Awesome Secret Santa gift ideas

We are all familiar with that cheesy pickup line— “It’s not the gift but the thought that counts,” right?  Well, not quite.  I think both the “gift” and the “thought” are very crucial.

So with Christmas approaching, office parties are in full swing and you don’t want to appear stingy or cheap, you also don’t want anyone to feel slighted by your gift. Under such pressure, it’s easy to get caught up in a spending spree—trying to hunt down the perfect gifts for family and friends and for that co-worker whose name you just drew from the sack.

But you don’t have to agonize over this or lose sleep in trying to figure out what to buy. Moneybags journalist, Ochega Ataguba looks at some shopping tips to save you time and from splurging unnecessarily this festive season, in a part two to our Secret Santa gift idea series. (To read part 1, click here)

Draw up a budget and stick to it.

Draw up a list of items you intend to buy before you hit the malls—that way you won’t find yourself straying into the shoe aisle or store and overindulging in the process. Especially if you are a sucker for shoes. So it’s a good thing to acknowledge your weak points then make a mental note to resist the temptation. It makes it easier to deal with.

Inexpensive gifts are a good way to bring the numbers down, so avoid shops that are specialised in particular products or exclusive to particular items, as they tend to be overly pricey and leave you feeling ripped-off.

For more tips on how to avoid being ripped-off this Christmas, click here.

13 gift ideas for under R200  

To avoid this awkward situation you would want to put some thought into choosing a Christmas gift—and if you are like me, you’d go for something thoughtful, uncommon, yet simple and as practical as possible—something that looks way more expensive than it really is, right? But that’s the tricky part.

So this year, we’ve come up with a list of 13 cool gift ideas that won’t break the bank, yet will make your co-worker a happy camper.  Bet on these 13 presents under R200 to fulfill that blank cheque and make your holiday shopping a whole lot easier.


  1. Handcrafted canoe olive bowls with wooden jacaranda spoon: R140. Available @ Isabelina, Cavendish

These gorgeous bowls will serve as elegant pieces of décor and can be used to serve olives when entertaining guests this festive season. Your co-worker will definitely appreciate this rare gift.

  1. Pug pen holder: Available @ Typo

This quirky ceramic pug penholder will come in handy for the workaholic co-worker who is also a pet lover. It serves as a pen holder as well as a cool display piece.

  1. Smart phone Photo lens: R130. Available @ Typo

Almost everyone is into selfies these days, so you will never get it wrong with a gift like this camera lens. They allow you to add different effects to selfies and create “crazy cool” things with your cell phone.

  1. Polka dot journal: R199. Available @ Typo, Cavendish

These gorgeous polka dot journals will definitely wow the recipient. Almost everyone would love this journal.  If this co-worker is a scribbler, this gift will nurture their love for the written word.

  1. iTunes voucher: R 150. Available @ iStore

Load this apple voucher iTunes with as little as R150 or more and treat your co-worker to a reasonable shopping ‘spree’ on the iTunes and Apple App store. The festive season is the perfect time to listen to and enjoy Christmas melodies, movies and more.

  1. Gym towels: R75. Available @ Bathroom Basics

Any gym enthusiast would love these gym towels. They come with a small pocket and zipper, big enough to store your smartphone and keys. That way, your co-worker won’t misplace their things when out for a run or at the gym.

  1. Civvio crystal pedometer: R149. Available @ Total Sports

These days, almost everyone is trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle by keeping physically active. This device would help the wearer keep track of their physical activity by providing a feedback on the amount of calories they burn.

  1. Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle tea mug: R169. Available @ Typo

You hardly get it wrong with gag gifts. This cool mug has a tight lid that would keep your tea from spilling. The message on it could trigger a smile on your recipient’s face whenever he is having a bad day and make tea breaks more fun.

  1. Rosewater hand cream: R199. Available @ Crabtree & Evelyn, Cavendish

Although hand creams are mostly used during the winter, this Rosewater hand cream is a cool gift this summer. While splashing in the pool and relaxing on the beach hands can feel dry and parched. This will serve as a perfect solution.

  1. Hand crafted sugar bowl and jacaranda spoon: R205. Available at Isabelina, Cavendish

This exquisite sugar bowl is slightly above our R200 spending limit, but it’s worth the extra. It comes with a dainty wooden spoon locally crafted from bleached jacaranda trees. The recipient of this present would be overly impressed.

  1. Rustic candle holders: R199. Available @ Bath and towels, Salt River

These handcrafted elegant candle holders from India are stylish.  A perfect gift for that co-worker with an eye for aesthetics.

  1. Consol solar glass jar: R160. Available @ House and home

This eco-friendly solar jar will serve as a brilliant atmosphere enhancing piece of décor, as well as an alternative to electricity supply as it releases light at night after being placed in sunlight during the day. So if your co-worker is a greenie, then this present will definitely warm his heart.

  1. Kinesiology Tape: R119. Available at Total Sports