10 Unique Gift Ideas for Employees

No matter if you’re celebrating a Secret Santa gift exchange during a holiday office party or if a staff member’s birthday is coming up, finding unique employee gifts makes these moments memorable. Here are 10 unique gift ideas for employees to help you on your next shopping trip.

We’ve all heard of the standing desk. Well, if staff members already have those, then why not add another option for exercising when they’re not standing? Through the use of the under-desk elliptical, those who are at their desk can work out from the comfort of their chair.

Grilled Cheese Lovers?

When thinking about employee gifts, consider the interests of the employee. For example, do they love grilled cheese sandwiches? If so, then a unique gift idea would be toaster grilled cheese bags. Many office kitchens are equipped with toasters, so these are perfect for lunchrooms.

Hoops Fans With a Twist.

For those who love hot beverages and are also basketball fans, there’s a unique way for them to enjoy their hot drinks. You can purchase what’s called a “Mug with a Hoop.” It’s a coffee mug that looks like a half of a basketball with a tiny hoop on the handle that’s ideal for dunking lumps of sugar into coffee or marshmallows into cocoa.

Notes Under Water

OK, not literally — but close. When you’re working on gift tag printing, you can remark about how this employee likes to take notes with them everywhere — including the shower. With this gift, he or she can. It’s a waterproof notepad from AquaNotes that works when wet.

Coffee, Wine or Both?

Who knew there was such a thing as wine-infused coffee? Well, for those who are gift hunting for employees who love both of these drinks will delight in the fact that there’s an all-in-one gift available. Merlot-infused coffee beans are available by the bag for those who want to try something new.

Pizza Lovers Unite.

Instead of giving out a traditional gift card to your employee’s favorite pizza house, why not couple it with a unique pizza cutter? If they’re a bicyclist, this gift will appeal to them even more because it’s in the shape of a bike and sits on a stand.

Custom Culinary Kits

Giving a grocery gift is growing in popularity, but why not change it up a bit. Instead of gifting a basket of fruit dipped in chocolate or a month’s worth of steak, why not gift them with a custom culinary kits that provide them with an opportunity to grow foods?

Unique Wall Calendars

Every employee needs to keep track of dates, but now there’s a way of doing it and have fun at the same time. Wall calendars that feature a layer of bubble wrap on top of them is a nonstandard option for those who love to stay on track with a touch of humor.

Is There a Pickle Lover in the House?

Instead of having to keep track of a gift balance on a card, this unique gift may be an ideal option. It’s a yodeling pickle. It’s doubtful anyone else will have stuffed his or her stocking with this treasure.

Create Custom Gift Cards

When you don’t know what to get your employees and want them to have a unique holiday or birthday gift, and the idea of discovering how to get free gifts isn’t optimal, create custom gift cards. They can feature anything from vacation days to other employee benefits.

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Secret Santa Generator

Organize your Secret Santa using Email or Text Message.

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What is Secret Santa?

It’s a free online Secret Santa gift exchange organizer / Kris Kringle generator ! Organize a Secret Santa party with friends, family or even co-workers. After receiving the Secret Santa mail you can add your own wishlist , which will be delivered to your Secret Santa.

Each year around Christmas time people all over the world exchange gifts. To keep things interesting though, you can randomly assign persons to each other to give a present to one another.

How does it work?

Create a party on the homepage . You need at least 3 participants, the first participant being the list administrator. The list administrator will receive a confirmation link by e-mail. Once validated, your Secret Santa list will be scrambled and all users will receive your message along with the name of their Secret Santa gift buddy. We demand a confirmation to prevent bots or trolls from ruining your Secret Santa party. The validation e-mail will provide a link to the Secret Santa event manager .

Your party in 3 easy steps

  • 1 List your participants
  • 2 Add a message

Add your participants

Add a personal message.

Create your event!

secret santa assigner

What makes a Secret Santa generator so much fun?

Seriously, is this a rhetorical question? Organizing a Secret Santa party guarantees you a fun night filled with surprises - I think we can agree on that.

