10 examples of thoughtful secret Santa gifts for your boss

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 21 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Finding the perfect secret Santa gift for a boss can be a great way to show your appreciation for their admirable leadership. The right secret Santa gift can express your gratitude while demonstrating that you know what they appreciate and like on a personal level, which can improve your overall professional relationship. It can be useful to understand how to find a gift that's the best mix of professional, personal, appropriate and memorable. In this article, we explain why finding the right secret Santa gift is important and explore 10 thoughtful ideas for secret Santa gifts for your boss.

What to consider when buying secret Santa gifts for your boss

Finding the right secret Santa gifts for your boss is an opportunity to improve your professional relationship with a manager and show thankfulness. Finding the perfect gift includes balancing many different factors, such as budget, company guidelines and preferences. Some things to keep in mind before shopping for your secret Santa include:

Stick to established secret Santa guidelines

To ensure that you follow your company's policy when it comes to gift-giving, read over the company's established secret Santa guidelines. This usually details important information, such as the preferred budget to use, gifts to avoid and other noteworthy rules the company expects you to follow. If you have a specific question about the process, it's beneficial to ask the employee who sent out the information, rather than assume the answer.

Related: Forming relationships with work colleagues

Find out what your boss likes

While desiring to impress your boss with an amazing gift, remember to consider their interests rather than buying something flashy or generic. Finding something that your boss may like might take some careful thought on your part. Think of instances where you've had interactions with them or consider what makes them an individual rather than just your boss, and let this guide your decision.

Keep your secret Santa gifts professional

It's important that your boss' secret Santa gift remains professional while also speaking to their interests. Remember that this is a workplace gift exchange, so it's best to consider gift ideas that relate to your workplace. This way, you can ensure that any gift you get for your boss is tasteful and inoffensive.

Related: My boss hates me: improving your relationship with your boss

10 secret Santa gift ideas for a boss

Choosing the best secret Santa gift you can get for your boss depends on your particular work dynamic. Since every boss-employee relationship is different, here's a list of general gifts that can help you decide on a perfect, specific and professional present that's tailored to your manager:

1. Culinary accessories

If you know that your boss enjoys cooking, baking or eating great food, a culinary accessory, such as a cheeseboard-and-knife set, mortar and pestle, unique serving platter, cookbook or even a lunchbox with utensils, is a great avenue to consider for gift ideas. It can be challenging and perhaps against company policy to gift fresh foods, so an accessory can demonstrate your ability to combine what they like with company guidelines. And since many culinary gadgets come in several styles and colours, you can tailor your choice to your boss' personal preferences.

2. Office and desk accessories

If you're relatively new to a company, it can be challenging at times to find out what your boss genuinely likes. In instances like this, it's best to stay professional; one thing you can know for certain is how invested your boss is in their job. Unique or unusual office and desk accessories, such as a weekly colour block notepad, pen and pencil set, leather notebook or desk accessory organiser, are an easy way to ensure that your gift remains professional and thoughtful.

Related: How to be organised at work (plus benefits and tips)

3. Cocktail, whisky or wine accessories

Some offices adhere to a strict policy of zero alcoholic gifts within their secret Santa exchange, and if you know your boss has a passion for mixology, this can present a challenge when choosing a gift. Rather than opting for a generic or impersonal gift, consider a unique cocktail, whisky or wine accessory instead. There are limitless options for tasteful alcohol-related gifts, including cocktail glass sets, personalised coasters, whisky stones, wine glasses, bottle stoppers, decanters or mixology sets, many of which are customisable for a personal touch.

4. Tea or coffee accessories

If you know your boss is a tea or coffee fan but want to gift more than a coffee mug, there are many interesting, useful and unique accessories to consider instead. If your boss is enthusiastic about for coffee, consider gifts like a mini French press, a coffee club subscription, an electric smart mug, a mini coffee bean grinder or an all-in-one mini cold-brew coffee maker. For a boss who enjoys tea, you could go for something like an automated tea brewer, a convenient tea steeper mug or even a tea mug-and-pot set for one.

5. Practical gym accessories

If you're looking for a gift that's both practical and thoughtful for a boss who loves fitness, there are many unusual, useful gym accessories that you can consider. A wellness journal is an inexpensive and unique gift that can track gym progress while eco resistance bands are useful and environmentally conscious. An armband is practical and customisable, and a book of office-friendly yoga poses is unique and light-hearted. With such a wide range of products to choose from, gym accessories are a great gift option, whether you know your boss well or are a novice within the company.

6. Plant accessories

If you know your boss loves indoor office plants or flowers but you're not sure where to start when choosing a type of plant, there are many useful and thoughtful accessories that can make a great secret Santa gift. For example, you can consider interesting gifts like a mini indoor growing kit to improve their office plant environment, unique flower vases to brighten up their space, water globes for easy office plant maintenance or a build-your-own terrarium kit to unite their creative side with their green thumb.

7. Book and literature accessories

If your boss loves to read but you're not sure what type of literature they like, there are many book and literature accessories that you can choose from that they would likely enjoy. For example, unique bookends are a distinctive and practical present, a literary magazine subscription can help them to stay up to date on all the newest authorial voices and a hand-stamped bookmark can add a thoughtful touch to their reading accessories. Stick to literary gifts that don't focus on a specific author to ensure that your gift is generic enough to apply to different literary preferences.

8. Unique office stress relievers

You may not know your manager well, apart from knowing that they're the figurehead of a bustling, booming business. In these instances, you can try opting for a unique office stress reliever as a fun yet thoughtful gift. Some anti-stress gift ideas include a mini shoulder massager, an aromatherapy stone diffuser, a box of assorted stress-relieving teas or stress balls for adults. Alternatively, there are other unique stress-relieving gadgets that create a more adventurous gift, such as an office-sized zen artist board or a travel-sized embroidery kit.

Related: How to manage feeling overwhelmed at work (with steps)

9. Office accessories to moderate the temperature

For a boss who's always trying to increase or decrease the temperature in the workplace, there are many interesting gift ideas that would make a great secret Santa gift. For example, weighted throws, electric slippers, coffee mug cosies or office-sized hot water bottles are great options if your boss regularly feels cooler. For a boss who's always trying to cool down, consider buying them a cool down ice towel, a bladeless neck fan, a cooling blanket or even a mini humidifier.

10. Tech accessories

If you're not yet very close with your boss but you know that they enjoy keeping up with the latest technology trends, tech accessories are a great idea for useful and practical secret Santa gifts. For example, a universal and portable charging station can allow them to charge their different devices, a mini portable printer can provide them with instant physical photos from a high-tech camera or a sleek desk phone stand and charger can keep them connected throughout the day.

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