20 of the Best Office Holiday Gifts for Under $20

Source: Thinkstock

With the holidays fast approaching, you may already be creating both your wish list and your gift-giving list. If you’re like most people, you may have a combination of family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to shop for, which can quickly result in a giant credit card bill (or an empty bank account) at the end of December if you don’t plan carefully. In 2013, consumers planned to spend an average of $801 on holiday shopping, according to the American Research Group. However, some consumers end up spending thousands of dollars during the holidays.

Coworkers are perhaps the most difficult people to shop for. Unlike friends and family members, whom you know on a personal level, and neighbors, who you can bring a pie, plant, or cookies to as a gift, coworkers often have a strictly business relationship with one another. This makes it tougher to know what coworkers would want as a gift. Their sense of humor may not be the same as yours is, and if you bring 70-year-old Janice from accounting a movie like Old School or South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut, she could absolutely hate it.

Plus, although it’s the thought that counts, you don’t want to be the person who buys a stapler for the person in the cubicle over, who in turn hands you a box filled with a $100 kitchen gadget or a new tablet. “What a jerk to spend so much money on my present,” you think as you exchange the uneven gifts. Office Secret Santa exchanges usually specify maximum spending amounts to try and prevent anyone from being embarrassed and also to provide some parameters.

When you have a maximum price to work with, that helps narrow your search a little bit. Also, if you know a few details about the person you’re buying for, like gender, age, and interests, that can narrow the search even more. When buying a gift for a coworker or Secret Santa gift pool, a price of $20 is a pretty safe price point. It’s a price point at which you can purchase a nice gift that a person will enjoy without breaking the bank.

We’ve created a list of gifts you can buy for Secret Santa pools and office coworkers, all for less than $20. These gifts are gender-neutral and they do not lean toward any specific “type.” These are items that (almost) everyone should be able to enjoy. And although these are meant for coworkers and Secret Santas, these are gifts you could really purchase for just about anyone.

Source: iStock

    1. Amazon gift card
    2. Comfy slippers
    3. Chocolate
    4. Flavored coffee or tea
    5. Coffee mugs
    6. Starbucks gift card
    7. Food basket
    8. Hat and gloves set
    9. Scarf
    10. Wine or wine accessories
    11. Best-seller; you should probably try to stay away from anything too risqué, though
    12. Picture frame
    13. Pen set
    14. Desk decor
    15. Holiday CD
    16. Gadget — there are a ton of cool gadgets that are inexpensive but still useful (maybe a key finder?)

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  1. “As Seen on TV” product, but make sure you check out the reviews first
  2. Something ergonomic, like a new mouse pad or a cushion for a work chair
  3. An experience — a few rounds of mini-golf or two tickets to the movies are great gifts
  4. Ugly sweater

If all else fails, bake something. But, of course, ask if your recipient has any allergies — and please, no fruitcake.

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