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.
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.
“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
A box of winter-inspired teas
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
Water carafe and glass
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
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
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
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
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
French press coffee/tea maker
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
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
Simply put: he’s the money. $12 at Yo Sox
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