Thanks to a special Secret Santa generator you won’t have to deal with all the pre-organizing yourself. You just fill in the blanks and the Secret Santa generator does all the work!

The only thing you have to do is sit back and relax (oh, and buy some snacks and drinks for your Secret Santa party).

Why go for Secret Santa online?

The best thing about Secret Santa online is that you don’t have to physically plan everything with all the participants. Assigning names, making and receiving wish lists, and so on: you can arrange everything with just an internet connection and a connected device.

This way, Secret Santa online makes all the organizing stuff way more easy. That means more time for you and your friends to enjoy the holiday season and look forward to the actual party!

Secret Santa all over the world

Secret Santa, Kris Kringle, Kris Kindle, Kris Kringel, White Elephant, Yankee Swap, Yankee Doodle, Wichteln, or even lootjes trekken, namen trekken or Monito Monita: all over the world people use different names for the same thing. So let us take you on a quick trip around the world! No worries, you’ll be home in time for your Secret Santa party .

Conclusion? Randomly giving gifts to people is fun! So wait no longer and start off with your own Secret Santa generator online .

secret santa assigner

Stress Free Secret Santa Generator

secret santa assigner

Secret Santa Generator

No signup, no email, no bullshit. Just a straightforward open-source tool to help you generate your secret santa pairings. One static page, and that's it.

In the most common case (no exclusion rules, pair each guest with another at random), enter the name of your guests one line at a time. Once done, press "generate" and you're all set: send the generated links to your guests (by mail, chat, whatever floats your boat) and their pairing will be revealed to them (and only them) once they open the link.

Where does this tool come from?

I wanted to make a Secret Santa over Facebook without having to reveal to anyone my guests email addresses (so nothing that would require a backend). I also wanted not to know who was paired with me, so I had to find a way to somehow obfuscate the information. And being a developer, well, my first thought was "Let's AES it, for fun and profits!". Classic.

Secret Santa Generator

Organize your Secret Santa online.

  • Draw names via WhatsApp or email
  • Set up exclusions for partners
  • Wishlist included
  • Easy and free

Start your Secret Santa »

Over 1,700,000 names have been drawn already!

Organizing a Secret Santa is easy! Start by adding the names of all participants.

Exclu sions

You can set up exclusions to prevent certain people from drawing each other.

Send the drawn names via WhatsApp or email. Each participant can view their drawn name online.

Get started »

  Frequently asked questions

  • Enter the names of all participants
  • Set up any exclusions (optional)
  • Send the Secret Santa to all participants.

Yes. By setting up exclusions, you can prevent a participant from drawing a specific name. This is a useful feature if e.g. partners should not be able to draw each other.

You can create one-way exclusions and two-way (mutual) exclusions. Here are some examples:

  • Alice cannot draw Bob. (One-way exclusion.)
  • Bob cannot draw Charlie and vice versa. (Two-way exclusion.)

Setting up exclusions is completely optional.

The organizer of the Secret Santa sends the drawn names to all participants. This can be done in a variety of ways, including email and WhatsApp.

Each participant opens the link they received, and views their drawn name.

Yes! When viewing their drawn name, participants will have the option to create a wishlist.

The participant's Secret Santa will be able to view their wishlist automatically.

Creating a wishlist is completely optional.

Want to know more? Read all frequently asked questions here.

  Wishlist included *

Each participant can create an online wishlist:

  • Add items from any store
  • Help your Secret Santa find the perfect gift
  • Your Secret Santa can view your wishlist automatically

* Creating a wishlist is optional.

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  • Draw Names - Step 1
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Santa Is Here

Draw Names from a Hat

Share Happiness & Joy

Give Generously

Avoid Hassle & Frustration

Draw Names For Your Christmas Gift Exchange Or Secret Santa...

Picking names from a hat is a time-honored holiday tradition. My family draws names from a hat every year for our Christmas gift exchange. This free utility makes it easy for you to come up with a holiday gift exchange list for your Christmas gift exchange or Secret Santa. You can do a completely random draw, or add some constraints. The utility does the same thing you would do, randomly draw names until a good list is generated. And if you don't like the results, one click and you get a completely different list!


