The 25 Best Secret Santa Gifts (2024)

Lollies for grown-ups

See’s Candies Assorted Lollypops

These rich, box-shaped pops are a Bay Area classic made with real butter and cream.

Buying Options

$30 from See's Candies

Anyone who grew up anywhere near San Francisco likely already has a favorite flavor of these box-shaped lollipops made with cream and butter. If your giftee is new to the suckers from the 102-year-old See’s Candies, you can bestow the pleasure of choice: vanilla, coffee, chocolate, or butterscotch? (Staff writer and San Francisco resident Samantha Schoech votes butterscotch, no further questions.) Each box of See’s Candies Assorted Lollypops contains a generous 30 suckers; Samantha snagged one at a Yankee swap last holiday season, where they were the most wrangled-over item.

For word nerds

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This word-building game is played at breakneck speed, and it’s fun for groups of all ages.

Buying Options

$14 from Amazon

Bananagrams is like Scrabble at whiplash speed. Players create word grids using tiles, but you have no board and no scoring; it’s all a race against your opponents. It’s easy to learn, it works for two to eight players from about age 10, and it comes in a portable, unmissable banana-shaped pouch. It’s so fun, and so packable, that it goes along on all of Samantha’s family trips.



Everyday olive oil

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Graza Sizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Fragrant and grassy, this oil has a fair amount of pungency and a sharp bitterness. It pairs nicely with roasted vegetables, bread, and pasta.

Buying Options

$14 from Amazon(750 mL)

$16 from Graza(750 mL)

Graza Sizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain is our pick for an everyday, supermarket olive oil. It’s fresh and bright, with notes of tomato plants and green apples. It’s rich but not fatty, and it has a nice astringency. The squeeze bottle allows your gift recipient to be more precise, adding a perfect squirt instead of a big glug. Graza also makes a Drizzle version, meant to be used cold as a finishing touch. If you’re shopping day-of, you can find it at Target and Whole Foods, and the bottle is cute enough for you to skip wrapping.

Expert trackers

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Apple AirTag

AirTags leverage Apple’s huge network of devices to track down lost items, and they’re impressively accurate in pinpointing a precise location.

Buying Options

$100 $80 from Amazon (4-pack)

With delayed shipping

$100 $80 from Walmart (4-pack)

You save $20 (20%)

$39 from Amazon

$29 from Apple

Apple’s AirTags Bluetooth trackers, with their seamless and extensive Apple network and real-time tracking, are especially good for keeping tabs on luggage. Of course, your gift recipient can attach theirs to anything they don’t want to lose, such as keys, kids backpacks, or bikes. (This combination-lock carabiner is a good way to snap an AirTag on just about anything.) Note that AirTags are compatible only with iPhones; for Android users, we recommend the Tile Mate (2022).



A flameless beauty

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Botanica Flameless Lighter

These colorful flameless lighters use an arc of plasma, or ionized gas, to ignite candles, stoves, joints, and more, and they charge through a handy USB port.

Buying Options

$32 from Anthropologie

In addition to being USB chargeable and completely butane-free, Botanica’s Flameless Lighters are ridiculously good-looking. Because they’re entirely windproof, they make good outdoor lighters, and the 8-inch shaft is long enough to sneak into tricky campfires or hearth fires, too. As with all flameless lighters, the plasma arc emits a soft but high-pitched sound that bothers some people and animals; considering these lighters’ convenience, sustainability, and vibes, our tester was unbothered.

A forever bonsai

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Lego Bonsai Tree 10281

Like a real tree, this plastic bonsai changes with the seasons, to two types of included foliage: green leaves or cherry blossoms.

Buying Options

$40 from Amazon

Real bonsai trees require constant care and are hard to keep alive, but the 878-piece Bonsai Tree set from Lego’s Botanical Collection, complete with adjustable leaves and cherry blossoms, asks nothing of its owner aside from a place on a shelf. This set, which was impossible to nab during the height of the pandemic, provides some of the mindfulness and relaxation that comes from attending to real bonsai trees. Wirecutter’s resident Adult Fan of Lego (AFOL), supervising editor Joshua Lyon, recommends shaping and reshaping the Lego bonsai using additional pieces such as the Plant Vine Seaweed and Plant Flower Stems from Lego’s Pick a Brick page.



