Perhaps this Santa is too Secret
October 30, 2012 5:00 PM   Subscribe

Secret Santa gift for a girl that I don't know too well. I can't provide too much information, but she's 21, college educated, has a fairly bubbly personality, and likes the Ravens. What are some good generic gifts for someone in this age range with this extremely vague set of descriptors? I'm trying to avoid gift cards. Price range is $20 to $30 dollars.

Obviously I should try to get to know the person better, but she doesn't really hang out in our regular group of friends, and is the girlfriend of a guy who is only around on occasion. Plus I'm also going to be spending less time with this group. Asking other people is out since it's going to be pretty obvious why I have a sudden interest in the personal preferences of someone I barely know, thereby negating the secretness.

One thought I had is a collection of items from some boutique body care place, but that also seems impersonal, and perhaps more of a white elephant than a useful gift.
posted by codacorolla to Shopping (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What about a Ravens t-shirt? If you're going to hang out with her and the bf at all between now and then, get into a sports discussion and try to figure out who she likes on the team, and you can get one of the tees with that player's number.
posted by DoubleLune at 5:05 PM on October 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

Well, I think you'll have to get her an impersonal gift if you don't know her!

Why can't you ask other friends in that group and say that it's for a Secret Santa? I've done that before. In my experience people are good about that sort of thing; I can't imagine why someone would intentionally spoil the surprise for her.
posted by danb at 5:07 PM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you live in Ravens territory, you can probably get Ravens branded merchandise at your local Wal-Mart, Target, etc.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:08 PM on October 30, 2012

Have you paid any attention to how she dresses? The classic "I don't know you" Secret Santa gift is a scarf. If she has an obviously favorite color, or maybe a remarkably colored accessory like a bright purse or non-metallic glasses, get her a scarf to match. Go for feel more than anything though - rub the fabric on the inside of your elbow and under your jaw and find the softest, comfiest scarf you can in your price range. Or maybe a Ravens scarf!
posted by Mizu at 5:15 PM on October 30, 2012

Ravens Infinity Scarf?
posted by Nickel Pickle at 5:22 PM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Ravens scarf is a great idea... that I used in a similar situation last year.
posted by codacorolla at 5:23 PM on October 30, 2012

A pair of Ravens tervis tumblers, a purple serving platter, or other tailgatey things.
posted by headnsouth at 5:42 PM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Two generic suggestions: maybe a nice umbrella or a 3-month subscription to Birchbox?
posted by chickenmagazine at 5:43 PM on October 30, 2012

If you know that she really likes beer (or wine) you could create a mini tailgate party-- a couple of plastic Ravens tumblers, Ravens napkins, a bottle of wine, fancy chips (maybe those blue/purple Terra ones?)
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:51 PM on October 30, 2012

Does she wear nail polish? A few (higher quality) bottles in her team's favorite colors would probably be right up most bubbly 21 year-olds' alleys.
posted by Syllables at 5:52 PM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'll second the Ravens tailgate stuff idea. A bubbly 21 year old will be either going to or throwing a lot of parties and those things come in handy.
If you don't want to go the football themed route, then a travel mug for hot drinks is the sort of thing that 21 year olds who are busy and trying to stretch their budgets (hint: most 21 year olds) can never have too many of.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 6:10 PM on October 30, 2012

Does she have a Facebook account? If so, you can check out her pics and get an accurate idea of her personal style.
posted by raisingsand at 6:15 PM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I say, don't get her sports stuff. If she's really crazy about them, then she probably has all the sports stuff she can stand, so giving her something won't be too special. If she's not a super fan, she won't care that much about it.

Therefore, I say give her a sampling of teas. And maybe a bodum cup - they are very delicate which means they can break easy, so they make great gifts.
posted by rebent at 6:21 PM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm not a fan of gift cards either, but I dislike gifts I don't need and can't return even more. I think this is a situation where she would be thrilled with a gift card rather than find it impersonal. Just my two cents.

If you truly are dead set against the gift card, what about a food related gift? A hot chocolate set, a box of candied apples, chocolates, coffee, alcohol...
posted by cecic at 7:23 PM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like the idea of sports related stuff instead of a bath set. As a woman, I receive so many bath items as presents that I almost never have to buy them. I'd be much happier receiving an item relating to my favorite sports team. You might be able to find something in the clearance section of, or at your local WalMart, Target or TJ Maxx (as TPS suggested above).

I also really like the idea of checking out her FB page or other social media sites to get an idea of her style. I've done this for Secret Santa gifts before and although it felt a little strange, it really helped me pick out gifts the recipient loved.
posted by youngergirl44 at 7:53 PM on October 30, 2012

If she likes beauty products/makeup a 3 months subscription to Birchbox would probably be well recieved. A friend gifted me a subscription a year ago and I still look forward to the box every month.
posted by Saminal at 7:59 PM on October 30, 2012

I was checking out her Facebook profile (creepy!) and it seems like she likes dressing up, plus she always seems to wear nice stuff when I've seen her out at parties or bars.

The Birchbox just seems like samples though... don't companies typically give those away anyways?
posted by codacorolla at 8:23 PM on October 30, 2012

Birchbox is mostly samples, but has full sized stuff like eyeliner and lipstick, too. It is rad, and I think it's an excellent idea for a secret Santa for a girl who likes dressing up and looking put together.
posted by k8lin at 9:13 PM on October 30, 2012

Birchbox is a good idea! Also, for Secret Santa I like to go to Crate and Barrel and buy either a wine chiller (marble thing that goes in the freezer for white wine), cheese board (marble slate), cookbook holder or some other similar fun kitchen item. That is, if they like cooking at all.
posted by fyrebelley at 9:24 PM on October 30, 2012

I see a lot of young women around here sporting knitted fingerless gloves when it is cool but not desperately cold. If this suits the climate where you are, you could try these from Etsy:

Cabled fingerless gloves
In organic wool with a wooden button
Cabled and ribbed
With owl cable on the back
Chunky lace

You can also contact a local yarn store and ask if they know a knitter who would be willing to do a pair on commission so you could choose the yarn and pattern.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:34 AM on October 31, 2012

Birchbox is just samples, but it's mini-sizes of things - it's a surprise in your mailbox each month! k8lin is right - sometimes they do send full size eyeliner and lipstick.

I love it because it allows me to try out sample sizes of things that I would never buy the full size of without trying, and then if I love them, I can buy the full size. My boxes generally always come with a perfume each month, which I could do without. But also come with several other samples, plus sometimes a treat - either a bracelet or food of some kind. It's super fun!
posted by needlegrrl at 5:42 AM on October 31, 2012

Nthing Birchbox. I would love if a secret Santa got me that!
posted by apricot at 7:22 AM on October 31, 2012

Lots of women wear Ravens jewelry, and not just to games and tailgates. Look at these earrings or these less traditional ones. They are somewhat more personal, but not too much. And it isn't just more "stuff" sitting around cluttering up her life. I think useful is the way to go these days.
posted by maxg94 at 7:58 AM on October 31, 2012

I think that Birchbox and the earrings, while putting me a little over the suggested limit, are what I'm going with. Thanks so much to everyone who replied!
posted by codacorolla at 10:52 AM on October 31, 2012

I think Birchbox is fantastic. I'd be careful with the earrings -- since you stalked her facebook, did you see her wear only classy jewelry or anything more funky/nontraditional? If there's anything kind of out there, you're fine, and she'll probably love it. If she wears more conservative jewelry, it could be one of those "it was a really nice thought but gawd I would never wear those" kind of things.
posted by DoubleLune at 11:29 AM on October 31, 2012

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