How to Draw Names for a Gift Exchange

With three simple steps, you can draw names from a virtual hat and save time and avoid frustration!

Enter names for the exchange by typing them in the text box, one per line. 

Add rules or constraints (optional), like Johnny can't get his brother, or Susie has to get Betty

Randomly draw names!

Get Started Here

  • Step 1 - List Names

Step 1 - Enter Names

Get started! Enter names for your draw, one per line.


Wishing you and yours a VERY Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

secret santa assigner

Secret Santa Online with SneakySanta.com

We Make Secret Santa Fun AND Easy

Secret santa generator.

When you organize a Secret Santa, you don't want it to be complicated. We strive to keep it simple to create your group, invite your friends and family, draw names, make wishlists, send each other anonymous Sneaky Messages, and get to the joy of gift-giving and having fun! Our Secret Santa generator tool makes it quick and easy, and we back all of that up with our personal support to make sure that everything goes smoothly for your group. We don't send spam or junk to your email, and we've been serving our customers for nearly two decades. Did we mention that you get all of that for free?

Wondering how your family can use Sneaky Santa or thinking about doing a Secret Santa at work? Take a quick video tour to see how our secret santa generator works and find out why it's fun to be sneaky!

Free and easy.

We make it easy for you to set up a group, invite others and have them join without jumping through a bunch of hoops. Your group members don't have to install an app, and Sneaky Santa works the same on any device. Just share your group invite link and go! When it is time to draw names, you can easily set up rules to prevent certain people from picking others (spouses for example).

You can set a fun group photo, have everyone get creative with their nicknames in the group, and each person can set their own profile pictures. You can even share the kids' wishlists without including them in the drawing!

Fun for Everyone

We have customers around the world who have made Sneaky Santa a part of their annual Christmas tradition for over a decade. We love adding joy to your Christmas!

We take the stress out of figuring out what to get for the person you pick. Everyone has their own wishlist, and they can add anything on their minds to the list. Your group members will also love sending anonymous "Sneaky Messages" to the person they picked!

With wishlists and Sneaky Messages, all the Sneaky Santas in your group will have confidence that they have picked out the perfect gift!

Unmatched Support

Support for a free site? Yep, you read that right. We do our very best to make everything easy so that you won't need support too often, but things always come up when you get people together.

When you organize a Sneaky Santa group, you can feel confident that we'll be there for you when you need help. Those emails to support or messages from our contact form won't go into some black hole like you've experienced with many websites.

I LOVE your site and the customer support is the best I have seen in a long time.
My family loves Sneaky Santa! Sneaky Santa has played an integral part in our family’s Christmas - thank you!
Love your awesome site!
We are three years strong with this tradition and we love it! Thank you so much!!
The easiest and bestest (that is a word) online Secret Santa platform!
I just love your website! Thank you for making it! It is the third year my family is using it. LOVE IT.

Victoria V.

Thanks so much for the site, we used it last year with success and fun and we love that you spread a lovely fun message of Christmas, and even more greatly appreciate that you don't spam and annoy. Thanks very much for creating it.
Thank you for this wonderful website – Our office really enjoys it!
You are great! All the best I have to say about SneakySanta and I feel sorry that I didn't find about it in some previous years. :D!

Natalija S.

Thanks a lot for the fast and helpful reply! And for making Christmas at work fun ;-)
I really love this app!
You were very quick in getting back to us. SneakySanta is an awesome site!

Amy Whitehead's Research

The ecological musings of a conservation biologist, santa’s little helper – a function for randomly assigning secret santa presents.

1 December 2016 by Amy 5 Comments

Christmas can be a stressful and expensive time of year, with many gifts to buy for many people. My family have tried to eliminate some of this stress by having a Secret Santa gifting system where we all buy one present for one member of the family on behalf of everybody else, with a cap of $50 per present.

In our family scheme, there are 3 rules: 1. You can’t give a gift to yourself, 2. You can’t give a gift to your partner (we figure that this will happen anyway), 3. You can’t give a gift to someone you gave one to last year.