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Bentgo Salad Stackable Lunch Container

This roomy bowl comes with a removable, compartmentalized top tray for keeping toppings or extra snacks crisp. It’s bulky, so even though it’s great for packing generous meals, it may not fit into a commuter bag.

Buying Options

$15 from Amazon

Anyone committed to good food—and not spending a fortune on subpar salad tubs—would appreciate this versatile lunch box. The two-tiered Bentgo Salad Stackable Lunch Container is excellent for greens, grain bowls, or even clean-out-the-fridge smorgasbords. The divided top tray can preserve the crisp texture of items like nuts, seeds, or chopped veggies, and the bottom holds a generous 54 ounces. Everything snaps together snugly and guards against leaks, even after dozens of runs through the dishwasher.

Old-school snack

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Wabash Valley Farms Whirley-Pop Popcorn Popper

This pot has only one purpose, but it makes the crunchiest corn. It has a stirring wire to keep kernels from burning, as well as a vented lid to prevent the collection of steam.

Buying Options

$40 from Amazon

$36 from Wayfair

Usually, it is with great trepidation that we recommend a single-purpose tool—especially one that’s a bit clunky—but the Whirley-Pop Popcorn Popper is that good. It's actually our preferred way to make popcorn. Supervising editor Hannah Morrill first enjoyed the airy excellence of this stovetop swirler almost two decades ago and has been an evangelist ever since. Add oil, or don’t, and then cover the bottom with kernels and turn on the stove. The wooden crank powers slim metal stirrers that prevent burns. In about three minutes, one has an embarrassment of popcorn riches. And they’ll have more, for years to come: The company behind the Whirley-Pop protects each purchase with a 25-year warranty on mechanical parts.



For the die-hard New Yorker

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New York Coffee Cup

This ceramic version of the classic New York City to-go coffee cup is both nostalgic and dishwasher-safe.

Buying Options

$16 from Uncommon Goods

There’s no replicating the rush that one gets from grabbing a coffee at a neighborhood street cart before darting underground to catch the subway. But for a more peaceful morning ritual unbound by geography, this ceramic New York–style coffee cup is just the thing. Unlike the paper cups originally designed in 1963, this one is dishwasher and microwave safe, so it’s far more practical—yet equally as affirming.

Savory sprinkles

Maldon Sea Salt Flakes (3 pounds)

This is the crunchiest, flakiest finishing sea salt, beloved by professional and home cooks alike.

Buying Options

$25 from Amazon

The perfect salt for finishing an heirloom tomato, a chocolate chip cookie, or a Wagyu filet, the crunchy and flavorful Maldon Sea Salt Flakes have been a favorite ingredient of chefs and home cooks (as well as of our discerning kitchen team) for years. The pyramid-shaped, mineral-rich flakes are harvested by hand from the Blackwater Estuary on the southeast coast of England. And this 3-pound bucket—about the size of a kids beach pail—is absolutely not too much of a good thing, thank you very much. Your lucky Secret Santa gift recipient can stash this in their pantry and sprinkle, crumble, and pinch with abandon for (nearly) an eternity.



Sichuan and spice

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Fly By Jing Shorty Spice Set

You can get this trio of mini jars with the company’s three flagship condiments—Sichuan Chili Crisp, Mala Spice Mix, and Zhong Sauce—or you can opt for three of the chili crisp.

Buying Options

$25 from Fly By Jing

Maybe the one thing you know about your Secret Santa draw is that they love good food, full stop. Look no further than the Fly By Jing Shorty Spice Set, which contains three 2-ounce jars of the company’s most popular items: Sichuan Chili Crisp, Mala Spice Mix, and Zhong Sauce. These zingy, sweet, complex sauces pack a punch, so they’ll last a good long while, even if your gift recipient slathers them on absolutely everything. (As well they should—the condiments are excellent on stir-fry dishes, noodles, omelets, roasted vegetables, rice bowls, and even ice cream.)

Smart gloves

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Moshi Digits Touchscreen Gloves 2.0

These cozy gloves have a double-layer knit design for easy typing and good insulation.

Buying Options

$30 from Amazon

Whether your gift recipient loves their phone or loves to hate their phone, they’ll appreciate a pair of touchscreen gloves to keep them tapping when the temperature dips. Our favorites for the task are the Moshi Digits Touchscreen Gloves: Their conductive-fiber knit makes precise typing possible—invaluable even in the age of editable tweets—and their microfleece lining is cozy and warm. (Some touchscreen gloves are too flimsy, while others are overly bulky.) They come in three sizes and two colors, and a few of our editors have worn them for more than a few winters, with no holes or pilling.



