Office Christmas parties always seem like such a good idea. So does office Secret Santa. But once you hit the week before and you’re still stuck on what ‘fun’ costume you’ve got to come up with, and what ‘fun gift under $30’ you’ve got to get for that virtual stranger in the design department, the whole thing starts to feel like a bit of an ordeal. And Christmas at your Aunt Cheryl’s the week after is already an ordeal and you do not need more drama in your life.
‘Fun’ costumes are a nightmare no one can help you with, but here’s 40 Secret Santa gifts for basically every person you’d find in your office, to ease the strain of the mystery Santa time you dread every year.
Is your boss a fancy old dude that plays golf? ‘Course he is. This will work for him. Or you buy it, then buy some golf balls, do it yourself, voila – handmade and thoughtful.
So, for basically every graphic designer? Coasters are like bath products: something no one thinks they want until you get given nice ones as a gift. These design-y cuties work on desks and coffee tables alike.
Bad breath comes from your tongue. But bad breath also comes from Steve in accounts. Give him a subtle nudge by including this tongue scraper in a luxury grooming kit (think fancy shave cream, Aesop mouthwash) or give it to him as a standalone if you aren’t afraid of being a little harsh with the halitosis warning.
Buy this for the office chef and listen to them brag about how simple fresh ingredients make for simply, the BEST, food, you know? Bonus points if they start bringing you in samples.
There’s at least one person in the office you can think of who says this. They probably also talk about Mondays, and needing coffee. Don’t fight it, let them indulge in their catchphrases.
You got a classic ‘girl’ in the office? You got someone who’s gunna love some marble decorative items. Pair this with some matching coasters. She’ll love it.
Every office has one person who has too much energy even though they weirdly don’t drink coffee. Leg jigglers, paper plane makers, rubbish-bin-as-basketball-hoop-ers. Let them just go for it with this guy and the office kitchen table. Plus now you have an activity for when Friday night drinks are a little dull because Sue lost that account and Dave’s girlfriend dumped him again.
If there’s a dude in your office that hits on every single woman that walks through the door, hit him with a Regina George: “You can go shave your back now.”
Two words: ice balls.
Kimmy K’s iconic quote, immortalised in tote bag form, for the Kardashian lover and Real Housewives aficionado.
Fairy Cakes has a tonne of cute enamel badges for Kris Kringle budgets. You’ve got feminist badges, Stranger Things badges, retro badges. Get ‘em for the kitsch king or queen of the office, or for someone whose casual-Friday denim jacket needs some sprucing up.
It’s a bin – but it’s a cute bin. This works either for a messy colleague, or for someone you simply don’t like. Tell them to use it as a swear jar, or for all those coffee cups, or just go right ahead and stick a post it on it that says “get in this”. That might get you fired, though.
This is a super soaker you can screw your own bottles on to. This would be good for when you wanna douse someone in cordial, or shoot Gatorade into your hungover housemates mouth from across the room. Though the office menace would probably do something awful, like have bottles of ice water at the ready for easy refill.
These little pots are self-watering. So you can just bung a plant in there with a little water down below and the pot figures the rest out for you. Perfect for the plant lover in your office – and for only 10 bucks you can afford to grab them a plant to go with it.
Air plants don’t need soil, and take very little else to keep them alive. This one’s a beauty for a desk as it’s little, and comes with its own crystal holder. Pretty.
#16 For the Person Who Always Needs To Borrow A Tenner For Lunch
Give this jerk a prepaid Mastercard with $30 loaded on it, and scrawl “FOR LUNCH” all over it in permanent marker.
#17 If you’re a Tightarse
Start a TinyLetter and sign up your Kris Kringle victim. Every week you send them a clue that leads to a present. The present doesn’t have to exist yet, which gives you time to save up. Problem solved. This can take you right through until at least end of January and then you can probably just re-gift them something you were already given.
The perfect emergency-money tin for the person who’s always crying poor.
#19 For the Person Who Always Offers To Drive To Offsite Events But You Never Want To Go With Them Because They’re A Shocking Driver
They mean well! They’re kind enough to offer to drive! You appreciate it! But they’re super scary behind the wheel. Grab them a copy of Mad Max: Fury Road on DVD for a gesture that says “You are a handsome badass but also terrifying”.
This person probably makes money off sponsored content on their Insta because it’s just that nice. This tool will make them feel extra professional and you can feel like you’ve somehow contributed to their success.
