Picking out the best white elephant gifts under $20 is an art form and a challenge we take seriously. With the holidays right around the corner, we know that many readers are trying to find GGU2 – good gifts under 20 – and we are here to help you stay within your price limit and be the star of your holiday party.
Just like decorating the Christmas tree or sipping hot chocolate, participating in a Secret Santa is something we do every December, even if we don’t always enjoy it as much as those first two traditions. And whether it’s finding the best $20 gifts for co-workers, friends, or family, there’s always that perfect Secret Santa gift that’s the envy of everyone. On the flip side, there’s the embarrassing, phoned-in White Elephant gift that no one tries to steal. When you’re shopping for your own Secret Santa or White Elephant swap, you know which side of the gift-giving spectrum you want to be on
Even though $20 gifts are the standard for Secret Santa or White Elephant parties, they can be tricky to get right. Quite often, buying these gifts comes with a heavy amount of anxiety. What do you get for the co-worker you don’t know well? For your boss? What if it’s a White Elephant swap party and you need something everyone will like? What if you offend someone with your gift?
After countless blunders at parties, we’ve learned from our mistakes and scoured the deep depths of the internet to find fantastic Christmas gifts that will do well at any Secret Santa or White Elephant party. Not only are these items great for coworkers, but the best gifts under $20 can also be given for birthdays, other holidays, or just because. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for, be sure to check out our guide to the best stocking stuffers of 2022, which includes tons more awesome gift ideas under $20.
When searching for the best white elephant gifts under $20, board games should be at the top of your list. They’re a timeless, fun activity for groups and people often don’t buy them for themselves but will likely use them during gatherings. There are several games we love for under $20, including The Chameleon. A favorite among SPY writers, the Chameleon must blend in while the other players attempt to unmask them. The awarding-winning game is fun for the whole family.
Enjoy delicious Belgian chocolate in Beekman’s holiday variety set, including candy cane, cherry and gingerbread. Goat Poop is one of our favorite gifts for anyone with a sweet tooth and a sense of humor and it’s one of the best gifts under $20.
If you want something in ornament form, there’s a good chance it already exists with Old World Christmas. The company has hundreds of ornaments to choose from, including traditional Christmas scenes, food, drinks, sports teams and even a toilet. If you can dream it, you can hang it on a tree.
We like the Green Goo Everyday Essential Travel Salves Set for a practical gift that anyone will love to receive. SPY received a sample of the set, which includes First Aid, Pain Relief, Dry Skin and Skin Repair Salves in small containers that can easily fit in a pocket. We love that these travel-friendly skin savers work for parents, adventurers, travelers, and really anyone with skin.
Have a coworker who hits a wall around 3 p.m.? Same. It’s us. We are that co-worker. SPY received a sample of AWAKE Caffeinated Chocolate Bites, and we love that they give us a bit of an energy push when we need it most and satisfy our sweet tooth.
The newly released Parks and Recreation: The Official Coloring Book continues the trend of adult coloring books and combines it with the fan-favorite series Parks and Rec. Those who still love Lil Sebastian and Galentine’s Day will appreciate a coloring book based on the hit series. SPY received a copy, and we love pairing this book with a plate of waffles.
Need a gift that can work for several people with various tastes? Play it safe a set of teas from David’s Tea, which arrive in a beautiful presentation box and are available in yummy flavors like Candy Cane Crush, Peppermint Amour, Santa’s Secret and Sleigh Ride, which will please tea-lovers and those who don’t typically drink tea.
Do you know someone who needs help relaxing? The small but powerful PureSpa Drop USB Aroma Diffuser can help set the mood in the bedroom or office. Invigorate a space with essential oils or cover up your co-workers microwaved fish lunch. It can do it all.
We’ve previously written about our love for Wonderbelly and think anyone who likes to indulge in rich, spicy foods will also appreciate the natural antacid tablets. Arriving in eco-friendly packaging that is, dare we say, hip, Wonderbelly is available in three delicious flavors that almost may you wish for heartburn. Almost.
Celebrate Taco Tuesday every week with a lapel pin that clearly displays your love of one of the greatest foods ever created. The pin uses a strong magnet so as not to damage clothes. Now just watch out for falling hot sauce.
Temporary tattoos aren’t just for kids anymore. Gift someone a bit of temporary fun with the Amore Temporary Tattoo, which looks like the real deal but without any painful needles or buyer’s remorse.
Most of us have had the annoying experience of ankle socks becoming heel socks about five steps into our day. That’s why we love Swiftwick, which have never let us down by always staying up. From runners, to workout enthusiasts, to anyone who just wants a great pair of socks, they’re going to love receiving a pair of the Flite XT Zero Tab by Swiftwick.
