(Budget) Secret Santa

Who says you can’t find a great gift for $20 and below?

Reading Time: 4 minutes


In the quest to find that perfect Secret Santa present this time of year, even the most thoughtful efforts can sometimes burn a hole in your wallet. Is it even possible to find a decent present for less than $20? Well, challenge accepted!

Whether you have a budget or you’re flat broke, these ideas for Christmas presents will make everyone wish you were their Secret Santa (wink).

1. Personal care bundles

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When in doubt, gift bundles are a great way to go. Without endorsing them too much, I’d say Body Shop gift bundles are a guaranteed winner. All you have to do is walk in, pick your favourite one which comes with a combination of soaps, gels, bars or perfumes, and they’ll wrap it up for you. Unbelievably, you can get one under $10 at their sales.

2. Mugs

The one thing that everyone needs! Regardless of your relationship with the gift receiver, this is something that they would use and appreciate. A mug with a cute cartoon or novelty design would leave them smiling.

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If you want to go one step further, you could also include a small pack of tea bags or cinnamon and cloves inside the mug as a bonus gift.

3. Thrift stores

Some people may not opt for this option because they like to give newly bought presents. However, if you are someone who’s looking to reduce their carbon footprint and stop more waste from ending up in garbage mines, this is a good way to go.

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Any Red Cross, Salvos or Vinnies in your suburb would have enough unique clothes and other antique knick-knacks to produce the perfect present.

4. Jewellery

Tiny jewellery stores like Lovisa and pop-up shops have extremely budget-friendly options. Around this time, I’ve spotted some extremely adorable festive designs like candy canes, Christmas trees, or snowflakes as earrings. Along the lines of 4 pairs of earrings for $10, the deals only get better as you increase your budget. A nice stud or ring for their piercing would be a nice addition to their collection. (Some folks even collect finger and toe rings!)

5. USB drive, SD/Memory cards

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This is possibly the most practical present you can give anyone. People need to back up their data! A small 64 GB stick costs about $15. A smaller USB with 16 GB storage is also available for $7 at Harvey Norman. Most of us could use a portable storage device handy in cases of unforeseen printing!

6. Postcards

Is it just me or does the State Gallery (and most other galleries) have the coolest collection of postcards and painting prints for sale? Even a quick browse in the gallery gift shop would be enough for you to pick out a few beauties that you can wrap a ribbon around, and it’s ready to be gifted! Better yet, purchase one and post it to them with a thoughtful greeting if you share that sort of relationship.

7. Plants and accessories

Neighbourhood nurseries tend to have small pots of flowering plants and succulents for 3-4 dollars, or 3 pots for $10.

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Besides, gardening and tending to plants is a good hobby this summer; the right season to plant a bunch of marigolds or a gorgeous tomato sapling. (It’s really no surprise that more and more of us developed a green thumb to become ‘plant parents’ during lockdown!)

8. Posters at Officeworks

Officeworks has a great deal on printing posters. A large-scale print of your secret Santa receiver’s role model (you could find out that info from your colleagues/friends) or a still from their favourite movie or TV show would definitely get them excited about the poster. A1 size posters can be printed for $20 anywhere!

Source: Unsplash

9. Magazine subscription

A curated print or digital subscription to a hobby magazine isn’t something many of us would think to do for ourselves, making it the ideal Christmas present! A 3-month subscription to Taste magazine is about $13 and the same for a Vogue subscription is about $20.

10. Origami set

Gift them a simple origami set with instructions! It’s good fun and a great exercise in mindfulness. As one becomes engrossed in the folding activity, one feels present in the moment, almost finding oneself in a meditative state. A set costs around $20 at Dymocks, you can also buy them online on Amazon or Booktopia.

Source: Unsplash

After all this, if you can’t be bothered to spend the $20 on a present, here’s a tip: just grab a sheet of paper and some colour pencils to make them a personalised card. (If your artist skills are on point, you could even make small caricature of them, just for a laugh!)

READ ALSO: Ask Auntyji: Do I have to visit my in-laws for Christmas?

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Bageshri Savyasachi
Truth-telling, tree-hugging journalist.

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