Picking out the best secret Santa gifts under $20 is an art form, and it’s a challenge we take seriously. With the holidays right around the corner, we know that many readers are trying to find worthwhile gifts while abiding by Secret Santa price limits.
Just like decorating the Christmas tree or sipping hot chocolate, participating in a Secret Santa is something we do every December, even if we don’t always enjoy it as much as those first two traditions. And whether it’s finding gifts under $20 for co-workers, friends, or family, there’s always that perfect Secret Santa gift that’s the envy of everyone. On the flip side, there’s the embarrassing, phoned-in White Elephant gift that no one tries to steal. When you’re shopping for your own Secret Santa or White Elephant swap, you know which side of the gift-giving spectrum you want to be on
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Even though $20 gifts are the standard for Secret Santa or White Elephant parties, they can be tricky to get right. Quite often, buying these gifts comes with a heavy amount of anxiety. What do you get for the co-worker you don’t know well? For your boss? What if it’s a White Elephant swap party and you need something everyone will like? What if you offend someone with your gift?
After countless blunders at parties, we’ve learned from our mistakes and scoured the deep depths of the internet to find fantastic Christmas gifts that will do well at any Secret Santa or White Elephant party. Not only are these items great for coworkers, but they also make fantastic birthday gifts under $20.
BEST FOR GROUPS
Linkee is one of the biggest board games in the U.K., and now it has been brought stateside by Linkee addict Nick Jonas. SPY received a sample of the trivia-based board game, and we love that it’s fun for the whole family and can be played with small or large groups.
2. Surprise Mini Brands
FOR TREAT LOVERS
For a Secret Santa gift that is a surprise to the gift giver and gift receiver, it doesn’t get more fun or more mini than the 5 Surprise Mini Brands. Each ball unwraps to reveal five mini items from favorite brands like Jell-O, Heinz, BabyBel and more.
Read More: The 101 Best Christmas Gifts
3. Saltverk Lava Sea Salt
FOR YOUR SALT BAE
For pros in the kitchen and those who still finish most meals with the sound of the fire alarm, Saltverk Lava Sea Salt is a great ingredient for chefs of every level. SPY received a sample of the handcrafted Icelandic salt, and we loved the flavor it brings out in veggies and meats.
4. Seinfeld Expansion Pack for What Do You Meme?
You may have already played the uber-fun party game What Do You Meme?, but do you know about the expansion pack about nothing? Okay, it’s a Seinfeld-themed pack, so it’s about nothing and hilarious. SPY received a sample of the new edition and we recommend playing with your weird neighbor while snacking on Junior Mints.
5. Retro Blockbuster VHS Video Case Puzzle
FOR MOVIE BUFFS
For movie buffs who need a break from screen time, we suggest checking out the titles of these retro puzzles from Spin Master Games. Some of the biggest movies from the past 50 years, including The Big Lebowski, Jaws, Footloose, The Shining and Animal House, are now available in puzzle form, complete with a Blockbuster VHS case for storage. Just watch out for those late fees.
6. Healthy Original Sweet Hot Sauce by Disco Sauce
FOR SPICE NEWBIES
Buying for a hot sauce fan or someone who wants to be a hot sauce fan? Ease them into a new world of flavor with the Healthy Original Sweet Hot Sauce by Disco Sauce, a medium-level hot sauce made with natural ingredients that goes with everything from eggs to wings to your next margarita.
7. Dash Mini Maker
FOR BRUNCH LOVERS
Help your loved one get their brunch-on at home with the super cute, super small and super versatile Dash Mini Maker. Make single servings of waffles, hash browns, cookies and even pizzas with this space-saving, delicious food-making appliance.
8. Curb Your Enthusiasm Hilarious Role-Playing Party Card Game
FOR LARRY DAVID FANS
Fear not if your next dinner party doesn’t have a solid Middler who can keep the conversation going. The Curb Your Enthusiasm Hilarious Role-Playing Party Card Game puts the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional social situations. SPY received a sample of the board game, and we’ve never had so much fun while cringing with friends.