SPY spoke with Rocketbook sponsor Angela Kinsey, known to fans as Angela from The Office, and known to her friends as the queen of Secret Santa parties. Her recommendation for the best Secret Santa gift? A hose. Such a practical suggestion from a fictional accountant.
Speaking of Rocketbook, we love their latest release – the Cloud Cards. Great for making notes during a meeting, study sessions, shopping lists and more, the erasable note cards can be used again and again, with notes easily uploaded to your preferred Cloud app.
It’s a glasses case, a wallet, a utility bag, a snack keeper, a beverage holder and more. The small Sleeping Bag from CAMP is made from 100% postconsumer recycled polyester and features light insulation, a protective microfiber interior and a zippered closure to keep just about anything small secure.
For those who love to bake but want to keep the holidays from wreaking havoc on your health, checking Supernatural’s lineup of mixes, frosting and sprinkles. SPY received a sample of mixes and sprinkles from the vegan baking company and we loved the taste and healthy alternative to regular boxed goods. We especially like the Christmas Sequins and Ugly X Mas Sweater sprinkles which are made without artificial dyes, soy, or gluten.
Who doesn’t love the idea of making their own ice cream? Well, probably anyone who has bought an ice cream maker, used it once, and now has to find space for it in their kitchen. That’s why we love Hijinx Ice Cream, a company making it easy to get creative in the kitchen. Add a Hijinx flavor or any ingredients you want to the Hijinx mix, then blend, freeze, and enjoy your custom ice cream creation.
Whether you have a friend with a long list of allergies or you need a gift that can be given in a nut-free workplace/home, we love the 88 Acres Organic Sunflower Seed Butter. Nut and gluten-free, this chocolate spread is healthier than competitors and tastes great on toast, ice cream, fruit, and just about anything else you want to put it on.
If salt is more your speed and you need a Vegan snack, check out the delectable Togarashi Crunch from West-Bourne. A healthy take on trail mix, the ‘crunch’ is made up of smoky, savory, umami flavors found in rice crisps, organic smoked almonds, puffed rice, quicos, and West-Bourne’s house togarashi spice blend.
It’s tough to find a personalized gift under $20, but Mabel’s Labels makes it possible with their beautiful Wooden Holiday Ornaments. Add a name, date, or another personal message to this affordable keepsake.
Funko fans and anyone who loves a diva will be excited to get the Britney Spears Funko character. Clad in her iconic red jumpsuit, it’s the perfect gift for the divas in your life, or anyone that’s been a fan of the victorious #FreeBritney movement.
Whether you’re gifting a Secret Santa gift to someone who is into cleaning, wants to save the environment, or preferably both, the limited edition Swish Cloth by Death & Co. is a fun and practical gift. The three clothes feature a retro design that includes the recipe for the company’s signature Swish Cocktail. One biodegradable cloth, which can wick up to 20x its weight in liquid, can last up to six months.
If you want one of the best white elephant gifts under $20, you can go the practical route with Bentgo. Their new stainless steel Heat & Eat Container is made without plastic. The microwave-safe container has a silicone lid that will keep food snagged from the holiday party fresh for days.
Know someone who loves to save, well, everything? Help them keep their food fresh, hygiene products organized, and office supplies separate with the multi-use, multifunctional rezip Stand-Up Reusable BPA-Free Food Grade Storage Bags. SPY received a sample of the bags and we love how convenient and versatile the bags are, which are safe for the freezer and dishwasher.
Do you have a friend who won’t leave home without their water bottle? Gift them a packet from Waterdrop. The sugar-free packs come in dissolvable cubes made from natural fruit and plant extracts and are available in various flavors with several health benefits. SPY received a sample of Waterdrop and we like that the microdrinks add a flavor boost to your water and include benefits like Vitamins B6, B12 and C.
If you’re looking for a TikTok-friendly gift, OG Slimes is where it’s at. The company has gone viral thanks to its frequent releases of pop culture-friendly slime that is fun for adults. Why should kids get to have all the fun?
Linkee is one of the biggest board games in the U.K., and now it has been brought stateside by Linkee addict Nick Jonas. SPY received a sample of the trivia-based board game, and we love that it’s fun for the whole family and can be played with small or large groups.
One of the best white elephant gifts under $20 that is also a surprise to the gift giver and gift receiver, it doesn’t get more fun or more mini than the 5 Surprise Mini Brands. Each ball unwraps to reveal five mini items from favorite brands like Jell-O, Heinz, BabyBel and more.
Read More: The 101 Best Christmas Gifts
For pros in the kitchen and those who still finish most meals with the sound of the fire alarm, Saltverk Lava Sea Salt is a great ingredient for chefs of every level. SPY received a sample of the handcrafted Icelandic salt, and we loved the flavor it brings out in veggies and meats.
