12 Secret Santa gifts under $30 that your co-workers will actually like

Surprise your co-workers with something they'll actually appreciate this holiday season. Rimma_Bondarenko

It’s that time of the year again when people across the country frantically rummage through their closets looking for an acceptable item that can be re-gifted to the co-worker whose name they pulled out of the Secret Santa hat.

But what if you actually got your colleague something they’d actually like — or use — this year? If you’re new to the company or have pulled the name of a person you don’t know very well, it always helps to dig a little to get some insight into their interests. Check their social media feeds for clues or ask someone else in the office who knows them better.

READ MORE: How much should you spend on Christmas gifts given your income? 

Stay away from gifting anything too personal, though. Keep in mind that the gift exchanges typically happen in a group environment, and you don’t want to embarrass the person who’s opening the gift or send the wrong message.

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“Even if you’re not friends [with the recipient], the gift should go beyond some tchotchke that doesn’t have any meaning,” organizational psychologist and author William A. Schiemann, said to Time. “You want them to open it and say, ‘Wow, they really nailed me.’ That’s when it’s fun.”

We’ve put together a list of Secret Santa gift ideas for co-workers that are bound to make their year merry and bright.

Hot Chocolate and Marshmallows

Who doesn’t love a steaming cup of hot chocolate on a cold, snowy day? This Orange Hot Chocolate mix will satisfy even the most raging sweet tooth. Of course, a bourbon-infused marshmallow will give it (and the drinker) an extra kick of goodness. US$22.95 at Wondermade

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A box of winter-inspired teas

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David's Tea

Tea drinkers take their leaves very seriously, which is why this mix is sure to delight. With 12 different blends, including banana nut bread, cardamom french toast and chocolate macaroon, it’ll give your fellow tea-cionado a reason to brew over and over again. $26 at Davids Tea

Pink champagne-scented candle

If your cubicle mate’s mantra is “rosé all day,” this will be like the gift that keeps on giving. Notes of pink grapefruit, white jasmine and Persian lime create a delicately floral scent, and the rose-tinted glass jar makes for a beautiful vase after the candle has burned down. $19.50 (currently on sale for $13.65) at Indigo

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Water carafe and glass

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Help your co-worker keep on top of his new year health goals with this water carafe and glass that will encourage him to drink more throughout the day. It’s sleek enough to fit on any desk and will keep him from buying plastic bottles that clog up landfills. $18.95 at CB2

A trio of hand lotions

It’s no secret that offices are dry environments, especially if you live in a place where cold winters call for cranked indoor heating. Help your office mate keep her hands supple and smooth — and stop by her desk for a dollop every now and then. $26.70 at Nordstrom

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A warm blanket

It’s hard to get an office to a temperature that suits everyone, which means inevitably, someone will be freezing. If your office buddy is always shivering and huddling for warmth, get them a warm blanket that will keep them toasty on even the harshest winter day. (Bonus points if they’re a cat lover!) $20 (currently on sale for $14.99) at Simons

Beard balm

Does your co-worker wear his beard like a badge of honour? Help him keep it neat and conditioned with this beard balm. It promotes hair growth and strength, and prevents breakage while hydrating his beard and infusing it with a manly cedarwood scent. $27.95 at Urban Beard

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Chalkboard mug

Is your co-worker always grumbling that someone stole their favourite mug? Help them avoid the aggravation of having to track it down with a chalk mug that’ll allow them to scribble messages like “I love tea” or (more likely) “Hands Off.” $16.07 at Amazon

Noise-cancelling headphones

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Best Buy

There’s no way around it: at a certain point in the day, the office chatter will rise. For some people, it’s irritating and distracting. If your work bud complains about noise, hook them up with these noise-cancelling headphones. It’ll keep the chatter at bay and the productivity flowing. $24.99 at Best Buy

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French press coffee/tea maker

Bed Bath & Beyond

Because the free coffee and tea in the office is lousy, this French press will allow even the grumpiest co-worker fix a proper pick-me-up whenever needed. (The rest of the office will thank you.) $18.99 (currently on sale for $14.24) at Bed Bath & Beyond

Foldable yoga mat

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Being zen is important for office harmony, so let your colleague channel their inner yogi with the help of this foldable yoga mat that’s lightweight and portable. $19.97 at Walmart

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Novelty socks

Simply put: he’s the money. $12 at Yo Sox

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