You know what time it is? Time for HR to send out an email inviting everyone to participate in an office-wide gift swap. That or it’s time for you to prepare for your family’s
annual white elephant gift exchange. You know the kind, where everyone buys a secret Santa gift under $5 to exchange in friendly holiday fun.
But what can you give that’s less than five bucks and still appealing? Plenty. Forget panic-shopping late at night at a convenience store and hit up these online vendors for fabulous finds. With a little imagination, you can give one of these Christmas gifts under $5 that are more than mere novelty items. Think small tech tools, fashion accessories, inspirational decor, and more. Yes, all of those will cost you less than a Lincoln and they’re actually practical presents.
The key to a great budget gift is taking a good hard look at your recipient and choosing something they’ll actually use or want. Maybe you have a coworker who is awesome but a little under-appreciated. How about a Boss Babe sticker for her? Or maybe your cousin is always misplacing his keys. Give him an inexpensive catchall dish he can drop them in each time he comes home. These secret Santa gifts under $5 are totally affordable, and will be very much appreciated.
1 A bracelet for positive vibes
The holidays can be super stressful, so really, anyone would benefit from some good energy. And this
chakra bracelet from Amazon, at just $1.99, won’t break the bank. The gender-neutral bracelet has an elastic stretchy band so it’ll fit any size wrist. The seven chakras (root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye, and crown) are all represented on this bracelet that’s bound to give its owner some peace and clarity in their lives. The sixth chakra, which is responsible for financial abundance, just might become activated, because this bracelet is definitely a bargain. 2 Bath gloves for extra exfoliation
Sure, you could suds yourself up with a washcloth, but if you want to get a truly shiny heinie, these
bath gloves would make an awesome gift. From The Body Shop, the nylon gloves work to exfoliate every inch of your bod. In addition to getting you squeaky clean, the gloves also act as a massaging agent of sorts, since you’ll be doing additional scrubbing on your tired skin. As one Amazon reviewer wrote, “After using these, my body feels cleaner than I ever knew possible... My skin comes out feeling clean, without the dried-out feeling, while making even the coarsest of skin feel smooth and soft.” 3 A back scratcher to banish any itch
Give yourself a pat on the back when you gift this back scratcher as part of a secret Santa. The
back scratcher has seven stainless steel teeth claws which means it can eliminate any itch it comes into contact with. And thanks to its telescoping ability, you’ll be able to reach anywhere on the back, or those hard-to-reach areas. The rubber grip is ergonomic and also means you’ll have a firm grip as you scratch away. One reviewer wrote, “The teeth do a good job of curing that itch.” And at $4.09, you’ll scratch your own head wondering why you never picked up this item as a present before. 4 Good vibes only necklace
Affordable fashion, like this
sweet sun necklace, doesn’t have to be junky. In fact, the choker gold plated necklace is as dainty as it is adorable. This kind of necklace can be worn alone, but it really begs to be layered with longer pieces, too. One reviewer wrote, “The person I gave this to as a gift loved it!” And how could they not, since the card backing that the necklace comes on instructs its wearer to make a wish when the put the necklace on, and to remember that there is something to celebrate, and most importantly, that there are always sunny skies ahead. 5 Candy cane flavored Chapstick
ChapStick might not seem like a gift, but try telling that to your dry and cracked lips. To put that special someone in a holly jolly good mood, the
ChapStick comes in a candy cane flavor. But hey, candy cane stripes at this time of the year are enough to make you feel pretty festive. Best part: the ChapStick comes in a 3-pack, which is great since you’re bound to lose at least two of the lip balms, anyway. Don’t believe how unbelievable this gift can be? Some very excited Amazon reviewers wrote: “I wait for this time of year to stock up on these! They are the best flavor year round,” to “I LOVE getting these every time it gets close to Christmas. They are sooooo cooling and refreshing and make me get in the Christmas spirit.” Make sure you stock up for your Secret Santa gift — and for yourself. 6 A calming candle
When it comes to candles, you can’t really beat the combined scents of vanilla and lavender. And if you love a
calming candle, then you need the Lavender & Vanilla Soy Candle from Public Goods. This 7 oz. size retails for $4.95 and has essential oils that encourage calm, while the vanilla, fir needles, and tonka bean will make your whole house smell like a big ol’ Christmas sugar cookie. The candle has an acacia wood lid, making it 100% plastic-free, too. Equally sweet and restorative for the soul, you can use the jar post-burn to store loose bits and bobs around your house. 7 Cute keyring
For the person who is constantly losing their keys, this
cute keyring makes an ideal gift. Made by Etsy seller MadeByLeniShop, you can choose from any Scrabble letter, and each tile comes with a pretty golden heart. You can get your gift boxed for an additional fee, or just wrap it yourself for free. Although you can choose the letter you like, what you can’t customize is the number next to the letter, since it strictly follows Scrabble rules. So that means people with names starting with “Q” or “Z” will always be the most valuable — worth 10 points. Losing keys (or a serious game of Scrabble) will never be a problem again. 8 Supportive socks
Remember what it was like as a child to get clothing (or worse, socks) for the holidays? Well, your adult self just might have learned how your day can start off on the right foot (ha) when you wear the right socks. So if you have some employees participating in the Secret Santa, you’ll want to stock up on these
affirmational and inspirational socks from Positive Promotions. The one-size-fits most socks are made from a cotton blend and are nice and thick, with some punny sayings like, “Thanks for being toe-tally amazing!” to “You knock our socks off!” Because as far as holiday presents go, this one will totally knock their socks off…in a good way. 9 Mini mani kit