You may have already played the uber-fun party game What Do You Meme?, but do you know about the expansion pack about nothing? Okay, it’s a Seinfeld-themed pack, so it’s about nothing and hilarious. SPY received a sample of the new edition and we recommend playing with your weird neighbor while snacking on Junior Mints.
For movie buffs who need a break from screen time, we suggest checking out the titles of these retro puzzles from Spin Master Games. Some of the biggest movies from the past 50 years, including The Big Lebowski, Jaws, Footloose, The Shining, and Animal House, are now available in puzzle form, complete with a Blockbuster VHS case for storage. Just watch out for those late fees.
Buying for a hot sauce fan or someone who wants to be a hot sauce fan? Ease them into a new world of flavor with the Healthy Original Sweet Hot Sauce by Disco Sauce. SPY received a sample of Disco Sauce and we like that the medium-level hot sauce is made with natural ingredients andat goes with everything from eggs to wings to your next margarita.
Help your loved one get their brunch-on at home with the super cute, super small and super versatile Dash Mini Maker. Make single servings of waffles, hash browns, cookies and even pizzas with this space-saving, delicious food-making appliance.
Fear not if your next dinner party doesn’t have a solid Middler who can keep the conversation going. The Curb Your Enthusiasm Hilarious Role-Playing Party Card Game puts the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional social situations. SPY received a sample of the board game, and we’ve never had so much fun while cringing with friends.
If you have a cookie maker on your gift list, they’ll love these Hug on Your Mug cookie cutters. Available in various holiday designs, the cookie cutters create shapes with a cut out of a ‘holder’ to hang cookies on the side of a mug.
Not sure what to buy for your coworker in IT? Gift them a set of retro tech-inspired drink stirrers to help stir up a conversation. And remember, always be nice to the IT people. They hold the key to getting you the best internet connection in the office.
Show the messy snack lover in your life some love with a ridiculous but useful pair of finger covers they can use during their next snacking session. Yes, they are dishwasher safe because who wants to do the dishes after relaxing with a bowl of cheese puffs?
Looking for the best gifts under $20 for her? Give someone a relaxing night of self-care with the Target Beauty Capsule Best Night Gift Set. The unisex grooming kit includes an eye kit, pore strips, an anti-stress clay mask and more, all packaged in an attractive gift box. A gift that doesn’t need to be wrapped? That’s like a present for both of you.
Buying for a man who wants their home to smell nice but isn’t into floral scents? Get one of the best gifts under $20 for him with the Whiskey Glass Candle with Hard Box Gift Set by Threshold, which includes four candles in glass jars that can be repurposed as whiskey glasses.
Those who enjoy their libations with a fancy ice cube will love the Ripple Cocktail Ice Mold from W&P. The speakeasy-inspired cube melts slowly to keep drinks looking and tasting chill for an extended period.
What do you get for the friend who has everything? A giant cut out of their head. We would consider this one of the best birthday gifts under $20.
Have a friend with a green thumb and a sense of humor? Gift them the quietly scandalous bum vase that is classy and assy.
Whether your friend is already excellent or maybe needs a little help in that department, Keanu Reeves is here with his infinite wisdom. Just remember – WWKD?
There is no such thing as watching too many crime dramas. If you know someone who feels the same, they will love this Dick Wolf keychain. Dun dun.
Have you watched kids play with chalk lately? It’s so dang fun. Help your friend have some fun and get creative with this adult-approved chalk that makes even the most artistically inept person look creative.
Buying for someone who is a master at completing puzzles? We bet they haven’t put together a piece of blue cheese before.
We all have that co-worker or friend who brings a new plant to the office only to watch it wilt away after a few months. Take them — and their plants — out of their misery with this duo of two cute faux potted plants. At 4.75″ x 5″, they’re just the right size for their desk, or even a kitchen, living room, dining table, bedroom, bathroom or anywhere. The plants are made of plastic and come in gray paper pulp pots. Best of all, they’ll always look healthy and green!
Read More: The Best Christmas Gifts of 2022
Hot sauce seems to become more popular every day. Nearly all restaurants have it handy, and spice lovers will find a way to use it on everything. This Fly By Jing variety is slightly more complex than other hot sauce options, combining savory umami and tingly spicy flavors. It’s good on everything — from pizza to chicken, noodles and even ice cream.
Any home bar setup will be instantly elevated with Woodford Reserve Spiced Cherry Bourbon Barrel Aged Cocktail Bitters. The bourbon barrel-aged bitters have a fine taste that was aged to perfection. Add them to a classic cocktail, like a Manhattan, or let the aspiring mixologist in your life create their own cocktails around them.
Getting a boo-boo is never fun — but these quirky band-aids will ease the pain! The best Secret Santa gift for the office klutz will crack everyone up during the holiday party. Each tin contains 25 bandages, as well as a bonus trinket. Once the bandages are all used up, they can keep the tin on their desk to make them smile.
