Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gift conundrums: Secret Santa

Secret Santa, secret snowflake, or any of the other seasonably appropriate names - if you haven't participated in one already, you're sure to at some point in your career.  What says 'holiday spirit' more than exchanging gifts with the acquaintance down the hall at work?

Okay...but really, they're kind of fun, so who cares if Susy Q. from the billing department isn't exactly your bestie?  Buying little gifts are fun!

I vividly remember my mom participating in Secret Santas at the school she worked at, and she always enjoyed the process so much.  There are various ways to go about the tradition, but the ones she participated in always included little gifts with clues throughout the week and culminated with the final (more substantial) gift and the Secret Santa reveal at the end of the week. 

Luckily, my mother has always enjoyed the giving part more than the receiving part because she didn't necessarily always get the pick of the litter when it came to gifts, if you know what I mean.  But don't be that person who gyps your receiver!  You can spend very little money on each little gift but still be thoughtful and purposeful...and not have the gift, ahem, trashed.  Don't give gifts that no one wants!  If you're going to go to the effort to participate, be jolly about it.   

Obligingly, here are my recommendations (for female receivers)...

But gift cards are so unthoughtful, right?  Well, I've got news for you - they don't have to be!  Put your Secret Santa detective skills to work, and find out what your receiver's favorite drink is.  Say it's a grande peppermint mocha with an extra shot - ask the cashier to ring up the drink so you can find out how much it costs, and purchase a gift card with exactly that amount.  Leave a sweet note saying, "You're favorite drink on me!" (or something of that sort).  It's so much more thoughtful than a generic $5 gift card.

If you've never tried one of these babies, you're really missing out!  Somehow they make a simple bath so much more decadent and enjoyable.  And the fizzing is just so fun!   They even have Christmas themed bath bombs - the perfect way to celebrate and give a seasonably appropriate gift without buying another generic Christmas mug.

Revlon Nail Enamel, Frankly Scarlet 745
There's nothing like a fresh coat of nail polish to make a gal feel pampered.  It's such an easy, inexpensive way to feel a little glam.  Why not try a festive holiday color with a little sass?  I especially like Frankly Scarlett by Revlon.  The perfect red with a hint of shimmer!

Merry Christmas Cookies
Channel your inner Martha Stewart and bake your receiver's favorite cookies.  (Throw in some Christmas cookies for good measure.)  It's an inexpensive but thoughtful gift...and you can eat the leftovers.  You can use the same idea for other treats as well, such as cupcakes or brownies.

Sudoku Plus (1) (Paperback).Opens in a new window
Admittedly, I've never been a sudoku person, but some people love this stuff!  If you're receiver isn't a number person, perhaps she loves word searches or get the idea.  You can even find these at dollar stores!  Both your receiver and your wallet will be happy.

Overall, here are a few general recommendations:
  • spend about $5 or less on the small gifts (don't overdue it - you'll be broke by the time the large gift comes around!)
  • do your research - get to know your receiver and give gifts that align with her interests
  • don't give something you wouldn't want to receive or would immediately get rid of - be thoughtful
  • please, please, please don't give a Christmas mug with a hot chocolate packet inside - it's so overdone!
Do you have anything else to add?  Any more gift recommendations?

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