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Easy and budget friendly Secret Santa gift ideas

When you’re a youngster, December is a marvelous month, when colorful presents begin appearing beneath the shimmering Christmas tree.

When you’re an adult, the holidays can be a decidedly less magical time, when roads are blocked, shopping malls crowd and your office runs a Secret Santa gift exchange.

Though designed to be lighthearted and uplifting, gift exchanges can be a source of awkwardness, stress and outright panic. As a participant, you may face the daunting task of hunting down an impressive, but not-too-expensive gift for a randomly selected person. Depending on your luck, you could be shopping for your best friend, your boss or someone you are not that close to.

But you don’t have to skip Secret Santa this year. Here’s a guide that can help you navigate your next holiday gift exchange with the skill and effortlessness of Santa himself. After drawing the name of your lucky recipient, check out this list of wonderful and wallet-friendly Secret Santa gifts.

Experience gifts:

Gadgets will break, scarves will go out of style and fruitcakes will stale, but memories last forever. Award your recipient the gift of experience – think tickets to a concert, comedy show, play or movie. You can often find solid deals on tickets for shows, games and other events.

Membership gifts:

Treat your Secret Santa recipient to an annual membership for a arts and crafts class or book club and other interests that are relatively easy on the wallet.

Digital gifts:

Deep in the digital age, you can buy gifts without shopping malls and shipping, minutes before your Secret Santa deadline. For example, eGift cards for Amazon, iTunes and Google Play can make for a much-appreciated last-minute gift. There are also media-streaming services, such as Netflix and audio book.

Food and drink gifts:

Restaurant, bar and dessert shop gift cards are fun. Supermarket gift certificates are useful. Chocolates, sweets and gourmet nibbles are usually met with delight. Or make your own cakes or cupcakes that will be greeted with equal enthusiasm.

Donation gifts:

Celebrate the season of giving by bestowing your Secret Santa recipient with a philanthropic gift. When you buy a charity gift card from a site, such as Embark or any charity that the recipient is passionate about, your recipient gets to allocate the money to that cause. Alternatively, you can shop accessories, bath and body products and other goodies that give back to charitable causes or international communities.

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