Be the Best Secret Santa: Gift Giving 101

The holiday season is officially upon us. With all the glitz and glam of decorations, holiday traditions, and controversies surrounding coffee-chain cups comes the pressure of gift buying.

Whether it's a new relationship in your life, a scrutinizing relative, or a co-worker, gift giving can be hard. Don't fear—we've got you covered. ANNA is here to make sure you get gifts your friends and family will love. 

Your Favorite Barista

They somehow always get your order (and name) right, know when you need that extra shot of espresso, and occasionally slip you that cinnamon scone. Visiting the same spot everyday is bound to get you some perks, whether it’s a drink on the house or a free upgrade to a large.

You’ve seen how crowded and stressful coffee shops can be during the holidays, so why not brighten their day with a little gift? While you definitely can’t go wrong with a bonus tip, a funny book about their trade, a funky flask, or a creative candle projector are great, more personal ideas. Just don’t get them coffee. They get enough of that on a daily basis.

  Image courtesy of Diply.com

Image courtesy of Diply.com

  Image courtesy of birchbox.com

Image courtesy of birchbox.com

Hard to Please Aunt

You’ve tried everything: cashmere sweaters, jewelry, perfumes. No matter what, everything gets returned, left in the box, or (the worst) regifted.

You’re tired of trying so hard and being greeted with lackluster results, so how about something that lets her choose exactly what she’s looking for? You really can’t go wrong with some nice wine, and there are fun ways to ensure that she’ll like it. Try a subscription to The Tasting Room, which lets you taste samples before buying a full bottle. Club W allows you to personalize your wine selections based on your food and drink preferences so every month your purchase plays exactly to your palette. If she doesn’t love the wines (but seriously, who wouldn’t be happy with wine), there’s no one else she can blame.

  Image courtesy of Club W

Image courtesy of Club W

New Boss

You’ve just started a new job and while you don’t want to be a kiss-ass, you’d love to get your new boss something to show your appreciation. Now, you have to be professional, but that doesn’t mean you can’t show some personality.

If their workspace is kind of generic and plain, spice it up with a cool art deco clock—small and functional, yet a creative conversation piece. If you notice that they’re always carrying a lot of things, try a city skyline rack; it’s great for hanging a purse, a jacket, or a gym bag.

 Image courtesy of cgets.com  

Image courtesy of cgets.com  

  Image courtesy of uncommongoods.com

Image courtesy of uncommongoods.com

Work BFF

There’s no doubt your work wife/husband has kept you on the side of sanity when you were about to go over the edge, and they’re always there to vent to when a meeting goes badly or your office enemy is making life difficult again. You’re with them for 40 plus hours of the week—with so much time spent together, you’re bound to learn their quirks and style and will obviously want to get them something they’ll enjoy—particularly at the office.

Offices are notoriously chilly and they would probably love a heating blanket (especially now that the winter months are upon us). Cold not an issue? No problem. Opt for a cute coffee spoon or funny mug. You also can’t go wrong with cute desk gifts—a cassette tape dispenser or handmade cross-stitch all make a bleak cubicle more inviting and individual.

  Image courtesy of crookedbrains.com

Image courtesy of crookedbrains.com

  Image courtesy of etsy.com

Image courtesy of etsy.com

Are We/Aren’t We Partner

In our prominent hookup culture, it can be hard to define a relationship without “labels.” Sure, you call each other cute names and enjoy your frequent adult sleepovers—but do you refer to each other as your SO? And so the gift dilemma begins. Do I even get them a gift? Should it be romantic or should I stick to funny? Will they get me one or will this be totally awkward?

Ugh. It’s exhausting. If your relationship status is up in the air, your best bet is to get something nice but not too personal—something that could read as more than friends or just that. Some great options are leather glovescool speakers, or a book that’s meaningful to you—not as over the top as a romantic dinner cruise, but less basic than a Starbucks gift card.

  Image courtesy of macys.com

Image courtesy of macys.com

  Image courtesy of sharperimage.com

Image courtesy of sharperimage.com

The New Friend

Whether they’re new work friends or you’ve got a new group that you’re hanging out at the bar with, it can be hard to think of gifts for new people in your life that you’re just now getting to know. Say the group has come together for Secret Santa this year and you get someone you’re not super close with yet; you still want to get a gift they’ll appreciate it, but it’s not like they’re your BFF and you could pick out their gift in your sleep.

A cool terrarium or a simple scarf are generic enough that almost everyone would like them, but it shows more thought than a box of cookies you picked up at the supermarket.

  Image courtesy of urbanoutfitters.com

Image courtesy of urbanoutfitters.com

  Image courtesy of handm.com

Image courtesy of handm.com

Treat Yo’ Self

You finally had your rent in on time or just snagged a promotion at work after making a crazy good sale. You’re straight killin’ it. The universe is practically begging you to indulge. Whether you want to go big and reward yourself with a stylish travel bag or some tricked out headphones, or you’re looking for something smaller like a rustic bottle opener or cozy pair of slippers, go ahead and pamper yourself for the holidays. You deserve it.

  Image courtesy of oliveandcocoa.com   

Image courtesy of oliveandcocoa.com   

  Image courtesy of baublebar.com

Image courtesy of baublebar.com

Feature photo by Annie Spratt/ VIA Unsplash