9. Hug on Your Mug Christmas Cookie Cutters
FOR THE BAKER
If you have a cookie maker on your gift list, they’ll love these Hug on Your Mug cookie cutters. Available in a variety of holiday designs, the cookie cutters create shapes with a cut out of a ‘holder’ to hang cookies on the side of a mug.
10. Hocus Pocus: The Official Tarot Deck and Guidebook
FOR SPOOKY FRIENDS
For scary movie lovers who have waited decades for the sequel to Disney’s Hocus Pocus, help them celebrate the Sanderson sisters with a new deck of tarot cards inspired by the iconic Halloween film. Just be prepared for having your tarot cards read – a lot.
11. Retro Tech Drink Stirrers
FOR RETRO FANS
Not sure what to buy for your coworker in IT? Gift them a set of retro tech-inspired drink stirrers to help stir up a conversation. And remember, always be nice to the IT people. They hold the key to getting you the best internet connection in the office.
12. Finger Covers for Cheesy, Greasy, Sticky Fingers
FOR MESSY SNACKERS
Show the messy snack lover in your life some love with a ridiculous but useful pair of finger covers they can use during their next snacking session. Yes, they are dishwasher safe because who wants to do the dishes after relaxing with a bowl of cheese puffs?
13. Target Beauty Capsule Best Night Gift Set
Looking for the best gifts under $20 for her? Give someone a relaxing night of self-care with the Target Beauty Capsule Best Night Gift Set. The unisex grooming kit includes an eye kit, pore strips, an anti-stress clay mask and more, all packaged in an attractive gift box. A gift that doesn’t need to be wrapped? That’s like a present for both of you.
14. Whiskey Glass Candle with Hard Box Gift Set by Threshold
Buying for a man who wants their home to smell nice but isn’t into floral scents? Get one of the best gifts under $20 for him with the Whiskey Glass Candle with Hard Box Gift Set by Threshold, which includes four candles in glass jars that can be repurposed as whiskey glasses.
15. Ripple Cocktail Ice Mold
FOR FANCY DRINKERS
Those who like to enjoy their libations with a fancy ice cube will love the Ripple Cocktail Ice Mold from W&P. The speakeasy-inspired cube melts slowly to keep drinks looking and tasting chill for an extended period.
16. Big Head Cut Out
FOR FUN FRIENDS
What do you get for the friend who has everything? A giant cut out of their head. We would consider this one of the best birthday gifts under $20.
17. Bum Vase
FOR CHEEKY FRIENDS
Have a friend with a green thumb and a sense of humor? Gift them the quietly scandalous bum vase that is classy and assy.
18. Keanu Reeves’ Guide to Kindness
FOR THE EXCELLENT FRIEND
Whether your friend is already excellent or maybe needs a little help in that department, Keanu Reeves is here with his infinite wisdom. Just remember – WWKD?
19. Pop Key Tag – Executive Producer Dick Wolf
FOR TRUE CRIME FANS
There is no such thing as watching too many crime dramas. If you know someone who feels the same, they will love this Dick Wolf keychain. Dun dun.
20. Nikolas Bentel Moon Chalk
FOR THE ARTISTIC
Have you watched kids play with chalk lately? It’s so dang fun. Help your friend have some fun and get creative with this adult-approved chalk that makes even the most artistically inept person look creative.
21. Areaware Little Puzzle Thing® – Series 4: Smells
FOR PUZZLE FANS
Buying for someone who is a master at completing puzzles? We bet they haven’t put together a piece of blue cheese before.
22. The Bloom Times 2 Pcs Fake Plants
FOR BROWN THUMBS
We all have that co-worker or friend who brings a new plant to the office only to watch it wilt away after a few months. Take them — and their plants — out of their misery with this duo of two cute faux potted plants. At 4.75″ x 5″, they’re just the right size for their desk, or even a kitchen, living room, dining table, bedroom, bathroom or anywhere. The plants are made of plastic and come in gray paper pulp pots. Best of all, they’ll always look healthy and green!
