11 Office Secret Santa Gift Ideas For When You Know Nothing About Your Co-Workers

By Caroline Burke

Sometimes it can be hard to come up with office Secret Santa gift ideas that straddle all of the necessary requirements: funny, appropriate, and actually useful. It's not like a gift swap with your own intimate group of friends, where you're often basically rewarded for getting the most useless or inappropriate gift, as long as it makes people laugh.

Exchanging gifts at work is hard, because not only do you have to come up with a gift that won't get you fired, but you're usually getting it for someone you don't know all that well in the first place. The holidays are stressful enough as it is, without you having to worry about what Terry from HR wants under the Christmas tree this year.

When you're totally unsure about what to get a fellow co-worker for a gift swap in the office, the best thing you can do is fall back on a classic, or get them something that they can use on the job. After all, this is the setting where you know this person best, right? The trick is to find a relatively inexpensive gift that won't wreck your budget, but doesn't look like you were trying to cut corners in the first place. Here are 11 Secret Santa gift ideas for the co-worker you know nothing about.

A Pair Of Funny Printed Socks
Joy of Socks

I Hate Everyone Too Socks, $9.99, Joy Of Socks

Side note: Is it just me, or do socks disappear as soon as you wear them for the first time?

Anyway, a pair of socks is a totally easy gift to get for someone, with the added bonus of range: There are literally thousands of themed, printed, and colored socks to choose from, so you can get as weird or as plain with it as you want. Bonus points if you can find a pair that will make your co-worker laugh out loud.

A Waterproof Notepad
Rite In The Rain

Rite in the Rain All-Weather Top-Spiral Notebook, $6.41, Amazon

For anyone who loves the outdoors, a waterproof notebook is an incredibly handy tool, and one that people usually don't think to get for themselves. Gifting an all-weather notebook to your hiking-obsessed co-worker will come across as both thoughtful and appropriate.

A Gift Card To A Nearby Coffee Shop

Starbucks Gift Card, $5+, Starbucks

Don't over-complicate things if you don't have to. Coffee is a standard form of bonding that all co-workers can share, and especially during the hectic weeks leading up to the holiday season, everyone appreciates a free cup of coffee. Starbucks even has an option for you to send an e-gift card, if you're looking to cut down on paper this year.

Portable Hot Sauce
Urban Outfitters

Sriracha To-Go Bottle Keychain, $8, Urban Outfitters

First of all, I am definitely buying one of these for myself. But for real, a Sriracha keychain is possibly the most fantastic gift you can give to anyone who loves hot sauce. Trust me, there's nothing worse than craving spicy food and getting slammed with bland.

A portable hot sauce keychain is a great gift for pretty much everyone, although you might want to know if they like spicy food prior to getting it.

A Coffee Mug For Work

Dunder Mifflin (The Office) World's Best Boss Coffee Mug, $12.95, Amazon

The ultimate gift for your boss? A constant reminder of Michael Scott.

In all seriousness, a Dunder Mifflin coffee mug is just plain excellent for any office gift — unless you ended up picking the college intern's name out of the hat, and she doesn't even know what The Office is (in which case, you might want to buy her the show's DVD set instead).

A Rubik's Cube

New Rubik's 3X3 Cube, $9.99, Rubik's

For the co-worker in your life who just can't stop fidgeting during meetings, or even when she's alone at her desk, a Rubik's cube is a funny, personal, and potentially even useful gift.

Depending on how savvy they are, you can get the 3x3 Rubik's cube or the 5x5 cube (if you don't like the co-worker, maybe give them the 5x5 cube so that you can low-key enjoy watching them sweat to figure it out).

A Plant They Can Keep At Their Desk
JC Succulents LLC

JCSucculentsLLC Albuca Spiralis Succulent, $14.99, Etsy

It's scientifically proven that people are happier and healthier when surrounded by plants, so a succulent is a low-maintenance, high-reward gift for the co-worker in your life who seems constantly burdened by a dozen deadlines at a time.

If you have the time, throw in a water spray bottle so that they can start keeping their succulent healthy with a few weekly spritzes ASAP.

A Coffee-Holder For Those Who Bike Into The Office

Portland Design Works Bar-ista Coffee Cup Holder, $17, REI

Do you know someone who bikes into work on the reg? This coffee cup-holder is the perfect addition to their morning commute.

And if you're feeling super generous, you could always throw in a coffee shop gift card to complete the whole thing.

A Mini Can-Cooler

Night Ops Can Cooler With LED Light, $9.99, ThinkGeek

A can cooler is the ultimate gift for the co-worker who won't stop sending out passive aggressive emails about people stealing his Pepsi at lunch. Throw this can-cooler his way, and voila — everyone's happy.

Some Creative Writing Utensils

Yansanido Pack of 12 Forest Yellow Green Grass-Blade Ballpoint Pens, $12.99, Amazon

This bundle of grassy pens looks just like a plant, which has to offer some sort of scientific benefit (can someone do a study on this?). Either way, it's a really creative and aesthetically pleasing way to guarantee that someone won't run out of pens anytime soon.

A Zen Garden

Mini Zen Garden, $21.99, Etsy

Zen gardens have this totally retro feel to them that makes this gift fun, not to mention the fact that making those little designs in the sandbox must be extremely satisfying. Just imagining dragging this rake through the sand is calming me down already.

Give this present to the co-worker whose in-laws came to town a week early — trust me, they probably need it now more than ever.