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How to nail this year’s office Secret Santa

It’s officially the festive season, and what does that mean? An office Secret Santa with a budget of $20 and you’ve picked your boss. Instead of settling for a bottle of average wine and a ribbon, follow our essential guide on what to get those unique workmates.

At last year’s Secret Santa, I bought my giftee a pair of possum fur nipple covers. I thought it would be funny to see his reaction, and I thought a lot more people would be taking the “prank gift” route. It wasn’t until I arrived at work to see a pile of delicately wrapped fudge boxes and puzzles with little bows on top that I realised how wildly I had misjudged the gift-giving parameters. I quickly stuffed the fluffy nip stickers in my bag and walked up the road to buy a keep cup and a voucher for a bagel. 

To avoid this situation here’s a handy list of things put together with the help of the team at Trade Me, you could buy for some of the most classic characters in your office this Christmas.

For the boss:

Picking your boss is one of the worst outcomes for a Secret Santa. They probably have all the things they need, and they are certainly too busy to ever utilise a desktop golf set, so what else is out there? 

If your boss is partial to a glass of vino, one of these stick-on labels will make it just that much more thoughtful. This one is pretty corny but you can make your own with a piece of paper and some glue and some glitter, that doubles as a resignation notice. It’s up to you, really.

Or you could get them what they really want this Christmas: some productivity for once in your lazy life, John.

On the nose, or on the money? (Image:

For the one who won’t make eye contact until they’ve had their morning coffee:

It seems like a simple one. A bag of some nice coffee beans and a mug, but think about how many times this person would have been given that same gift over the years. It’s time to switch things up.

It’s a bit fancy and a bit special and it will make the morning coffee routine feel more bougie than ever before. Pair it with a bag of locally-roasted beans and that, my friends, is how you nail a Secret Santa present.

For the one who has a standing desk:

They’re probably standing because they’ve had an injury or because they’re super fitspo and read that it burns more calories than sitting down all day (which may or may not be true). Despite their reason, the standing desk person encounters different things in their day-to-day office life that us sitters don’t, and it’s important to acknowledge this in your choice of gift. 

Hot air travels up, and because the standing deskee is probably around two feet higher up than everyone else, their head could be sitting at a dangerously muggy altitude. The head fan will cool them down, while also protecting them from UV rays if they happen to also be stationed underneath a skylight.

For the one who’s always knocking things over:

One of my workmates spilled her water eight times in two weeks, and while she may need to get her depth perception checked, there are some more short-term solutions to the damage.

If there’s someone in your office who has a hard time keeping glasses of water upright, there’s a good chance a spillage could end in disaster for a phone or a laptop in the future, if it hasn’t already. A silicone keyboard cover is not only practical, but they come in different colours and they’re super cheap, so you can also get one for anyone who may be in close proximity to the clumsy coworker. Pair this with a roll of double-sided tape or a packet of Blu-tack so they can physically stick down anything that may be in the path of a waving elbow.

For the one who’s always late:

Some days this person will try to slip into the office unnoticed, two hours after everyone else started work, some days they’ll announce their lateness through some sort of basic, overused excuse. Their alarm didn’t go off, they got stuck in traffic or they had to take their mum to the airport (not an excuse imo, the SkyBus is perfectly fine).

Let’s face it, this person is probably past the point of just needing a new alarm clock, but what might help them is a better set of excuses. There’s only so many times “my cat vomited” and “my car wouldn’t start” will work, and I’d say that’s about once each. A new set of excuses is a Christmas gift that could last a lifetime.

An alarm clock is pointless at this point (Image:

For the messy one:

The person who has four dirty coffee cups, a stack of papers from last year, a photo frame so covered in dust you can’t make out what’s in it, and a tangle of cords leading to nowhere in particular. They need a little bit of help, and if you’re their Secret Santa, you can provide that.

If you want to massively blow the budget, you can get them an invisibility cloak so that when someone important is coming into the office they can drape it over their desk and pretend nothing is amiss. (Which, by the way, is not at all how this invisibility cloak works). Or you could just clean up their desk, get a couple of pen cups, some filing trays and a mini duster, and give them a fresh, clean, organised desk for the New Year, which would actually be helpful.

Is magic real? (Image:

Depending on how you want your relationships with your coworkers to continue, there’s really no way to get a Secret Santa present wrong. From a real dog poo in a bag, to a hand-embroidered t-shirt, a reasonably priced gift exists for anyone. 

Me? I’m already sorted this year. I just hope my giftee is ready to have the warmest, furriest, possumiest nipples they’ve ever seen.

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