23. FLY BY JING Sichuan Chili Sauce
FOR TRENDY FANATICS
Read More: The Best Christmas Gifts of 2022
Hot sauce seems to become more popular every day. Nearly all restaurants have it handy, and spice lovers will find a way to use it on everything. This Fly By Jing variety is slightly more complex than other hot sauce options, combining savory umami and tingly spicy flavors. It’s good on everything — from pizza to chicken, noodles and even ice cream.
24. Woodford Reserve Spiced Cherry Bourbon Cocktail Bitters
FOR THE MIXOLOGIST
Any home bar setup will be instantly elevated with Woodford Reserve Spiced Cherry Bourbon Barrel Aged Cocktail Bitters. The bourbon barrel-aged bitters have a fine taste that was aged to perfection. Add them to a classic cocktail, like a Manhattan, or let the aspiring mixologist in your life create their own cocktails around them.
25. Accoutrements Bacon Strips Bandages
FOR THE JOKESTER
Getting a boo-boo is never fun — but these quirky band-aids will ease the pain! The best Secret Santa gift for the office klutz will crack everyone up during the holiday party. Each tin contains 25 bandages, as well as a bonus trinket. Once the bandages are all used up, they can keep the tin on their desk to make them smile.
26. LOVEHANDLE Phone Grip
FOR THE SCREEN-CRACKER
Everyone could use an extra hand to prevent accidental phone drops. This highly-rated Lovehandle phone grip offers a small finger strap to keep your phone securely in hand. It works for nearly any smartphone and comes in various fun colors to match any personal style.
27. Avocado Huggers
FOR AVO ADDICTS
Everyone has that one friend, significant other or family member who always has half an avocado in their fridge. For that avocado lover, get this set of avocado huggers, one of our favorite avocado gifts. They wrap around a half avocado to keep it fresh for avo toast the following morning of guacamole days later.
28. Poo-Pourri Before-You-go Toilet Spray
FOR LIL STINKERS
We all know somebody that can blow it up in there. Get your point across without words by giving your Secret Santa a bottle of Poo-Pourri that they can spray in the bowl before they drop the kids off, if you catch our drift. Everyone in the house will be more than thankful.
29. A Daily Dose of Dad Jokes
FOR THE OFFICE DAD
Looking to one-up the office clown’s game finally? Or, perhaps, is your Secret Santa the office clown? Win everyone over with this hilarious (and surprisingly extensive) book of so-bad-they’re-good dad jokes. It has 365 terrible dad-approved wisecracks, making it one of the best gifts under $20 for him. Here’s one from the book: “bowling jokes are right up my alley.”
30. Crocs Jibbitz Charms (5-Pack)
FOR CROCS LOVERS
Crocs are officially the shoe of 2022, and we’ve already collected our favorite Crocs Christmas gifts for the holiday season. Of course, you can’t buy new clogs for under $20 (although they make for some of the best gifts under $50 when you can find them on sale). However, you can buy Crocs Jibbitz charms. For any Crocs-loving Secret Santa recipient, these adorable charms will be the perfect gift idea.
31. Amazon Gift Card
FOR PICKY PEOPLE
Shopping for the impossible giftee? We’ve all been there. Luckily, in 2022, it’s easy to give a gift card to Amazon, which is cash without being, well, cash. Your picky giftee can go wild and buy whatever it is they want. Is it a cop-out? Maybe. But at least you’ll know they’ll find something they like.
32. TV Store Wonder Woman Knee High Cape Sock
FOR THE SUPERWOMAN
Not all heroes wear capes, but the fortunate winner of these Wonder Woman socks will! Socks with capes qualify as one of the best White Elephant gifts, as these will probably get stolen repeatedly during a White Elephant swap. The officially licensed socks are made from a comfy polyester-spandex blend and fit most women’s shoe sizes, making them one of the best gifts under $20 for her.
