Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Secret Santa & stocking filler gift ideas 2018

Secret Santa is something that always sounds really fun in theory, but sometimes it comes down to it and you’ve ended up with someone that you barely know or someone that’s really fussy/has allergies/hates anything cute or let’s face it, if you’re doing it in the office for example, someone you don’t even like. Especially with office Secret Santas too, I find there can be quite a bit of pressure to buy something that’s Actually Good and not something naff or that’ll just go to waste. So I’ve put together this gift guide, full of Secret Santa ideas that are also fairly small and not terribly priced so could be the perfect stocking filler for your partner/kid/parent/whoever you might be making a stocking for. As with all my guides, some of these products were sent to me by brands for consideration to be included – I’ve only actually included the ones I love, and they will be marked with an asterisk.

Alcohol

Not to be ~predictable~ but if you know someone’s drink of choice, you can’t really go far wrong with buying it as a gift – and Christmas is the time for drinking. It’s also the time that the shops (and online retailers) are full of miniatures which can be a cheaper alternative to buying a full sized bottle of spirit, for example, and also fit in a stocking. Win win!


B&M Bargains (and also Home Bargains, Savers etc) always have a huge variety of miniatures and gift sets – which sometimes come with chocolate or glasses or whatever. There’s actually a whole site dedicated to miniature bottles of alcohol, aptly named ‘Just Miniatures’ which sells a massive variety of tiny alcohol from wine to whiskey and everything in between as well as soft drinks and jam. Prices start at around £2.50 and you can get some fabulous brands on there such as super-fancy Tiger Gin, Cointreau (my fave) and loads more.


If you’re looking for miniatures that are a little more ~out there~ then definitely have a look at Fallen Angel Drinks, who are an indie drinks brands who make crazy-lookin' drinks – they sent me this miniature duo* to share with you, which contains 50ml each of their British vodka and their herbal liquor. Look at those bottles!! Perfect for your horror-loving/metal-fan pals, right? At £17.50 for the set it’s more of a luxury stocking filler, or a Secret Santa present for someone you really like, but I think it’s so cool.



Beer is a bit of minefield if you don’t drink it, but craft beer is really popular amongst the cool kids and the grandads alike. Beavertown are a really cool beer brand and they sent me the beers from their core collection to share with you; there's six, ranging from an American pale ale to a smoked porter, and they all come in really well-designed cans that truly stand out from the crowd. If you're doing a stocking for a beer lover, a can of Beavertown would definitely be a hit and they're only £2.50 each. They also have a £65 advent calendar, if that's something that floats your boat, which contains 24 beers to get you through the month of December!

Beauty

It can be tricky buying beauty products for Secret Santa, but there are some ‘generic’ type of products that you can’t go wrong with – hand cream, lip balm, hair stuff, you know the drill. I’ve rounded up some really lovely ones to show you in this guide…

Lip balm is a must in the winter months (and all year round, really) and you can never have too many; Honey Bee Beautiful sent me this Guard Bee Lip Balm* which smells like rose, comes in pink packaging and really nourishes the lips. You can get a couple of different scents, each with corresponding packaging, and you can choose whether you want a tube or a pot. The cardboard tube version that I have will set you back £4.95 and will definitely be appreciated by beauty lovers.


Hand cream is another product that is a winter essential because cold weather = dry hands, and it’s just something that has always felt really grown up and luxurious for me. Soap & Glory do a brilliant sized hand cream, and I have it in the Sugar Crush scent which is obviously completely to die for. Not to mention it leaves your hands feeling amaaaaazing. My other favourite hand creams are definitely the Crabtree & Evelyn ones! Hand sanitiser can be a cute stocking filler idea, especially the Bath & Body Works ones which are adorable and all smell amazing. If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that they’re readily available then please know I hate you (jokes) but if you don’t, check out Amazon, eBay and this website too.

When it comes to hair products, as Noughty are a brand I really like and this hair mask* is no exception - it's soooooo thick and genuinely leaves my hair soft and silky, which is no mean feat given how frizzy my hair usually is.

Food

For the most part, I really don’t think you can go far wrong by gifting people with food whether that’s to bulk out a stocking, or something they reaaaallly like as part of their Secret Santa gift. For example if someone just gave me multiple bags of Lorenz Pizza Monster Munch as gift I’d be more than happy. In fact I think I’d probably cry. So there.


Find Me A Gift really kindly sent a few things over for this gift guide series, one of which was a chocolate pizza slice*. Just LOOK at it. It’s a brilliant size, a brilliant price (£2.99) and comes in a few different flavours. Mine is (was) Heavenly Honeycomb and I devoured it right after I took this photo, and the other variations are: Crunchy Munchy, Salted Caramel, Jelly Bean Jumble and Strawberry sensation. Absolutely delicious. This is a bit more exciting than your average chocolate snowman lollipop, but still fits perfectly in a stocking!



If whoever you’re buying for is more of a savoury lover then you probably can’t go wrong with fancy crisps, which you tend to be able to pick up in garden centres particularly. Christmas seems to be the time for wacky and wonderful crisp flavours now, too – you’ll find Turkey & Stuffing, Brussels Sprouts, and even Christmas Tree Flavour nestled in with your cheese & onions and your salt & vinegars. I think food hampers that you’ve put together yourself can be a really affordable gift, especially if you hit the supermarkets at the right time – making a little parcel full of someone’s favourite food is so thoughtful, I reckon. Places like Poundland and Home Bargains are ideal for this – they tend to stock Whitworths who do a massive variation of savoury foods like nuts, seeds, raisins etc which look a bit nicer than your average bag of KP nuts, as well as the usual array of Christmas-themed sweet stuff you could add in too.


Another savoury food item which is pretty niche but definitely the sort of thing my dad would love to get for Christmas is this Pelagonia Aivar*, a sweet roasted red pepper meze which is perfect for your Boxing Day buffet and beyond. The lovely glass jar gives it a more luxurious feel (and can then be recycled into a tealight holder or pencil pot), and the stuff inside tastes delicious. It’s available at Waitrose & Sainsbury's and only costs around £3.50 – definitely the sort of thing to add to the aforementioned food hamper!

Miscellaneous

Books, books, books! I mentioned books in my affordable gift guide too, but I wanted to mention them in this one because I think even if you don’t know someone that well a book can be a great gift. Non-fiction works particularly well here; for example, if your secret Santa recipient is that guy from IT who’s obsessed with Led Zeppelin, get him a book about Led Zep. And so on and so forth! I have a few non-fiction books in my collection that I think would make great Secret Santa gifts – Brexit Cartoons* (a collection from Penguin which is slim enough to fit in a stocking), The Face* from Thames Hudson which ‘tracks the history of depictions of the human face throughout the ages’ at The British Museum, and England: Poems from a School*, edited by Kate Clanchy.



When it comes to stockings, different people do them differently – but my mum has always included a magazine, an orange and a new toothbrush in ours without fail. Other things you can bulk them up with include small gifts like in-ear headphones, bath bombs, sweets, retro puzzles, socks and those Primark multipacks of earrings. Or whatever small items you want, really.

So that's my gift guide series wrapped up - I still have a few gifting posts left to share with you, dedicated to specific brands who didn't quite make it in time for the gift guides themselves, so keep your eyes peeled for those. And happy shopping!

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