For the nature gazer

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Jarkyfine Window Bird Feeder

Strong suction cups and a roomy acrylic structure readily accommodate multiple avian visitors. It’s squirrel-proof, and it can get messy, but it’s easy to clean.

Buying Options

$30 from Amazon

Even Secret Santa matches who identify as indoor people will delight in the adorable Jarkyfine Window Bird Feeder and the tiny winged visitors it draws right to their window. Attached via suction cups, it’s perfect for apartment dwellers who don’t have the luxury of their own green space. Homeowners may also enjoy it, attached to a kitchen window or a similar eye-level nook. True, it isn’t one of our top bird feeder picks, namely because in some locations its open construction could leave birds vulnerable to a cat attack and seeds exposed to squirrels. Still, for the price and in the right spot, it can provide a lot of up-close enjoyment.

For the brunch enthusiast

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Cuisinart Round Classic Waffle Maker WMR-CAP2

This round waffle maker produces thin, super-crispy waffles.

Buying Options

$28 from Amazon

$30 from Wayfair

Pretty much everyone has a friend who loves to try new brunch spots on weekends (or just loves to snap and post the plates at their old standby). They’d likely also enjoy being able to make hot, fresh waffles at home with one of our favorite waffle makers. The Cuisinart Round Classic Waffle Maker WMR-CAP2 is especially well suited to those who prefer thin and crispy waffles over the puffy and doughy variety. Among the 30 models we tested, this Cuisinart waffle maker stood out for its ease of use, consistent performance, and compact design (it’s a little over 10 inches across, so it stores easily, even in smaller kitchens). If you’re lucky, your giftee will even invite you over for the waffle feast.



In the bag

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Baggu Duck Bag

This durable tote comes with a 40-inch adjustable strap as well as top handles, providing multiple carrying options.

Buying Options

$38 from Baggu

The right tote bag makes any errand a more pleasant experience, whether that’s picking up a few items at the farmers market, dropping off library books, or hauling everything necessary for an afternoon away (magazines, sunscreen, portable charger, water bottle, and so on). One of our favorites for the task is the canvas Baggu Duck Bag. This machine-washable tote is large enough to carry whatever your gift recipient may throw in. It’s also comfortably slung over the shoulder or held by hand, and it comes in an array of colors and prints.

A lunar challenge

Antelope Puzzle Space Collection Moon

This jigsaw puzzle’s 1,000 black-and-white gradient pieces, sporting rounded edges and depicting varying textures, will challenge even the most fervent solver.

Buying Options

$27 from Amazon

As planet Earth seems to fall apart, why not put together a moon? The Antelope Puzzle Space Collection Moon jigsaw puzzle features the image of our favorite celestial body, circular in shape and with beautiful detail in its craters. And because this puzzle has 1,000 pieces, it will offer your gift recipient a calming respite from the stresses of this world, one that doesn’t involve trawling Netflix again.



Bombs away

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Lush Bath Bombs

Often imitated but not yet duplicated, these bath bombs “explode,” filling a tub with gorgeous color, long-lasting fragrance, and skin-soothing oils.

Buying Options

Buy from Lush(price varies)

If the bath is where your Secret Santa recipient kicks back, give them a colorful, delicious-smelling bath bomb. The very best of those we tested are Lush’s Bath Bombs: They “explode” as soon as they hit the water, filling the tub with gorgeous, shimmering shades, long-lasting fragrance, and skin-soothing oils for relaxation.

For the fashionably unfashionable

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JanSport Fifth Avenue Fanny Pack

A great starter bag for the fanny pack curious, this model is sturdy, well sized, and available in plenty of colors and patterns. But the main compartment lacks organization.

Buying Options

$22 from JanSport

$18 from Amazon

Fanny packs are here to stay. If your giftee is sartorially bold (or, on the flip side, doesn’t care about fashion at all), they’ll love carrying their possessions around their waist in one of our favorite fanny packs, the JanSport Fifth Avenue Fanny Pack. It has two sections for storage, and it comes in eight prints and colors to suit almost anyone’s preference.



Pass the bar

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Tony’s Chocolonely Super Milk Bundle

This four-pack of generously sized gourmet chocolate bars contains some of Tony’s best flavors.

