How To Be Great at Secret Santa

secret santa 2

secret santa 3

secret santa 1

Looking for some inspiration for a last-minute Secret Santa gift to bring to your work Christmas party? You’re in the right place! If it’s done right, Secret Santas can be lots of fun and a great way to exchange gifts between a big group of people, but if they’re done badly you just end up with a rubbish gift and wish you’d never bothered taking part. I participated in a blogger Secret Santa with Just My Look this year (see what I received in this vlogmas video!) and kept all these tips in mind when choosing my present to make sure my giftee was just as happy with my present as I was with theirs.

1. Stick to Your Budget

Secret Santas usually have a budget, and they’re there for a good reason. You don’t want to end up spending £20 on a really nice gift, then getting a £2 box of sweeties in return. If your main gift is under-budget, add in a couple of little extras like a bottle of sparkly nail polish or some Christmassy chocolates. Likewise, if your main gift is over-budget, have a shop around and see if you can find it cheaper elsewhere or maybe even a mini version of the same thing which is half the price. You should also take into account things like wrapping and postage; skip the expensive in-store gift wrapping and get your parcel sent early so you can take advantage of cheaper second class postage.

2. Choose Something Personal

It’s not always possible to choose a personal gift for your Secret Santa, particularly if it’s a “lucky dip” style one and you don’t know who you’re buying for, but always try to do a little research first. If it’s someone you know well, this shouldn’t be too hard – but if you get matched up with someone you don’t know very well, have a quick look at their Instagram or Twitter profile to get an idea of what they like. With my Just My Look Secret Santa, I didn’t know the blogger I was matched with already, but a quick look at her blog told me she loved nail polish so I opted for one of the OPI mini gift sets.

3. Wrap it Up Nicely

It’s always the little touches which make a present seem extra special, even if the gift itself is just a cheapy wee token gift. So, make sure your wrapping skills are up to scratch and make the gift look lovely and festive. I’ve got lots of wrapping ideas over on my Christmas Pinterest Board, but this year I decided to keep it classic with brown paper and candy-cane striped string – simple, but very effective! Again, this part doesn’t need to be expensive, just use wrapping paper and decorations you already have and make it look as pretty as possible.

4. Find Out What the Rules Are

You don’t want to end up being that person who signs their gift tag with their own name in an anonymous Secret Santa, so make sure you know what the rules are before sending your gift. Work out what the budget is, if there’s a type of present you’re supposed to be buying (e.g. the Just My Look one was a makeup & beauty related Secret Santa), whether it’s anonymous or not and when/where it needs to be dropped off. Little details like these can make a big difference, so it’s good to know all this from the start rather than running around last minute trying to work it out.

5. Be Creative

The best gifts are usually the ones which have a bit of thought put into them and are a bit more creative than the norm. Have a look in independent shops for something different, or even have a rake round charity shops to find little antiques or trinkets which you could repurpose into a handmade gift. If you’re a dab hand in the kitchen, you could even do some festive baking as part of your gift. I love the idea of these Chocolate Brownie Mix Jars!

Have you got any Secret Santa tips?

Gillian x


Freelance social media and digital marketing consultant with a penchant for writing blog posts, drinking sickly sweet cocktails and exploring the cobbled streets of Edinburgh.


  • Maria Fallon says:

    I agree that personalizing it as much as you can is the best way to really get it right and nice is ALWAYS better than novelty unless you know someone really well haha!

    Maria xxx

  • Becky says:

    Nice tips! I love wrapping up all gifts nicely, it's one of my favorite things to do haha. I love giving and getting practical gifts like candles so the jar can be cleaned out to use for something else.

    becky ♡ star violet

Comments are closed.