It’s that time of the year again. Christmas is fast approaching and before you know it you’ll find yourself adorned in a questionable Christmas jumper, sipping on mulled wine regardless of the time of day and desperately searching for a secret Santa ideas for work. 
We’ve all been on the wrong end of a bad secret Santa gift, or perhaps you’re one of those people who just can’t get it right. Fear not, HeadBox is on hand to help! We’ve put together 10 cardinal sins of the office secret Santa that you should avoid at all costs.

Secret Santa Ideas for Work

The Christmas Themed Gift

When you’re struggling to find a secret Santa gift, it may seem intuitive to go for something festive themed.
What could possibly be bad about Rudolf socks, a snowflake mug or a Christmas tree decoration? Well for starters, they have a shelf life of about three weeks.
As soon as January rolls around, your gift will be stowed away with the rest of the festive gear and likely forgotten about by next Christmas.
Guaranteed every person has a veritable hoard of Christmas pyjamas, jumpers, socks and novelty mugs. Don’t waste your money on something that’ll go to waste.

The last-minute ‘I just picked this up from the train station on my way to work’ Gift

Sometimes life gets in the way and you can end up leaving finding the perfect secret Santa gift for work to the last minute. So what do you do?
You nip into one of the gift shops in the train station on the way to work and pick up the first thing you see. You may think you’ve avoided an embarrassing situation but in fact you have just traded it in for another.
Your colleagues will spot a train-shop gift from a mile off. Train shop gifts are often far too expensive and often they’ll just be throw-away gifts the recipient won’t appreciate. 
There is only so much thoughtfulness you can fit into the 10 minutes between getting off the tube and walking to the office. Plan in advance and avoid an awkward train-shop gift faux pas!
And if you drive to work and are feeling smug, in case you were wondering, petrol station gift are just as bad. Avoid at all costs!
Caucasian woman wearing a santa hat is untying the ribbon on a small wrapped gift.

The ‘last year’s unwanted stocking filler re-gift’ Gift

Okay, so you may not be John from account’s biggest fan and he probably wasn’t your first choice for secret Santa but even so, no one deserves a re-gifted present.
If you don’t want last year’s stocking fillers, we doubt John from accounts will either.
Take your unwanted pressies to your local charity shop instead and look for something that might help you get into John’s good books. This secret Santa idea for work is not only good for the recipient but also your local community.

The Embarrassing/inappropriate in-joke Gift

If you lucked out and managed to get your office best pal as your secret Santa recipient, you might be tempted to flaunt your friendship with a in-joke related gift. Our advice? Don’t. Save that gift for later at the pub.
The last thing you want is to embarrass your work chum with an inappropriate gift. Find a present that’s thoughtful instead.

The ‘I Refuse to Stick to the Budget’ Gift

The under-spender: This should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. Stick to the budget or as close to it as you can. If you spent £3 of the allocated £10, your colleagues will notice. And it’s not good to be known as the office cheapskate. 
The over-spender: We can’t berate you too much for being such a generous gift-giver that you’ve spent three times the allocated £10 budget on a gift that no one could possibly match.
It may make you feel good, but it will make everyone else in the office anxious that they didn’t get something equally expensive to gift.
Save everyone the embarrassment and stick to the budget!
Woman wearing Christmas jumper unties the ribbon on a wrapped gift on her knee.

The ‘I don’t know you at all’ Gift

There seems to be an unspoken universal rule that if you don’t know what someone might like for a gift, you get them a miscellaneous bath set or variety chocolate box.
Now, unless you’ve done some digging and found out that your secret Santa recipient adores a Dairy Milk selection tray or a Boots bubble bath and body butter duo, our advice is try and be a little more creative.
Spend a little time working out the person’s style and see if you can find an item of clothing that they’d like. Or perhaps you’ve overheard them discussing their favourite wine or spirit? All these little clues will give you the perfect secret santa idea for work colleagues. 

The ‘Joke Shop Gimmick’ Gift

So you’re the office joker? Then for this secret Santa cardinal sin, you’re our most likely suspect.
Don’t get us wrong, we love a good joke present from time to time, but the problem with these kinds of gifts is that after the initial chuckle, there’s not much more to be gained.
Unless the gift has a functional element, the likelihood is it’ll go straight into the pile of gifts-to-be-forgotten-or-thrown-away alongside the festive-themed mugs, socks and PJs.
Even worse, a joke present can cause more harm than good. Avoid anything that could be offensive to the recipient and make sure you’d be comfortable with the boss seeing what you’ve bought.
a square gift wrapped in brown paper with blue stars on with a blank name tag rests on tip of a dark wooden table top.

The Gift Card

We hope we don’t have to go into detail for this secret Santa cardinal sin. Nothing says ‘I don’t care’ like a £10 gift card. Come on. You can do better than that.
There’s really not much to sourcing the perfect secret Santa present. Just give yourself a few days to think about it, invest some time to understand what your colleague may like and stick to the budget. Most importantly ask yourself the question ‘Would I like to receive this gift myself?’. If the answer is no, then get back to the drawing board.