When it comes to thinking up fun Secret Santa ideas, consider gifts that are inexpensive and playful. The whole point of Secret Santa gift exchanges is to simplify the gift exchange process. Since you don't have to buy as many gifts, you can get to know more about the recipient and find something just right.
Before you buy anything, think about the group of people you are playing Secret Santa with: The setting will dictate which gifts are appropriate. Thus, the gift you choose for a coworker might be different from the gift you would choose if you were playing Secret Santa with friends or with family members. Also ask if there are any Secret Santa ground rules, such as spending limits.
The following list includes great Secret Santa ideas that can work for anyone:
Candy or Food: If you can find out the kind of candy or snack a person likes to eat, you can buy the kinds of products that she will truly enjoy and appreciate. Ask several different people about the recipient's eating habits, dietary preferences or even allergies to get an accurate picture, and then put together a gift basket of different foods.
Gift Cards: You can also find out where a person shops or pick up a gift certificate from a popular store in the area. This way, the recipient will have some power over what they decide to buy for themselves, but the gift feels more personal than giving cash. In this case, it is even more important to know the spending limit for your Secret Santa group.
A Mix CD: For a truly thoughtful gift, you can make a CD with music that the gift recipient enjoys or that reflects on your relationship with the recipient. If you don't know the recipient that well (like a new co-worker), you could also make a CD full of holiday songs.
Any of the above Secret Santa ideas will cover a range of personalities and budgets. Use these as a springboard, and you'll get a reputation as the best Secret Santa in your group.
With a little planning, you can have a frugal Christmas and still enjoy the joy of the season.