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The secret santa: a guide for the puzzled gift-giver

By Emma Brodey and Maggie Hassel

Secret santa gifts are a holiday tradition of the highest order in both the classroom and the workplace, and chances are you’re participating in at least one this year. Even experienced gift-givers sometimes struggle to come up with a good gift for a secret santa-ee they know too little or even too well. Here are some fail-safe ideas to make you the best secret santa ever.


Homemade Baked Goods and a Nice Note

You drew your secret santa and got that hottie you’ve been crushing on for ages! Homemade baked goods show that you really care, especially if you can make something you know they particularly love. It’s more personal and cute than a store bought gift, but less I-want-to-marry-you-and-have-children-with-you than, say, a lock of your own hair. Make sure you also attach a nice note with an inside joke or a pun, preferably relating to the attached food. If you’re feeling really bold, you could use the note to confess how you really feel. Or, if secret santa’s are really staying secret, you could keep the note anonymous and let the object of your affections know that someone is admiring them from afar. Or, of course, you could keep the note ambiguous, and let them interpret it as they will. However you choose to write it, this gift-note combo is sure to take your relationship to the next level.


Store Bought Food

Let’s face it: you don’t always have time to make the perfect cupcakes. Buying candy or baked goods from the store is a great gift for a hungry secret santa-ee whom you don’t know very well. They will appreciate the deliciousness of high-calorie delectables that they would have been too ashamed to buy for themselves and you don’t have to stress about finding something personal or funny. Just make sure you give plenty of food to make up for the lack of thoughtfulness. Also, consider putting the food in some kind of cute packaging to make it more meaningful.


Fluffy Socks with Personality

You and your friend hoped this would happen, and now it has. You’ve got her as your secret santa-ee! Now you need to find the perfect present.

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Sometimes, however, it can be a challenge to find something perfect enough for your best friend. The ECHO has found a fail-safe solution: the fluffiest, cutest, most comfortable socks you can find. If you can find a pair of socks with an inside joke the two of you have, so much the better. An amazing variety of funny socks are available online, from sophisticated Shakespearean socks (below) to mouth watering pizza-themed socks (also below). This secret santa gift will be sure to get a laugh, and shows how much you care about keeping your friend’s toes toasty warm.



Do It Yourself Gifts

photo courtesy of

If your cooking leaves something to be desired, but you still want to make something for your Secret Santa, there are lots of great DIY ideas available online. Pinterest is an especially excellent way to browse for ideas, and often includes tutorials if you choose something more involved. Gift ideas range from punny candy wrapper cards (for the hungry secret santa-ee) or mini spas in a jar (for the stylish secret santa-ee) to a colorful wreath made of tea bags (for the tea-loving secret santa-ee). DIY ideas can, of course, be found elsewhere, including inside your own head! Get creative, and your secret santa-ee is sure to be impressed.


The most important thing in being a secret santa is to get your secret santa-ee something they will like, that they wouldn’t necessarily get for themselves. So while gifts like store bought candy or food might sound a little lame, they might make someone just as happy as something you made. Most people don’t treat themselves enough, so it’s important to treat them a little this holiday season.


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