Somewhere along the line, I’ve become the designated present-assigner. Now I could write names on pieces of paper and put them in a hat but 1) writing out 11 names is tedious, 2) I don’t have a suitable hat and 3) the rules above mean that there are quite often gifting conflicts arise that require the need for a redraw. So I’ve whipped up a little function in R that does the job. (Admittedly it probably would have been faster to use bits of paper but now I’m prepared for next year).

SantasLittleHelper takes three arguments: myFrame is a dataframe containing the list of guests to be assigned gifts; GuestList is the character name of the column containing the list of guests; and conflictCols is an optional character vector of column names that identify gifting conflicts that need to be avoided [ 1 ]. The function randomly assigns a giftee to each guest and then checks for conflicts. If conflicts exist, the gifts are reassigned and this continues using a while loop until a suitable solution is found. The function returns a dataframe containing detailing the gifter – giftee combinations, as well as outputting the number of elves (or iterations) needed to generate the list.

To run this for the 2016 Whitehead Family Christmas , I generated a dataframe guests where the column guest lists all of the people coming to Christmas, partner identifies everybody’s significant others and presents2013 lists the assigned giftees from 2013 (the last time we did the Secret Santa thing).

These data are fed into SantasLittleHelper and, bingo, the Whitehead Family Christmas is sorted for another year.

Hope everyone survives the silly season!

[Merry Christmas everyone!](http://www.r-bloggers.com/merry-christmas-5/)

[ 1 ] Technically you could use this feature to rig the outcome to avoid getting a present from Great Aunt Myrtle or Bob from Accounts by adding in an additional conflict column. Use your powers wisely or the ghosts of christmas past may come back to bite you!

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5 thoughts on “ santa’s little helper – a function for randomly assigning secret santa presents ”.

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Have you seen Hannah Fry’s latest video on secret santa selection? I think some of her points pertain to your implementation; namely that by using purely random selection and redrawing when conflictions occur you actually bias certain paths down the probability tree as others can not be valid, this leads to the pairing being non-uniform (i.e. some pairs are more likely than others).

Not trying to be critical, it’s a neat function, just thought you might be interested 🙂

Happy holidays!

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Thanks Nick. I had noticed that some combinations seemed to come up more than others, so I’ll definitely check that out.

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This is great! Thanks for sharing!

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Two adjustments to the code:

This code worked fine for my first year with just one conflict column for guests’ partners, but when I added a second conflict column for to prevent a repeat giftee for the same gifter, I was getting some repeat gifter-giftee pairs. Changing one line of code for the conflictTest fixed the issue, so no one gave to their partner or to the same giftee from the previous year. The change was FROM “grepl(myOut$giftee[x],myFrame[x,conflictCols])” TO “grepl(as.vector(myOut$giftee[x]),unlist(myFrame[x,conflictCols])) “.

Another addition I made was a setup to keep me blinded to all gifter-giftee pairs (except my giftee). I did this by creating a text file for each gifter. The file name lists the gifter, and once the file is opened, the name of the giftee is given. I emailed the gifters each their own file without opening it myself. I have the SantasLittleHelper function create an object with the current year in the object name, and have each text file include the year as well as the gifter in the file name. Here is the code calling Amy’s function and then creating the text files to be emailed to the gifters.

giftList2019 <- SantasLittleHelper(myFrame = guests, guestList = "guest", conflictCols = c("partner", "lastyeargiftee") )

apply(giftList2019, 1, function(giftPair) { write.table(x = paste0("This year you are playing Santa for ", as.character(giftPair[1]), "."), file = paste0(giftPair[2], "_Christmas_2019", ".txt"), quote = FALSE, row.names = FALSE, col.names = FALSE ) } )

Amy, thanks for posting your original code.

Thanks Troy for your comments and suggestions! This year I set mine up to email automatically using gmailr so that I didn’t know the gifter-gftee pairs. But your suggestion is also a great one. Merry belated Christmas!

