GiftFilter: Office Secret Santa Edition
November 14, 2018 2:54 PM   Subscribe

Certainly not a new question on the Green, but perhaps one worth revisiting for 2018—my office just drew our Secret Santas, and I got the SVP who has, and has done, everything their heart desires. We have an unenforced $25 cap, and a rule that all gifts should be used up by the end of the next year (i.e., no 'stuff'.) I'm interested in your ideas for this Secret Santa, as well as all similar gift exchanges.
posted by matrixclown to Work & Money (27 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
A donation to California fire victims sent on their behalf?
posted by Baeria at 2:58 PM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


Would a $25 donation to a cause close to their heart violate the rules?

Edit: jinx!
posted by ITheCosmos at 2:59 PM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


It sounds like it should be consumable. I would look around amazon's gifty food section until you find something that you think "I could see them eating this".

Like I just searched "food gift" and I'm literally drooling.
posted by bbqturtle at 3:12 PM on November 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


Nobody ever has enough candy and there are no calories if someone gives it to you. I'd be thrilled if someone gave me $25 worth of candy from Lofty Pursuits
or Sugarfina or Economy Candy.
posted by Kangaroo at 3:14 PM on November 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


Find a place that does 5-for-a-dollar instant ramens. Pick out $25 worth and put them in a giant box. Done.
posted by blnkfrnk at 3:27 PM on November 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


Donations in lieu of Secret Santa gifts-- is that something people actually do? From the perspective of someone who has never seen this done, I think that a gift that spotlights the recipient's relative seniority, wealth and privilege would put a bit of a damper on an office gift exchange.

It sounds like your exchange is going to be pretty boring anyway due to the "no stuff" rule so don't worry too much about being funny or finding a truly useful gift or whatever. If you've noticed anything about their food/drink preferences, that's great. Don't run out and buy them a $25 gold-flaked bar of chocolate because you think they're too fancy to enjoy anything else.
posted by acidic at 3:35 PM on November 14, 2018 [6 favorites]


Go online and buy the biggest bag of freeze-dried cereal marshmallows you can get for the money. $25 could get you a sack the size of a pillow. It's a great gift because you'd NEVER buy it for yourself, but once you have it, you're definitely eating it
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:42 PM on November 14, 2018 [13 favorites]


If they're coffee drinkers, I'd buy them half a pound of premium whole bean coffee from a roaster so small and new that they're unlikely to have heard of it.
posted by jamjam at 3:42 PM on November 14, 2018 [10 favorites]


Seems like an excellent opportunity to buy them indulgent food. $25 worth of nice mug cake mixes? A bad day emergency package of chocolate, tea, mug cake, small airplane bottle of fancy booze? Substitute with fancy mixed nuts or dried meats if they don't have a sweet tooth. Basically, if you live near a World Market, go take a stroll through their tiny packages of fancy food aisle and buy $25 worth.
posted by yasaman at 3:48 PM on November 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


Do they travel for work? Put together a small snack kit of nice non-perishable items in a small protective container (I like the "Lock and Lock" brand of locking food storage but there are many to choose from) and decorate it to indicate that it's meant to be slipped into their carry-on to make their next business trip more endurable.

Or if they *really* travel a lot, put together a small travel kit that contains silicone ear plugs, some single-use ibuprofen packets, sample-size packs of dramamine, melatonin, or whatever you can find -- basically things that would be useful for someone who spends a lot of time on the road to be able to pull out of a carry-on and have what they need. If you're willing to stretch the "no stuff accumulation" rule you might even throw in a small USB charger; having a spare while on the road is usually not a bad thing.

I have several such kits that I have assembled for myself over the years and they make traveling much nicer. As long as I keep them topped off I know I can just pick them up and throw them in my backpack while packing for the trip and know for certain that I will have the contents available when I get where I am going.
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:20 PM on November 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


Interesting / cute office supplies? Etsy has some custom pencils and cards, Redbubble has notebooks and stickers and such. No worrying about food allergies!
posted by momus_window at 4:23 PM on November 14, 2018


I'd do a Kiva gift card or a decadant (tiny) jar of truffle salt.
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:31 PM on November 14, 2018


Luxardo Maraschino Cherries. Package jar with a muddler, an ice cream scoop, or a spoon.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:32 PM on November 14, 2018 [6 favorites]


Go online and buy the biggest bag of freeze-dried cereal marshmallows you can get for the money.

Two pounds of Krunch Kote and one pint of the best ice cream you have in your area.
posted by jessamyn at 4:42 PM on November 14, 2018


In cases like this, I usually go to the local wine store that has nice people who work there and say, "This person likes (red/white/rose) wine and I have $25 to spend. HELP ME." They have always been able to hook me up.
posted by queensissy at 4:47 PM on November 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


Does the SVP have an assistant/admin person who might be able to offer a hint about his/her food/wine preferences?
posted by mccxxiii at 4:59 PM on November 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


Do they drink tea? What about a selection of gourmet teas?
posted by EatMyHat at 5:15 PM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


Fancy decorative matches and pretty papergoods if they they are party givers.
posted by vespabelle at 5:20 PM on November 14, 2018


Winter Lights aromatherapy candle collection (includes cinnamon orange and clove, cranberry orange, lavender, lavender lime, lemongrass, and peppermint scented candles)
posted by jazzbaby at 5:24 PM on November 14, 2018


Scratch-off lottery tickets
posted by Daily Alice at 5:57 PM on November 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


One of those big regional dining/entertainment paid coupon books (e.g.) have something for everyone.
posted by glibhamdreck at 6:02 PM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


How about some cookies with aloha?
posted by jazzbaby at 6:45 PM on November 14, 2018


I got the SVP who has, and has done, everything their heart desires
I'm assuming that's the Senior Vice-president, and therefore quite well off.
If they're coffee drinkers, I'd buy them half a pound of premium whole bean coffee from a roaster so small and new that they're unlikely to have heard of it.
(Emphasis added.)

This is the only approach that will get their attention. You need real artisan stuff. Quantity isn't the winning move. If not coffee, then chocolate, alcohol, honey, maple syrup, or truffle oil. Often, the longer something takes to make, the better. Mass-produced organic is not the way to go, you want limited run or hand-made stuff.
posted by krisjohn at 7:39 PM on November 14, 2018 [12 favorites]


Fireworks.
Maybe there is a good nearby street musician that can come in and play them a personalized song.
posted by Sophont at 9:13 PM on November 14, 2018


bourbon barrel aged maple syrup is a thing.

B&E bourbon is back.

(can you tell I like bourbon?)
posted by jenquat at 6:14 AM on November 15, 2018


In the coffee vein I'm not 100% sure it is still open but if you want some excellent coffee from somewhere they've never heard of I would go with the Cheese Shop in State College PA. The owner has traveled to various coffee growing regions around the world and buys direct from the farmers/cooperative. He then roasts the coffee himself daily in an antique roaster that he knows how to use VERY well. The Bourbon Santos comes very highly recommended.
posted by koolkat at 12:46 AM on November 16, 2018


In the non-food vein, in a white elephant office exchange (that was themed by letters or colors on different years), lotto tickets were surprisingly popular as a gift that was stolen (letter L that year).
posted by typecloud at 8:48 AM on November 19, 2018


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