Gifts Under $25 for Secret Santas & Yankee Swaps

The Yankee Swap, White Elephant, Secret Santa or, in my family, we call it Pollyanna (which is apparently a Philly thing? Who knew?) — there are many variations on these crazy reindeer games. Here’s a quick run down on some basic rules.

Whether you pick a name from a hat or bring a gift designated for “the pile” (and then mercilessly trade until you get what you want — see Kardashian Christmas), we have five no-fail ideas for your office or family get together. We tried to keep the cost below $25, but we didn’t try very hard.

1. The gift of possibilities:

A Mega Millions Lottery Card. Drawing tonight (12/17)! You never know…

$1, Various locations

2. The gift that says I have amazing taste:

Something local and small-batch, ‘natch. A bottle of Oregon House Wine from Portland; Mast Brothers chocolate from Brooklyn. You get the idea.

$9; Mast Brothers chocolate bar from Bklyn Larder

$12, 2010 House Red,

3. The gift that says I have no taste:

Items professing your pet addiction, e.g., this Santa Kitty tee.

$24, Urban Outfitters

3. The gift of glorious geekitude:

Wired magazine art director Tim Leong uses pie charts, timelines and more to dissect the world of comic storytelling in Super Graphic.


5. The gift that goes over the limit — but is worth it:

Dang it! I lost these decadent gold pig bookends to a devious officemate at a recent Yankee Swap. They were a much-coveted item and went way above the $20 limit. No matter.


6. The gift that’s bound to induce tears:

True story: My well-intentioned sister brought a goldfish in a bowl to our family Pollyanna — the year we decided to include small children. So you can imagine what occured: first one five-year-old nabs it, and then the other five-year-old steals it. Result: an hour of crying.

$3 and up,

7. The gift that gives back:

Darn Good Yarn is known for their luxurious, recycled, peacock-flamboyant colors of silk yarn, but these leather cuff bracelets are of-the-moment cool. A purchase also helps provide a means of support for women in Nepal and India.

$22 and up,

8. The gift you actually need:

Recommended by my friend Ericka, the Green PowerBank Keychain Battery Charger.


9. The “‘Oh hilarious’ — for exactly one minute” gift:

The Christmas sweater t-shirt. We dig the dinosaur version.


10. The “I put no-thought-into-this” gift, but what people actually want:

Starbucks gift card. Done and done.


11. The gift you’ll steal mercilessly to bring home to your kid:

The Grumpy Cat stuffy.


Want some more ideas? Check out our Secret Santa & Yankee Swap Gift Guide for 2014!

Tell Us in the Comments

What do you think?

One Response

  1. The TueNight Gift Guide Part Two | Tue Night

    […] 11 Gifts for that Office Secret Santa. […]


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.