Secret Santa exchanges should, in theory, be a lot of fun, because who doesn’t like getting presents? But drawing the name of someone whose interests you barely know — or someone you really want to impress (e.g., the big boss) — can pose a daunting gifting challenge. But fear not: I’ve been curating gift guides for the last five years, and all that shopping has made me very good at sniffing out surprising gifts at every price point. To help you navigate your Secret Santa shopping this year, I’ve combed through our archives to put together a list of gifts for every type of co-worker, casual acquaintance, family member, and more.
Every gift here costs less than $25, to help you stay within whatever budget is attached to your upcoming exchange, and is conveniently available on Amazon (though we’ve noted when a gift is available elsewhere for those who like to shop around). All of these items have been recommended to us by discerning experts, especially stylish people, or Strategist staffers who have used them or would personally love to receive them, so they’re practically guaranteed to delight.
For the grandma who always brings homemade cookies
For the teen with a lip-balm obsession
This Laneige set includes the brand’s beloved lip mask in a festive peppermint flavor and a berry-tinted balm.
For the brother-in-law with a steak subscription box …
This hefty cast-iron meat press has a foldable wire handle that makes for easier storing.
… and for the brother-in-law who can’t fry an egg
Try this clever book of cooking rhymes for the hapless home cook.
For the cousin who loves their CSA
Ideal for keeping their half-eaten fennel and pepper fresh in the fridge.
For the neat freak who’s grossed out by sponges
Cleaning brushes are a less bacteria-prone way to keep dishes clean, and this handsome wooden brush is a soap dispenser and scrubber in one.
For the teen who wants to zhush up their morning bowl of Cheerios
One pound of off-brand cereal marshmallows should do the trick.
For the brother who cooks only with cast iron
This red silicone grip will make his favorite pan that much easier to grab.
For the teen who stays up late reading fan fiction
For the board-game-enthusiast boss
A new board game that’s way more fun than playing yet another round of Yahtzee.
For the girlfriend who binges Bravo …
This “slightly deranged” book filled with ready-to-color Real Housewives of New York moments is ideal for superfans.
… and for the girlfriend who binges Bravo (and makeup tutorials)
She will absolutely appreciate a set of Jenna Lyons’s falsies that add length while still looking natural.
For the newly retired grandparent
For the friend whose puppy has turned into a rambunctious dog
An advanced puzzle toy to keep them occupied.
For the friend with a Surrealist streak
Fish-head flip-flops make a fun pair of house shoes.
For the kid cousin who doesn’t need another Squishmallow
Try this heirloom-quality stuffed mouse from Steiff, a 140-year-old German toy-maker.
For the kid cousin who hates going to sleep
This truly adorable duck nightlight can keep them company come bedtime.
For the niece who’s on tinned fish-tok
A cookbook for Tin-thusiasts and A-fish-ionados.
For the dad who never misses a Cyclones game
For the boyfriend with a caviar problem
An elegant serving dish with two mother-of-pearl spoons will complete their at-home caviar setup. And if you’re feeling particularly generous: Throw in a tin of caviar to complete this set.
For the brother who’s always prepared (to smoke)
For the “you will pry my Boy Brow from my cold, dead hands” sister
For the nephew who spends too much time on his iPad
A classic (dare we say even retro?) bouncy rubber ball.
For the uncle who’s a little too into Pickleball
This flexible resistance bar often used by physical therapists will help them ward off the dreaded pickleball elbow.
For the aunt with amazing skin
A nourishing body wash from cult-y body-care brand Naturium.
For the co-worker who yearns for simpler times
An old-school Kodak they can take along during their PTO.
For the neighbors who always host New Year’s Eve
This sleek Champagne stopper keeps the bubbly bubbly.
For the tween with Olivia Rodrigo tickets
Temporary hair dye will wash out after the show.
For the mom who already has a Vitamix
A celebrity-loved collagen protein powder to add to her daily smoothie.
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