Everyone has that one friend, significant other or family member who always has half an avocado in their fridge. For that avocado lover, get this set of avocado huggers, one of our favorite avocado gifts. They wrap around a half avocado to keep it fresh for avo toast the following morning of guacamole days later.
We all know somebody that can blow it up in there. Get your point across without words by giving your Secret Santa a bottle of Poo-Pourri that they can spray in the bowl before they drop the kids off, if you catch our drift. Everyone in the house will be more than thankful.
Crocs are officially the shoe of 2022, and we’ve already collected our favorite Crocs Christmas gifts for the holiday season. Of course, you can’t buy new clogs for under $20 (although they make for some of the best gifts under $50 when you can find them on sale). However, you can buy Crocs Jibbitz charms. For any Crocs-loving Secret Santa recipient, these adorable charms will be the perfect gift idea.
Shopping for the impossible giftee? We’ve all been there. Luckily, in 2022, it’s easy to give a gift card to Amazon, which is cash without being, well, cash. Your picky giftee can go wild and buy whatever it is they want. Is it a cop-out? Maybe. But at least you’ll know they’ll find something they like.
Read More: Best Gifts For Beer Lovers
Who knew that beer was so good for your skin? This fragrant soap is made with ingredients like orange peel, crushed oats and real hops that truly nourish skin, as beer is full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids. The artisanal soap is made in small batches in the US, just like your favorite beer. It lathers up like a dream and won’t dry out skin. Even non-beer lovers will drink it up!
You may not know the interests and tastes of all of your co-workers, but they have one thing in common: the desire for a charged phone. Anker’s Wireless Charger is the necessity they didn’t know they needed, making it one of the best and most practical Secret Santa gifts. All they need to do to charge their phone or earbuds is to place them in the middle of the PowerWave Pad. No cables or plugs are necessary! And yes, it even charges through phone cases. It’s compatible with most devices, including iPhones and Androids.
We’ve all had a year, that’s for damn sure. This calming soak will gift any bath bomb a run for their money. It smells amazing, feels sensational and is made with CBD to help you keep calm. Do they need anything else?
When you bring this ingenious device, expect some serious haggling at your White Elephant swap. The screen magnifier is basically a movie projector for your phone screen, creating a 12-inch screen so you can watch movies and videos in full HD on a bigger, better screen. Lightweight and portable, it’s great on the go and will make your next work break, trip, commute or whenever you like a little screen time much more enjoyable. You can add a Bluetooth keyboard to use it for HD gaming, too. Even better, it doesn’t require batteries and is designed to fit most smartphones.
Each Urban Man Glass is etched with a city’s map, with details like street names and the location’s coordinates. You can take an imaginary walk whenever you kick back with a drink. Bonus: these are completely crafted in the USA, with the glasses made in Ohio and etched in New Hampshire.
You know what they say — home is where the heart is. If you have a pal missing home more than ever this year, gift them this inexpensive gold foil custom map they can display in their new home.
Warm showers and a cold brew go together better than you might think. That’s why this shower beer holder makes a great drink. It’s sure to get a laugh at any White Elephant party or Secret Santa, and chances are your giftee will use the device too. Plus, reviewers say it’s also perfect for having a glass of wine in the bath.
Bluetooth speakers make a great gift for music lovers, but it can be hard to find a good one under $20. Luckily, we found one that fits the bill. It has superior sound quality that’s powerful enough for indoor or outdoor use, advanced Bluetooth technology, a built-in mic, and lasts up to 12 hours fully charged. If your Secret Santa recipient loves to listen to tunes wherever they go, they’ll likely appreciate another high-performance portable speaker.
Have you seen any of those “storytime” TikToks lately? You know, the ones where someone tells a wild rollercoaster of a personal story to overshare with thousands if not millions of strangers online? Well, many people telling those stories use this comically tiny microphone for that extra pop. It connects to your laptop or phone easily and surprisingly works well. So, if you’re trying to get that TikTok fame like the rest of us are, spill that tea using this bad boy.
You can never gift dog lovers too much dog stuff. These socks are great because you can get specific with your giftee’s own pup’s face — and no one can have too many socks. You can select a size, primary color, personalized message and image of their actual dog. The socks are a gift that will hit home for any dog lover, and at just $10, they’ll keep your pockets full too.
Every minute of practice gets you closer to the perfect golf game. Even though it’s been around for a while, the Potty Putter always gets a laugh and always gets put to good use. It’s a putting green and hole that you set up right under your toilet and comes with a squatting-length putter club to match. Great if you’re giving a gift to an avid golfer or if you want to break the tension at the White Elephant party.
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