As of the first of December it’s perfectly acceptable to don your Rudolph jumper, play Michael Bublé’s Christmas and of course – start thinking about what you’re going to buy for Secret Santa. Some of us get it easy, we’re friends with the person we’ve picked and see them outside of the office, but what if you pick someone you’ve only ever held the door open for and never said a work to other than “ta”? Here is EmptyLemon’s ultimate guide for buying the perfect Secret Santa present for someone you barely know:

Presents by gender

Female Recipient
Do they drive to work? Walk past their car in the car park (when they’re not sat in it, obviously) and look out for their air freshener’s fragrance. Yankee Candle does pretty much every (nice) scent ever, so chances are they’ll stock your recipient’s preference.

Do they regularly apply their makeup, brush their hair or wear glitzy jewellery? If they’re proud of their appearance any beauty-related gifts will be greatly appreciated. Try a compact mirror, a makeup bag, a nail polish set or a gift voucher for some jewellery of their choice. Great high-street stores for jewellery include Topshop, NewLook and Debenhams.

Do they carry their lunch in a snazzy lunchbox/lunch bag? I’ve noticed a vintage or eclectic style can be identified solely from someone’s choice of lunchbox. A quirky addition to their day to day routine suggests they like a pop of colour and something different. Try Dotcomgiftshop for pretty and unusual home decor. Decorative hearts are always a winner!

Male recipient
Have you overheard them talking about sports they enjoy?Regardless of whether or not you know their favourite team, they’ll most probably love anything related to their favourite sport. Vintage designs aren’t just for the ladies; try Dotcomgiftshop for sport/interest related presents.

As soon as it’s home time, are their headphones in? Because there are so many ways to listen to music, iTunes vouchers aren’t always the best option. Instead try a headphone tidy, like this one from

Are they well groomed? Do they support a clean-shaven look or slick hair? Avoid buying them a product they dislike and stick to the essentials – a shaving brush, comb or razor.

Presents by job role

Sales/Customer service team
The sales team tend to be at the younger end of the workforce. They’re usually tech-savvy and into their fashion and music. 90s nostalgia is huge this year and this so anyone aged between 16 and 23 would most probably appreciate something along the lines of a finger skateboard, a balloon modelling kit or Addictaball from Argos:

Admin/Accounting/Secretarial/Reception staff
Part of the job is to be organised and they wouldn’t be in that position if they didn’t live an organised life outside of work. Think stationary, notebooks and desktop storage solutions.

Being in charge can be stressful, so anything based on stress-relief would go down a treat. Hiring a personal masseuse would blow the budget and be awkward to wrap, so stick to a hip flask, stress ball or this pen holder from RED5:

IT team/Developers
People who work in IT tend to keep on top of the tech-world. They’ve tried as tested gadgets and have their preferences, which makes them tricky to buy for. They also tend to have a tech-based sense of humour, so one smartphone gloves or anything USB would go down a treat. For example, this USB mug warmer from The Great Gift Company:

Avoid getting re-gifted!
Aftershave/perfume, alcohol, bath sets and edible goods are all down to personal preference. So unless you’re 100% sure they’ll like it – don’t bother!

ULTIMATE SECRET SANTA TIP: Seek help from colleagues
– Ask a colleague to compliment their perfume or aftershave and ask what it
– One dress down Friday, get a colleague to ask your recipient where their clothes are from – a gift voucher for that store would make a perfect present
– Get a colleague to ask if they have plans for the weekend, they may be going to a concert or sporting event which could create a theme for your present

Happy shopping and merry Christmas from the EmptyLemon team!

Do you have any Secret Santa tips or advice? Get in touch to feature in a future article!