Coming up with amazing Secret Santa ideas for coworkers that aren't either totally lame or totally impersonal is always something of a challenge. Your coworkers sure are an interesting bunch — either they are your partners in crime, or they're the source of numerous dramatic stories that you bring home that start with "can you believe them?!" No matter how your office functions, you're a team — a team that knows each others' work ethic quite well, but might have a little difficulty thinking up cool gift ideas for each other.
If you have an office that believes in the holiday spirit (and at least offers both Christmas and Christmas Eve off, a gift in itself!), there's a chance that you'll be forced to participate in a Secret Santa exchange with people you know absolutely nothing about. Or, perhaps you've reached "hang out outside of work" status with a few choice coworkers, who you want to thank in gift-form for being your rock when things got especially stressful this year. No matter what the case is, your workplace and the holiday will somewhat mingle, and there'll probably be an awkward celebration with a party sub involved.
If you're searching for gift ideas for your coworkers, look no further. Below, you can find some inspiration for some practical, charming presents that won't cost you an arm and a leg. These suggestions will help your wonderful coworkers brighten up their workplace, or at least feel special knowing that you put thought into your gift to them, and didn't just throw stuff in your cart from the dollar section. (Not like there's anything wrong with that.)
1. Vintage Brass Letter Holder
Giant Vintage Brass Paperclip / Letter Holder, $28, SergeantSailor/Etsy
This letter holder, available from SergeantSailor over on Etsy, is perfect for the coworker who has to make the daily mail run. It'll also remind them of Clippy, everyone's favorite Microsoft Word mascot. Clippy, you left this world too soon.
2. Q&A A Day Five-Year Journal
This little journal, which is meant to chronicle your personal growth throughout half of a decade, will inspire your coworker to take a minute to themselves and think about the hard stuff, like "What song is stuck in your head?" I personally have one of these, which I started last year, and it's truly making me look forward to 2016.
3. Festive Candles
This is a great gift for both the coworker you know well, and one that you've only learned about once you pulled their name for Secret Santa. Candles help put everyone in the holiday spirit, and Bath & Body Works has an amazing selection of scents, from Marshmallow Fireside to Fresh Balsam.
4. 'The Innovative Admin,' by Julie Perrine
Being an administrative assistant is hard work, and there's a good chance that your boss totally skipped past Administrative Professionals Day this year. (It was on April 22. It's often skipped.) Your admin is the backbone of the office, and a book about admin-life might inspire her to unleash her creativity at the workplace.
5. Geometric Mini Planters
What's an office without office plants? This set from RedwoodStoneworks on Etsy will throw two air plants in the mix, for an additional 10 dollars. Not only are these planters adorable, but they're sure to brighten up an otherwise-drab office desk.
6. 'The Office' Inspired Photo Mug
Do you remember the episode of The Office when Jim and Dwight realized that their customer service reports were sabotaged since they never went to Kelly's party? All of the party guests brought their souvenirs back to the office — mugs with their faces on them. Shortly after the episode aired, NBC made similar mugs available. (I currently have Andy's. It's a good mug.)
7. Dunder Mifflin Tumbler
Speaking of The Office, your coffee-loving coworker might appreciate this tumbler bearing the logo of our ultimate favorite fictional paper company. It holds 10 ounces of your favorite hot beverage (or if you're Meredith, vodka), and is available at the NBC Universal Store.
8. Fred & Friends Ninjabread Men Cookie Cutters
If you have a kickass coworker who loves to bake, these adorable Ninjabread men cookie cutters will brighten up her holiday. This set from Amazon includes three cookie cutters that each feature a different ninja attack pose.
9. Mighty Mug
OK, I own this mug. I drank out of it today. And I drank out of it when I worked out of an office. And it was the best purchase I could have made.
See, I'm a little clumsy, and have spilled hot coffee all over my desk somewhere between five and a billion times. This mug grips to stay upright, leaving my coffee (and my clothes) in check. If your coworker has a cluttered desk, this is the perfect gift to make sure her paperwork isn't spotted with spilled coffee stains.
10. Milton's Red Swingline Stapler
If you and your coworkers constantly quote Office Space, this gift will be both funny and useful. Here's a fun fact: The stapler never actually existed in its fire engine red color before the film debuted, yet Swingline got so many requests that they decided to release a version of it to the public.
11. Cider Tea Flight Collection
Who doesn't like some comforting tea every now and then? If your coworker prefers sipping on tea instead of coffee, they're sure to love this gift set from Teavana, which includes Spiced Apple Cider Rooibos, Poached Pear Herbal Cider, and Mulled Pomegranate Herbal teas.
12. Holmes Ceramic Globe Space Heater
Holmes Ceramic Globe Space Heater, $25, Holmes
Offices can get a little chilly. This little space heater will offer your coworker a little bit of relief during the cold months. Plus, its design is pretty adorable (and it comes in different colors!).
13. Holiday Sweet Treats Box from Harry & David
Moose munch popcorn? Shortbread cookies? Chocolate truffles? Heck yes. I'd give a huge hug to the person who picked out this choice little treats box for me. Unless your office Secret Santa is under certain dietary restrictions (and it's always good to check), this is bound to make them smile.
14. Knot Your Average Charging Cable
Knot Your Average Charging Cable, $40, ModCloth
There's a pretty good chance that your coworker has an i-Gadget. Why not let them charge up in style? This red charging cord from ModCloth is great for the holidays, and it's a gift that will never, ever go to waste. Everyone could use an extra cord or two. Or seven.
15. 'Fortune Favors the Brave: 100 Courageous Quotations' by Lisa Congdon
Everyone needs a little encouragement once in awhile, and this book will help inspire your coworker. If he or she has been stressed out because of job and life woes, this might be the perfect pick-me-up present.
16. Tiny Field Mouse Notecards
Tiny Field Mouse Notecards, $16, madgeandmabel/Etsy
These cute little notecards from madgeandmabel's shop on Etsy will truly be a hit with anyone who loves animals, the outdoors, or stationery in general. Made out of recycled cardstock, they can be used for any occasion. If mice aren't your thing, this shop offers a bunch of other simple, all-purpose designs.
17. Barnes & Noble Gift Card
Barnes & Noble Gift Card, Prices Vary, barnesandnoble.com
A gift card to Barnes & Noble pretty much says, "I want you to spend some money on a book that you truly enjoy. Sexy crime novel? Go for it. There's no judgment here."
If they're not into reading, there's a bunch of other items on the Barnes & Noble website that might tickle their fancy.
(Picture courtesy of Mike Kalasnik/Flickr)
18. Executive Knight Pen Holder
We all know that the pen is mightier than the sword, and this funny little pen holder would be perfect for the coworker with a great sense of humor. Even better, the pen comes with the set, and is refillable — so your fellow employee is bound to get a lot of use out of this gift.
19. Spitfire Girl Dino Terrarium Kit
Spitfire Girl Dino Terrarium Kit, $16, Urban Outfitters
Have a quirky coworker who needs to liven up her desk? This terrarium kit from Urban Outfitters is the perfect solution. While it comes with a few figurines, she can find her own plant to truly create her own little scene.
20. Mini Business Card File Cabinet
Mini Business Card File Cabinet, $13, ThinkGeek
Here's another fun find from ThinkGeek, and it's perfect for the coworker in sales. Or, your boss, who has to juggle a bunch of cards at once when he goes out to promote your business. It's an adorable and super convenient way to stay organized.
Looking for more holiday cheer? Check out Bustle on YouTube.