Do you get it? ‘Cos of that Smashed Avocado article? You get it.
#22 For the Office Know-It-All
Buy this person The Da Vinci Code and/or the Julian Assange doco on DVD. Do it with an earnest, straight face to make them super uncomfortable, or as a joke if they’ve got an ounce of self-awareness.
Art is a tricky gift to give, partly because it’s expensive. Third Drawer Down make art a bit more affordable with prints featured on tea-towels and hankies. A neon-pink Guerilla Girls piece on a hankie comes in under 30 bucks, and packs a feminist punch for the activist you sit next to five days a week.
Everyone is jealous of the person in the office who spends every weekend in the great outdoors while you laid on the couch for the fourth weekend in a row watching Seinfeld re-runs. Make like you somehow understand them with a cute little pocket microscope, enabling them to become even smarter and more connected to nature than you will ever be.
They might need to also have been born in the late ’80s, or be familiar with memes to fully understand this James van der Beek pin.
Bill, mate, I know. Maybe it’s time for a career change. Let me help you.
In this day and age, this gift is probably appropriate for nine out of 10 people you work with.
WASARA make environmentally friendly products for environmentally friendly people. These paper wine cups can be ‘returned to the earth’. Read: once you’re done with your wine, these babies can literally be turfed into your garden.
Frankie has inspired generations of Aussie writers with its publication of all kinds of stories. You can grab a copy of their Something To Say collection for under 30 bucks, and keep that reader/writer you sit next to inspired for years to come.
#30 For a Wuss
Do an Ellen and send the most easily spooked person in your office on a ghost tour. Buy yourself a ticket to go with them and watch them lose the plot, as a special gift for you.
Edgar’s Mission is an animal sanctuary that takes great care of some ripper little critters. You can donate by buying a Gift of Kindness such as bottles for the lambs (CUTE), carrots for the pigs (agh!!!), treats for the goats (YESSS) and more. Your gift-getter will even get a cute certificate to display on their desk to show off their animal loving credentials.
The title “Squatty Potty” speaks for itself, really.
Instead of another mini Sherrin or knock off team jersey, grab the sports nut in your office something useful: a leak-proof, essentially mini-esky mug that keeps your food and beverages hot or cold. Which is good if you’re a Melbournite headed to the footy, or you’re someone from any other state, who goes to whatever game it is you play there.
This is a mug set but should be called the “Smug Set” because that’s what couples who drink out of mugs painted with “Mr Right” and “Mrs Right” are.
If someone in the office loves a selfie (if, ha!) these are great because they’ll love them, and you’ll get to hold them in front of your face when the night has worn on a bit and you’re not as keen on having your face captured on camera as you were a few hours ago.
Instead of another pen holder or novelty tape dispenser, throw caution to the air-con wind and just bloody get ‘em a lawn flamingo why don’t ya? Then they can truly have the best-decorated pod/desk/work area/co-working space/whatever your boss is making you call it these days.
It’s the traditional Santa punishment: a lump of coal.
#38 For the Flustered Person Always Rushing Into Meetings Late Like “SORRY, sorry, sorry” Spilling Coffee Everywhere
You thought you couldn’t afford to buy this tardy interrupter a watch but guess what: you totally can. Sure, it’s paper, so hopefully they’re not the clumsy type to spill coffee all over themselves, but they probably are. If you’re bold, why not take it out of the packaging and decorate it yourself?
The best part about the holiday season in Australia is that we get to do fun stuff in the warm weather, like go to the beach, or the park, or the moonlight cinema; cute outdoorsy stuff – stuff that’s perfect for friend (or more than friend!) dates. You’ll need a picnic blanket for most of this stuff, to save your butts from sand and dirt, and Kmart has heaps of cute and cheap outdoor dining bits and pieces so you can complete the picnic set if budget allows.
#40 For anyone
Any Aussie should be proud to forgo a joke present in favour of helping out someone who really needs a hand. Donate to the ASRC on your KK’s behalf and make it a present that actually counts.
Make your income work harder for you with a Westpac high-interest savings account, so come Christmas time you’re not scrounging around for the extra cash to give gifts to your coworkers, mates and fam.
Rebecca Varcoe is a writer and events producer from Melbourne. She writes funny things, silly things, sometimes serious things, and makes the magazine Funny Ha Ha.