I took part in the office Secret Santa one year and I didn’t get it right. I knew the person I had pulled in the draw professionally, but not well enough to know what they would really like. They weren’t a UK national, so for fun I got them a mug with ‘I love London’ on. To make up the rest of the money I bought some wool and crocheted a scarf.
I enjoyed doing it, it turned out nicely, it was a thoughtful present that I put a lot of effort into, but I think they were disappointed.
Everyone else got hilarious novelty gifts. I’d got the tone of Secret Santa all wrong. I’ve never confessed that before, but if they are reading, they’ll know now that it was me.
This year I have rounded up a selection of presents that would make suitable Secret Santa gifts for managers and project teams. There are also a few extra-special (i.e. too expensive for a Secret Santa) that you could either club together to buy for a colleague or put on your own gift list.
I’d be happy with any of these 11 gifts, and I expect my Secret Santa recipient would have preferred something from this selection!
1. USB Rechargable Batteries
These USB rechargeable batteries* would make a great stocking filler or Secret Santa gift. Perfect to ensure that the clicker for your presentations is always topped up or for any of the children’s toys I seem to find in the bottom of my handbag.
2. Smartphone Projector
This smartphone projector is not that expensive, and would be a fun gift for a project manager. Turn your mobile phone into a projector and share your video clips, training materials and so on with your team on the wall.
Plus it’s a make-it-yourself thing so it will be fun to put together in the office or at home. It doesn’t look particularly travel friendly though.
3. Personalised Colour Chart Mug
My lovely manager regularly offers to make me a cup of tea and more often than not I say no (sorry, Mr P.). I just prefer to do it myself so it’s perfect. If I had one of these mugs then maybe I could help my colleagues get my tea just right!
They also make one for coffee.
4. Adventure Map
Perfect for the person in your team who likes to travel. This world map comes with 300 built-in adventures. Scratch off the ones that you have done and plan your next trip!
5. Bluetooth Keyboard
This looks awesome. The Logitech K480 keyboard lets you switch between devices on the same keyboard. Up until now I was just looking for a Bluetooth keyboard for my iPad so that I could type more easily on the train. But now I’ve seen this, I want it.
The only downside is that at about £50 it’s too expensive for a Secret Santa present. Put this one on your own Christmas list.
Watch how it works in this video.
6. Hankie Notebook
A notebook that looks like a handkerchief? It’s cheap, fun, and would make a good neutral present for a male colleague.
7. Keep Calm And Listen to the Project Manager Mug
Sometimes I wish I could say this to my stakeholders. Perhaps I could subtly get the message across with this mug instead.
8. Phone-Controlled Paper Planes
This is about £40 and would be too expensive for me to buy as an office Secret Santa gift. But perhaps if the team clubbed together as a gift for a manager…
How cool would it be to fold a paper plane, add the Bluetooth spine and then soar it round the office controlled by your phone? The description says ‘crash-proof design’ but I’m sure my team would test that to the max. A phone-controlled plane would be an awesome icebreaker for a team event too.
9. Cup Warmer
This USB cup warmer would be great for those times where you’ve just got a drink and then someone calls with something urgent and you can’t slurp it while you’re on the phone and you’re just watching it get cold before your eyes.
Does that only happen to me?
The thing I like most about this gadget is that it doesn’t use up a USB port as it includes a built-in 4-port USB hub. It works best with a classy stainless steel mug (which might make you feel a bit like you are camping out) but it doesn’t say it doesn’t work with a ceramic one.
10. Scope Creep T-Shirt
This Café Press T-shirt would make a good Secret Santa present for a project manager or one of your team. Perhaps someone who is particularly bad at keeping to scope…
11. Erasable Memo Pad
Do you remember Etch-a-Sketch? How about a grown up version for your desk? This erasable memo pad has had mixed reviews on Amazon so you’ll have to assess for yourself whether it would be worth the investment. I think it could be a fun Secret Santa gift for the person who has everything.
I hope that’s given you some ideas of gifts for your manager and teams!
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