Buying Options

$33 from Amazon

Few people hate chocolate, which is why it makes a great gift. If you’re seeking something less formal than a box of chocolates, though, consider a grouping of gourmet bars. Tony’s Chocolonely bars are wrapped in cheery, bright packaging, and what they conceal is equally fantastic. This pack of four features some of Tony’s best flavors (milk chocolate hazelnut, milk chocolate caramel sea salt, dark milk chocolate pretzel, and 32% milk chocolate), ready to satisfy whatever dessert mood your gift recipient may be in.

Candy land

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BW Brands Festive Gumdrop Tree

This 12-inch clear-plastic tree is pure nostalgia. It supports dozens of colorful gumdrops or other gummy treats for the picking.

Buying Options

$16 from Amazon

The gumdrop tree is one of those candy-serving modes from yesteryear that people pine for—even if it wasn’t actually a family tradition. A sculpture that bears candy? A tree that grows gumdrops? What’s not to love? The BW Brands Festive Gumdrop Tree is made from sturdy plastic, so it won’t break if little hands knock it over.



Rock responsibly

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Loop Experience Earplugs

Although no universal earplug can reduce different sounds as evenly as a custom design can, this pair offers solid noise protection and is enjoyable to wear.

Buying Options

$35 from Amazon

If your gift recipient loves to rage, give them the Loop Experience Earplugs, the best earplugs for concerts or other noisy events. Unlike traditional foam plugs, these earplugs reduce the overall volume without impacting the quality of the sound—so the music sounds just as good, just less loud. The Loop earplugs are comfortable to wear for an extended time and come with enough tips (four pairs) to fit nearly every ear shape.

Sleek sticks

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Kent Wang Ebony Chopsticks

These distinctive chopsticks are so special, they’re used in a Michelin-starred restaurant. They require hand-washing, though.

Buying Options

$5 from Kent Wang

Whether your Secret Santa gift recipient is a sushi fanatic or someone who just likes to keep their fingers free of Cheetos dust, a good pair of chopsticks is an invaluable companion. (They’re also great for stirring coffee, scrambling eggs, freeing olives … the list is endless.) During our extensive chopstick testing, many panelists preferred the elegant Kent Wang Ebony Chopsticks, which are hand-carved from sustainable ebony and sanded to a silky-smooth texture. Pair them with these super-cute cat chopstick holders to add a touch of whimsy and to make the gift even more fun.



Better baking

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Lékué Bread Maker

This silicone contraption allows bakers to measure, mix, rise, and bake bread in a single container.

Buying Options

$36 from Amazon

With the pandemic sourdough fad solidly in the rearview mirror, those with a lasting interest in baking may enjoy the Lékué Bread Maker. They can mix, rise, and bake in this one vessel, and then they can throw the whole thing (well, minus the bread) into the dishwasher when they’re done. Lighter, more affordable, and easier to clean than a traditional Dutch oven, it offers a slightly less intimidating way to bake bread and comes with a 10-year warranty.

Naptime necessity

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Nidra Deep Rest Eye Mask

Lightweight and contoured, this mask fits comfortably and blocks light well for a wide variety of face shapes.

Buying Options

$20 from Amazon

For the Secret Santa gift recipient who knows the power of a nap during their work-from-home lunch break or on a lazy Sunday afternoon, a cozy eye mask makes the perfect gift. The contoured eyecups of the Nidra Deep Rest Eye Mask arch over the eyes, giving them space to move for a more comfortable wearing experience, while the mask’s adjustable Velcro strap keeps it snug on restless sleepers. For travel, this eye mask effectively blocks a plane’s fluorescent cabin lighting yet still plays nicely with a face mask, should your gift recipient need to wear one.



A petite palette

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Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolors 24-Color Set

With unparalleled opacity, pigment, and gloss, these watercolors are the best we’ve found for all manner of amateur artists.

Buying Options

$34 from Amazon

If your giftee has an interest in making their own art, the Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolors set, made by a 117-year-old sumi-ink manufacturer in Nara, Japan, is one of our favorite art supplies (and a real step up from craft-store palettes). For the novice painter, watercolor is a great medium: Abstract prints and washes are relatively easy to do, and the aspiring artist can master more-difficult techniques as their ambitions allow. Plus, this set is reasonably priced, compact, and nontoxic. The paint, with colors inspired by nature, easily alights on paper with a buttery-smooth glide, and it dries with a slightly shiny finish.