33. Swag Brewery Store Beer Soap (Hoppy IPA)
FOR BEER LOVERS
Read More: Best Gifts For Beer Lovers
Who knew that beer was so good for your skin? This fragrant soap is made with ingredients like orange peel, crushed oats and real hops that truly nourish skin, as beer is full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids. The artisanal soap is made in small batches in the US, just like your favorite beer. It lathers up like a dream and won’t dry out skin. Even non-beer lovers will drink it up!
34. Bob Ross by the Numbers
FOR AMATEUR ARTISTS
The adult coloring book trend seems to have come and gone, but the benefits of using them remain. This cute, more unique version has the same relaxing effect. Bob Ross is always on-trend, and this mini-numbered art set comes with three pre-printed canvases to paint just like the legend himself. Of course, it also comes with a mini paintbrush for around $5.
35. Anker Wireless Charger
FOR GADGET LOVERS
You may not know the interests and tastes of all of your co-workers, but they have one thing in common: the desire for a charged phone. Anker’s Wireless Charger is the necessity they didn’t know they needed, making it one of the best and most practical Secret Santa gifts. All they need to do to charge their phone or earbuds is to place them in the middle of the PowerWave Pad. No cables or plugs are necessary! And yes, it even charges through phone cases. It’s compatible with most devices, including iPhones and Androids.
36. Mission Farms Rest CBD Bath Soak
FOR CHILLING OUT
We’ve all had a year, that’s for damn sure. This calming soak will gift any bath bomb a run for their money. It smells amazing, feels sensational and is made with CBD to help you keep calm. Do they need anything else?
37. Dizaul Mobile Phone 3D Magnifier Projector Screen
FOR BINGE WATCHERS
When you bring this ingenious device, expect some serious haggling at your White Elephant swap. The screen magnifier is basically a movie projector for your phone screen, creating a 12-inch screen so you can watch movies and videos in full HD on a bigger, better screen. Lightweight and portable, it’s great on the go and will make your next work break, trip, commute or whenever you like a little screen time much more enjoyable. You can add a Bluetooth keyboard to use it for HD gaming, too. Even better, it doesn’t require batteries and is designed to fit most smartphones.
38. Mini Desktop Basketball
FOR ASPIRING ATHLETES
If you’re doing a Secret Santa at work and get that coworker who loves to procrastinate with desk games, get them this mini desktop basketball set. It can also help relieve stress, improve hand-eye coordination and folds up for easy storage in case the boss comes around.
39. Sower’s Source Indoor Herb Garden Starter Kit
FOR THE GARDENER
Gardening has many benefits, including stress reduction and the obvious supply of fresh food. This indoor herb garden kit includes everything you need to start your little garden and is a great addition to an expert gardener’s collection. The kit contains five kinds of seeds — basil, cilantro, parsley, sage and thyme — as well as pots, soil and markers.
40. Urban Map Glass
FOR THE IMBIBER
Each Urban Man Glass is etched with a city’s map, with details like street names and the location’s coordinates. You can take an imaginary walk whenever you kick back with a drink. Bonus: these are completely crafted in the USA, with the glasses made in Ohio and etched in New Hampshire.
41. Personalized Map Print
FOR THE HOMESICK
You know what they say — home is where the heart is. If you have a pal missing home more than ever this year, gift them this inexpensive gold foil custom map they can display in their new home.
42. Nidra Deep Rest Eye Mask
We all know someone who is constantly complaining about their lack of sleep. Help relieve their feelings of fatigue by getting them this deep rest eye mask, one of the best gifts secret Santa gifts under $20. It’s lightweight and blocks all visual stimuli to create complete darkness anywhere.
43. Shower Beer Holder
FOR BEER DRINKERS
Warm showers and a cold brew go together better than you might think. That’s why this shower beer holder makes a great drink. It’s sure to get a laugh at any White Elephant party or Secret Santa, and chances are your giftee will use the device too. Plus, reviewers say it’s also perfect for having a glass of wine in the bath.
44. Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
FOR MUSIC LOVERS
Bluetooth speakers make a great gift for music lovers, but it can be hard to find a good one under $20. Luckily, we found one that fits the bill. It has superior sound quality that’s powerful enough for indoor or outdoor use, advanced Bluetooth technology, a built-in mic, and lasts up to 12 hours fully charged. If your Secret Santa recipient loves to listen to tunes wherever they go, they’ll likely appreciate another high-performance portable speaker.
45. The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains
FOR COMIC FANS
The obvious choice for superhero comic lovers is a comic book, but we found a unique gift. This book, The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains: Oddball Criminals from Comic Book History, profiles over one hundred of the strangest, most cringe-worthy villains in comic book history. Hilarious supervillains such as Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man make the book great for non-comic-readers and veteran enthusiasts.
46. Kikkerland Design Mini Karaoke Microphone
Have you seen any of those “storytime” TikToks lately? You know, the ones where someone tells a wild rollercoaster of a personal story to overshare with thousands if not millions of strangers online? Well, many people telling those stories use this comically tiny microphone for that extra pop. It connects to your laptop or phone easily and surprisingly works well. So, if you’re trying to get that TikTok fame like the rest of us are, spill that tea using this bad boy.
47. Custom Dog Face Socks
FOR COLD PAWS
You can never gift dog lovers too much dog stuff. These socks are great because you can get specific with your giftee’s own pup’s face — and no one can have too many socks. You can select a size, primary color, personalized message and image of their actual dog. The socks are a gift that will hit home for any dog lover, and at just $10, they’ll keep your pockets full too.
48. Edibles Cookbook
FOR THE BAKED CHEF
Now that weed is legal in several states, weed-related gifts are acceptable — even in some offices. This edibles cookbook provides some dessert recipes that would be great on their own but get even tastier thanks to a low dose of pot. The cookbook offers much-needed details about dosage, so you can get zonked without going crazy (which sometimes happens with homemade edibles).
49. The New York Times Crossword Puzzles
FOR PUZZLE LOVERS
This book features 50 New York Times crossword puzzles for cozy winter mornings. It has Monday through Friday puzzles (the difficulty increases each day) for all levels of crossword enthusiasts. This makes it doable for beginners and masters alike so that you can gift it to virtually anyone.
50. Potty Putter Toilet Golf
FOR BATHROOM HOGS
Every minute of practice gets you closer to the perfect golf game. Even though it’s been around for a while, the Potty Putter always gets a laugh and always gets put to good use. It’s a putting green and hole that you set up right under your toilet and comes with a squatting-length putter club to match. Great if you’re giving a gift to an avid golfer or if you want to break the tension at the White Elephant party.
51. InnoGear Essential Oil Diffuser
FOR THE STRESSED
If you got stuck gifting that one person that never stops talking about how stressed they are or how poorly they slept last night, do them a solid by gifting this essential-oil diffuser. It releases a nice-smelling, stress-reducing oil mist and doubles as a color-changing night light. Although there are many of these machines on Amazon, this one is the best, with over 16,500 reviews and a low price of just $13.
52. Don’t Speak! Coffee Mug
FOR MORNING GRUMPS
For the partner, friend, or family member who “can’t even” before their coffee, it’s always hard to find out when they “can even.” This mug solves the problem by letting everyone know when to start chatting, when to hold on a sec, and when to think about leaving the room.
53. Vintage Mason Jar Salt & Pepper Shakers
Joke gifts are fun, but sometimes you want something your giftee will use and appreciate for a long time. We recommend these Mason jar salt and pepper shakers for an easy, chic gift that works as one of the best birthday gifts under $20. They come in a stylish blue or white and liven up any kitchen or dining table with a rustic look.
54. Exploding Kittens Card Game
BEST FOR GAMERS
This game was one of the most backed projects on Kickstarter of all time when it first launched and now has sold more than 10 million copies. It’s got super high ratings for its easy-to-learn game structure and adorable premise, and games take about 15 minutes, making it perfect for game night or a day trip to a brewery. It’s got adorable graphics of kittens and explosions; what more could you want?
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