’re the glowing-est Santa around. I love that this little box ($24) touches on a lot of what makes K-beauty so special but isn’t at all overwhelming for someone who isn’t as skincare obsessed as we are. The SanDaWha mist is a wonderful way to show someone how beneficial and refreshing a spritz really is, especially when you’re cooped up in an office with all that recycled air all day. It’s a hydrating mist that contains SanDaWha’s signature camellia oil, which will make a believer out of anyone. The Laneige Lip Glowy Balm is another dry-aired office must-have. It’ll keep their lips moisturized and comfy while adding a nice shine. And finally the magic overnight healing of the COSRX Acne Master Pimple Patch will be the talk of the water cooler when their next unwelcome spotty guest arrives.


best secret santa gifts


4. Agate coasters


A coaster? Yes, a coaster! It’s one of those things that you never really think about that you actually really could use. Your wood surfaces are practically begging for them! Chances are most coasters aren’t a well thought-out purchase, if they have any at all. It’s not a glamorous home purchase like a cushy throw or a cute art print, but the right coaster both protects your furniture and can elevate the style of your coffee/dining/bedside table. I really like these beautiful agate coasters from Anthropologie ($14). They could work with a wide variety of decors and you have eight color choices to choose from. My personal picks are the rose quartz and the dark green.


best secret santa gifts


5. A chic room spray


Nobody wants to be that person that grabs a tacky, unthoughtful (and usually cloyingly sweet) mall candle and throws it into a used gift bag for an office party. Don’t be that guy! We have all either gotten this gift, or know someone who has. Step up your game and take it to the next level with an elegant rustic room spray! You get all of the benefits of a scented candle, with none of the stigma and none of the potential fire hazard. I am a fiend for P.F. Candle Co.’s room sprays — they’re seriously like cologne for your home. At $10 each you can grab a couple to appeal to a wide variety of tastes. My favs are the Amber & Moss and Black Fig versions — they’re sophisticated, modern, and have serious staying power. I love these scents so much I also have them in the incense and yes, even the candle versions!



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6. Papa Recipe Bombee Rose Gold Honey Mask Pack


Sheet masks have gone mainstream, but not everyone has taken the plunge. Whether it’s because they just don’t know how to use them or which ones are good to buy, there’s a lot of curious souls out there who’d love to get sheet-faced at the office Christmas party with you! Give them a little guidance and start them off right with Papa Recipe’s Bombee Rose Gold Honey Mask Pack. The soothing honey, delicious scent, and beautiful golden honeycomb pattern is both intriguing and luxurious. It’s $4 each so I’d go with a nice set of 5.



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7. Bee’s wrap


We’re heading into 2019 and an environmental disaster. Help the earth and your coworker’s bottom line with these super cute reusable beeswax treated papers ($18). My life changed when I discovered these little things. They keep food much fresher than Saran Wrap (especially bread!), and I don’t feel like a giant turd throwing away one-time use cling film anymore. They’ll save money on food wrap and food waste, and they’ll always think fondly of you for turning them onto this office lunch hero.

best secret santa gifts


8. Labiotte Chateau Labiotte Wine Sherbet Cleanser


We all know the amazing benefits of double cleansing, but convincing sometimes others takes some work. What better way to make the medicine go down than a wine-infused, wine-shaped goblet full of game-changing sherbet cleanser ($18)?? Tell them all about how easily makeup melts away with a good double cleanse — just like the way a good glass of wine can make the day melt away.



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9. Wooden alarm clock


Does anyone actually purchase alarm clocks? We all need them, we all have them, but can you remember actually buying one? It’s like the ugly alarm clock fairy just comes sometime between your dorm room and your first apartment and you’re stuck with whatever screeching abomination it decides to leave with you. This sleek modern LED clock ($11.99) looks a whole hell of a lot cooler and comes in choice of four different finishes. I’m eyeing the bamboo one for myself.

best secret santa gifts

10. AprilSkin Pinky Piggy Carbonated Pack


Here’s another fun gift they never knew they needed but will soon be asking you where they can get a re-up. This mask ($24) is guaranteed to be a big hit thanks to its wild foaming bubbles. The pink clay and naturally carbonated bubbles will whisk away grime and oil and leave your giftee glowing!


best secret santa gifts


I hope this list has given you some inspiration and solved some of your holiday shopping conundrums! May the Secret Santa gifts you receive be as thoughtfully put together as these, with not a single cheap scented candle in sight!


What Secret Santa gifts do you love to give (and get)? Let us know in the comments below!



Coco Park is an author, beauty journalist, blogger, podcast host, and all around oddball living in Montreal Quebec with her family. Originally from the southern USA, she worked for several years in the makeup industry as a professional makeup artist and holds a certificate in esthetics. She is a proud member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Want to know more? Check her out on the Beauty Beyond Basics podcast, on her blog, on Instagram @thebeautywolf, and in her book "Korean Beauty Secrets: A Practical Guide to Cutting-Edge Skincare & Makeup."




I wish I knew about this sooner! The ideas on here are great! I must take note of these for this year!! The alarm clock and the Papa Recipe Mask sound like a great idea for everyone!