How to Choose Gifts for People You Don’t Know

Nov 6, 2012

How to Choose Gifts for People You Don’t Know

Your workplace is having a Secret Santa gift exchange this year and you reach into the bag to see who the lucky recipient of your gifts will be. You draw out a name… “Susan”.

Who is the world is “Susan”? It turns out she is the lady with the glasses who was just hired and works on the other side of the building from you and with whom you have spoken only a couple of times. You have seen her in the break room and perhaps said hello to her in the elevator, but other than that, you and Susan are practically strangers. Now you are tasked with getting her a thoughtful and lovely Christmas present.

What do you do?

An office birthday or Secret Santa gift exchange can sometimes be challenging, because there is no guarantee that everyone in a workplace knows each other well, especially when there are new employees who have only been around for a while. What should you buy for someone that you barely know?

Here are some tips which will help you buy the best Christmas present for that stranger in your workplace and perhaps also help you get to know them better!

Safe Gifts for Co-workers:

  • Gift cards are usually a safe bet because you are not buying anything specific and you are letting the recipient make their own choices. Play it safe with gift cards for something that you are certain your Secret Santa partner will use. For example, if you spot them with a Starbucks cup, then a gift certificate for Starbucks is not a bad idea.
  • Another gift idea is a fancy food basket. There are many different gift companies which offer these gift baskets, and they are usually stuffed with nice goodies such as cheeses, wine, chocolates and more. Your co-worker might not love everything in the basket, but chances are there will be something that they will enjoy.
  • It’s pretty hard to find someone who doesn’t love TV and movies. A gift certificate to the cinema or a Netflix subscription is a gift which will likely be loved by all.
  • If the one thing that you know about your co-worker is their name, why not use that to get them a thoughtful gift. What about a luxurious engraved pen, clock or a photoframe with their name on it that they can keep on their desk at work?
  • However, avoid getting clutter and decorative items. Your Secret Santa partner probably already has a messy house full of junk and doesn’t need a decorative snow globe or a scented candle.
  • If any of your other co-workers know your Secret Santa buddy in more depth, ask them for inside details. What does the person do for hobbies and what are they interested in? With this insider information you will be able to get them a much more personal gift.
  • Everyone has to eat, so gifts related to eating out are never a bad idea. Give them a give certificate for a meal at your favorite restaurant and write a note for them about what menu items you recommend the most.
  • Spy on your Secret Santa buddy when they are in the break room at work and notice whether they are a tea or a coffee drinker. Then get them some gourmet tea or coffee so that they can have something nicer to drink than the cheap company supplies.
  • Everyone loves fun little games that they can play at their desk when they are trying to avoid work. Examples of procrastination-enabling gifts include desktop table tennis kits, books of puzzles, a Bonsai growing kit and other fun little toys.
  • Don’t get them office supplies, such as a cute hole puncher or stapler. It doesn’t matter if it looks like a frog, it is not much fun and reminds them that they will have to get back to work soon!

With a little bit of thought, you can give that stranger in your office a wonderful gift that they will actually enjoy and not just toss in the trash as soon as your back is turned. Remember these tips and you will be the best Secret Santa ever!

Are you stuck for Secret Santa ideas for that co-worker that you barely know? Here are some suggestions for gifts that they will love.

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