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How to Give Secret Santa Gifts People Will Actually Like

Take your holiday gift-exchange skills to the next level with these tips.


  • Step 1: Up your odds with a basket Create a gift basket centered on one of their interests. Having more items increases the odds they'll like at least one of the presents.
  • Step 2: Go gift card Stumped by someone you don't know well? Go with a gift card from a store or web site that offers a wide selection.
  • TIP: Try an iTunes gift card for someone tied to their mp3 player.
  • Step 3: Give food and wine Create a festive food and drink package. Your recipient may enjoy it at home – or bring it to someone else's party. Either way, rest assured that salami will get eaten.
  • TIP: Drinking accoutrements like wine charms, whiskey tumblers, or a martini set are a fun – and often cheaper – alternative to actual booze.
  • Step 4: Shop for relatives For family members get gifts geared toward spending time together, like board games or movie tickets.
  • Step 5: Be professional In the office, stick to tasteful and professional choices, and only attempt a humorous gift if you know the recipient well. 'Tis the season to be jolly, not inappropriate.
  • TIP: Treat a coworker who brown bags it every day to a gift certificate for a local restaurant.
  • Step 6: Look for bells and whistles If your recipient is a child, look for age-appropriate, hands-on gifts like toys, puzzles, games, novelties, and oddities. For preteens and teens, get gift cards to the stores they like. No matter what the situation is, your Secret Santa gifts are sure to be a hit.
  • FACT: In Pennsylvania, a Secret Santa gift exchange is sometimes called a Pollyanna gift exchange.

You Will Need

  • The ability to listen
  • Creativity

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