We love finding gifts that are unusual, thoughtful, and well vetted. See even more gift ideas we recommend.

This article was edited by Hannah Morrill and Jennifer Hunter.

The 25 Best Secret Santa Gifts (2024)


What to put in a Secret Santa list? ›

This is to let Santa know a bit about yourself. What you collect, your fav things like jools (of course), colors, foods, books, hobbies, etc. Also let Santa know some of your dislikes or plain old can`t haves (as many have allergies to certain things). Day 1 and the excitement is already beginning!

How to spice up Secret Santa? ›

Pass the Gift – Set a spending limit and collect the gifts before the exchange. At the party, everyone sits in a circle. Randomly select a gift from the table and give it to a member of the group while music is playing. The gift is passed around the circle.

What is Secret Santa wish list? ›

The Secret Santa is given a Wishlist of gift ideas to choose from to give to their chosen giftee. After opening their present, the giftee has to guess which member of the group was their Secret Santa. It's a holiday classic where the guessing is as much a part of the fun as receiving the gift.

What is a good amount for Secret Santa? ›

This means that you might aim to spend between $20 and $50 on your Secret Santa gift. And there are valid reasons for this. One is not to force the giver to spend more than they can afford.

How do you make a good Secret Santa? ›

How to Be the Best Secret Santa Ever
  1. Know your audience. Do your research, even if you're just giving a gift card. ...
  2. Make an entrance. Maybe you're a genius wrapper (gift wrapper, that is). ...
  3. Don't go for the gag. ...
  4. Make it an adventure. ...
  5. Make 'em laugh. ...
  6. More treats, less tchotchkes. ...
  7. Stay within budget. ...
  8. Include a receipt.
Dec 8, 2023

How to reveal Secret Santa gifts? ›

On the day of the party, gather all members of the group together (or via video call) and introduce the gift exchange process. Ask everyone to unwrap and share their gift one at a time, then make a guess as to who bought it for them. Once everyone has opened their gifts, you can reveal who the Secret Santas were!

What is a good white elephant gift? ›

Best Funny White Elephant Gift Ideas
  • An Adjustable Stool To Make Going Potty Easier. ...
  • A Winter Coat For Cold Ones. ...
  • Dinosaur Fans Will Love This Playful 'Nachosaurus' Set. ...
  • A Coffee Table Book That Addresses Life's Burning Questions. ...
  • A Fun Party Game That Is Also So Much More Than That.
Dec 13, 2023

How can I surprise my Secret Santa? ›

Start by gathering information about the person you are buying for. You may consider their hobbies and interests. If you are not familiar with them, discreetly ask around or check their social media profiles for some clues to choose a Secret Santa gift for them.

What do you put on a Secret Santa list? ›

Think hot chocolate mugs, colorful Airpod cases, skincare sets, claw clip packs, novelty socks, and candy. You'll also be giving your Secret Santa partner a gift that is easy to rewrap and regift to a loved one if they needed to — no hard feelings.

Is a gift card a good Secret Santa gift? ›

There are generic gifts and then there are personalized gifts that suit people's unique preferences. Generic gifts can include items like gift cards.

What to make for Secret Santa at home? ›

11 cheap Secret Santa gift ideas
  1. Handmade bath bombs. Channel a relaxing holiday with this cheap Secret Santa gift idea! ...
  2. Stitch a beautiful bookmark. ...
  3. Mould a mini ring holder. ...
  4. Craft them a Christmas garland. ...
  5. Crochet your Secret Santa a hat. ...
  6. Make them a mini Santa! ...
  7. DIY some Christmas candles. ...
  8. Personalise a plant pot!
Jan 26, 2024

What do you get an acquaintance for Secret Santa? ›

25 Secret Santa Gifts Your Friends Will Love
  • Slippers. Our Recommendation: YALOX Memory Foam Slippers. ...
  • Inflatable Drink Holder. Our Recommendation: Jasonwell Inflatable Rainbow Cloud Drink Holder for the Pool. ...
  • Tree Ornaments. ...
  • Echo Dot (3rd Gen) ...
  • Card Game. ...
  • Board Game. ...
  • Gloves, Scarf, and Hat Set. ...
  • Fleece Blanket.

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