How to figure out the perfect gift as a Secret Santa

How to figure out the perfect gift as a Secret Santa

If you’re looking to throw an event to celebrate this holiday season virtually, Secret Santa is one of our favorite ways to connect with your people. Heck, we even recommended a Halloween-version of Secret Santa back in October. (Before you judge, go read and get inspired for next year)

One of the many reasons we love Secret Santa is because it takes the pressure off purchasing for everyone in your circle. We know that can expensive. There’s also the awkward debate of “should I or shouldn’t I?” purchase a gift, which is a song and dance we’d like to skip altogether. During the pandemic, a Secret Santa gift exchange also allows for a point of authentic connection. Is there even a downside? (We cannot see one!)

But while this is a fun activity to put together for your friends, family, or co-workers, it can be hard to know exactly what to get your recipient. How do you figure out the perfect gift without ruining the surprise? In a gift exchange format, there’s a chance you don’t know all participants super well. Even so, you want your Secret Santa recipient to feel seen and known by their gift. We can feel the pressure!

The silver lining? You should know us by now. As the gift-giving experts we are, Team Greetabl is never going to recommend something and not help you out. We’ve got you.

Here are a few tactics to find the perfect gift without blowing your Secret Santa cover:

Make a List

Check it twice. Write down all the things your person enjoys and set a timer. Possible brainstorm topics include:

  • Favorite sports teams, travel destinations, foods/restaurants, musicians, etc.
  • Memories
  • Quirks (the loving kind!)
  • Strengths
  • Inside Jokes
  • Hobbies or Past-Times

As with any good brainstorm session, don’t hold back any ideas and write everything down. At the end of your time, take a look at anything that stands out.

  • Are there common themes?
  • Are there certain memories that have an extra fondness?
  • Does anything seem especially unique to your person?

Draw from those.

Consider an Experiential Gift

If you’re shopping for the person who has everything, consider giving the gift of an experience. Did you list that your person loves going to concerts? Do some digging on their Spotify or Apple Music account to see their most-played artist. Do they enjoy beauty classes? There’s plenty of virtual events for that!

Even in 2020, you can find plenty of virtual events suited to your recipient. Eventbrite is a great place to start.

Take it to the Classroom

Has your friend, co-worker, or family member always wanted to learn something? Give the gift of a Masterclass. If your recipient has an interest in learning a foreign language, there are several apps or programs dedicated to just that.

Check out their social media activity (if applicable) for clues!


Step away from generic Amazon gifts. Greetabl makes it easy to send unique and personal gifts your people will love. (Plus, you get to skip the trip to the post office..)

If you’re super stuck on what to get, a gift card is a fool-proof idea! Greetabl makes the gift card experience elevated and feel more personal. That’s what we call a win-win.

Make a “Care” Package

If you know your person through and through, this gifting strategy will make them feel seen. Refer to the list you created above. Does your recipient always misplace their keys? Buy them a key finder! Does your person love hot sauce? Buy a travel Tobasco sauce for their car or purse. Create a mini care package of the things that help them get through the day.

Use a Secret Santa Generator

Websites like and make it super easy to conduct a virtual Secret Santa gift exchange. You are randomly assigned a name in the group, which means everyone gets to play. Surprises for all! As an added bonus, these websites also allow participants to include a “wish list”.

To fully level with you, Team Greetabl is doing a little virtual gift exchange of our own. On our team, there is controversy surrounding using a list of hints/ideas for your Secret Santa. Apparently, some of our team members think it is “cheating” (…we’ll leave that up for you and your group to debate).

If you decide to go this route, you can easily leverage one of the virtual name generators above. Or, ask everyone to send out a few ideas in a group text. This ensures everyone receives something they’ll love!

Enlist a Little Help

We kinda think you should use this one as a last resort. But if you find yourself getting desperado, you can ask someone close (and trustworthy) to your recipient for some advice. Just ensure they can keep a secret!