All you’ll need to keep your fingers looking well-groomed can be found in this
mini mani kit from Sally Beauty. Included in the set are a nail clipper, scissors, a tweezer, and a file. It comes in a cute (and very compact) case that is designed to go anywhere with you. And because of its diminutive size, it works well both as a $5 secret Santa gift or even as a stocking stuffer for your friends and family. It’ll keep hands looking coiffed in time for the holiday party. 10 Mints for fresh breath
It’ll be a beautiful day in the neighborhood when these
Mister Rogers’ Encouragemints are your Secret Santa gift. Yes, it might be a basic tin of mints, but when you add the iconic Mr. Rogers to the cover of the container, it takes on a whole new meaning. And if the person who gets this gentle gift asks why you gave it to them, you can say, “Why? Because I like you!” Minty fresh breath has never been so sweet. 11 A coloring book for adults
From starfish to sea turtles, lighthouses to marine life, you’ll find so much to color in this
adult coloring book. But this isn’t your typical coloring book; no, the coloring pages are single sided, which means there won’t be any unintentional bleeding onto the next image. Plus, the 8 x 10 inch pages are perforated, so you can tear them out easily to work on separately, or even frame them when you’re done. There’s a wide variety of images and complexity levels to choose from, so you won’t get bored by simple pictures or frustrated by overly complicated designs. Just grab some markers, crayons, and color your way to some calm. 12 A gift for Golden Girls fans
Break out the cheesecake and get ready for some real laughs when you play
game. Players will get a walk right down memory lane with Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia as they try to fill in the blanks in the book. There are 21 stories that need some suggestions, and you can either try to answer them honestly or mad libbing your way to some really good times and fun memories. At the end of the game, you’ll all be saying (wait for it), “Thank you for being a friend.” The Golden Girls Mad Libs 13 Personalized sleep mask
You want your gift to make someone feel relaxed, like they got a good night’s sleep. Well, this
personalized satin eye mask just might see your friend off to some sweet dreams. The handmade mask, from Etsy seller handmadesupplyer, allows you to choose the color (think emerald, grey, indigo, and black for starters) to text color (like rose gold, glitter purple, among so many other choices). The super soft satin eye mask comes with a matching bag to store it in, and Etsy reviewers are marveling over the masks, saying, “AH-MAZING quality and craftsmanship. I was so impressed and satisfied!” to “Omg great quality they feel great thank you I’m super happy.” Sweet dreams. 14 Boss babe sticker
You know what never goes out of style? Showing appreciation to an under-appreciated coworker. We all have one, someone who quietly puts in the extra time to get things done never asking for anything in return. Make that person feel extra special with your office Secret Santa gift under $5 by giving them this lovely Boss Babe sticker. By handing that to them not only are you saying “Great job!,” you’re giving them permission to slap that thing on their desk, computer, or planner, and hold their head high knowing they’re doing a great job.
15 Airpod case
It’s likely you know someone who permanently lives with their Airpods in. But when they do get a down minute and need to take those babies out, make it easier for them by giving them these cheap gifts for coworkers under $5, an Airpod holder. This super inexpensive gift will likely become their favorite item, a true necessity they can use every day. And that certainly beats buying them something random at the gas station.
16 A gorgeous note card
Can’t figure out what to give someone? Then go the more meaningful route and purchase a beautiful card that doubles as a piece of art. This gorgeous greeting card is perfect. Inside you can write a meaningful message to whomever you want. Then they can use it to decorate their cubicle, home, or even have it framed to keep the memento forever. As is often repeated this time of year, it truly is the thought that counts and with this gift, your thoughts will be clear.
17 Gua Sha facial tool
Who doesn’t need a little pampering? It’s something everyone could use. But giving oneself permission to indulge in some self care isn’t easy for everyone. You can help with your Christmas gift under $5 by wrapping up this Gua Sha facial tool for a friend or co-worker. Made to be used in tandem with a face oil or cream, the user rubs the stone over the face to relax the muscles and promote drainage. Like a mini massage, it’s the most inexpensive form of physical therapy you can buy.
18 Affirmation card
Affirmations often get eye rolls from the cynical. But let’s be honest, deep down a vote of confidence can work wonders, even if it is written on a note card we keep tucked in our desk. Etsy vendor Afton by Palm has a selection of different affirmations including “Freedom is happiness on your terms,” “Exhale,” and “Let the rain fall right to your roots. Suck it all up and grow through the storm that you go through. Bloom.” Perhaps there’s a coworker on your secret Santa list that could use one of those messages. Now you can share for less than it costs to buy a latte.
19 Clay face mask sample
Perhaps buying your fave coworker a full on massage is out of the question or out of the budget parameters of your office secret Santa. No worries. You can still treat them with a mini sample of at home DIY face masks. With three choices available, including Matcha, Rose Clay, and Turmeric, you can tailor your choice to your recipient to ensure they get the most out of their facial cleanse. All they need to do is take the product pouch, mix it with water into a paste, apply it to the face for 15 minutes, then wash off with water.
20 Magnet clips
This six-pack of magnet clips may seem so basic, but think about it for a sec. Do you ever have enough of
these things? For that random back of chips or Skittles that you want to save for tomorrow, or for that displaying yet another piece of preschool artwork? Magnetic clips just really always come in handy.
Ready to play Santa’s elf and pass out your gifts? Review this list of secret Santa gifts under $5 for coworkers (or friends or family members) before the party.
What Parents Are Talking About — Delivered Straight To Your Inbox
This article was originally published on
November 28, 2017