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  • Secret Santa Generator

This is a free tool for Secret Santa groups to randomly pick names for their group and have emails automatically sent to all of their group's participants. Just follow the instructions on the right.

Optional : If you do not want a participant to pick another participant's name, then please use the format: name,{exclude1,exclude2, etc.}. Note that excluded names are in braces [ { } ] and not parentheses [ ( ) ].

Any other questions, visit the Secret Santa Generator section of our FAQ or email [email protected] . Enjoy!

Please enter the names of the group members in the gift exchange (one per line, include yourself, and no duplicate names):

Boogspace's Secret Santa Generator has been used 145,461 times. Over 1,084,012 users have gone through the system.

  • Resend Participant Pick
  • Resend Master List (Admin Only)
  • Generate Recovery Links (Admin Only)
  • Fix Emails & Resend Picks (Admin Only)
  • Use Last Year's List (Admin Only)


  • Enter your name, email address, and a group name
  • Check NO DUPLICATE SECRET SANTAS if you don't want a group member to have the same secret santa more than once.
  • Select the NUMBER OF PRESENTS that each participant should buy and receive.
  • Choose whether to HIDE RESULTS from yourself or not.
  • Enter the names of the group members.
  • Click on the CONTINUE button.

Sample list

  • In the list below, Mike will not get Amy, Amy will not get Mike, John will not get Jack or Amy, and Peter can get anyone.
  • Mike,{Amy} Amy,{Mike} John,{Jack,Amy} Jack,{Amy,John} Jennifer Peter

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Here are 102 public repositories matching this topic..., kysss / secretsantagenerator.

Just a simple secret senta drawing program that randomly assigns secret santa among my group of friends and send emails to corresponding recipients.

  • Updated Nov 20, 2019

Popov-Dmitry / secret-santa

Secret Santa using React and Node.js

  • Updated Jan 17, 2022

freahs / jullotteriet

  • Updated Jan 3, 2022

QuentinRoy / santas-de-roy

A secret santa API and CLI that takes into account past iterations to avoid re-assignations as much as possible

  • Updated Nov 21, 2023

jcsumlin / secret-santa-discord-bot

A Secret Santa discord bot. This bot can organize and help carry out a Secret Santa event for your server!

  • Updated Nov 10, 2021

SinaKhalili / surreptitious_santa

🦾 Secret santa rails app for the boys 🎅

  • Updated Dec 2, 2020

rajyadav101 / secrat-santa-match

Find your secret Santa match : Can be used as game in corporate and team activity

  • Updated Jan 5, 2023

alpha-xone / xsanta

Secret Santa sender / receiver generator

Developer626 / Secret-Santa

Secret Santa is a node server that will mix up the participants and provide a list of unique URLs for the host to hand out.

  • Updated Oct 27, 2021

belotserkovtsev / secret-santa-bot

☃️ simple telegram bot for ones who want to play secret santa with friends

  • Updated Dec 18, 2020

preritdas / secret-santa

A simple script to assign a group of people to unique recipients and text them their assignment.

  • Updated Nov 26, 2022

megamillions / Secret-Santa

Cute lil' script to create a quiz around potential Secret Santas in a group.

  • Updated Dec 27, 2020

mobergmann / secret-santa-emailer

A python application, which calculates secret santas and informs the user via email.

  • Updated Dec 5, 2022

Pjorda96 / secret-santa

Secret Santa web to send emails to the participants

  • Updated Dec 15, 2021

Dr4ks / Santa_Phish

This is Phishing Web Application for Secret Santa game, built in Python, HTML, CSS.

thompcd / secret-santa-shuffle

Secret Santa assigner to reduce the holiday chaos

  • Updated Dec 7, 2022

kseniaglivko / Secret_Santa_Telegram_bot

Telegram Bot to dynamically assign Secret Santas to a specific list of participants

  • Updated Apr 7, 2023

owendl / secret_santa

Running here: https://owendl.shinyapps.io/secret_santa/

  • Updated Jul 27, 2022

ilsatoy / wichtel_bot

This script will help you to organize your game of Secret Santa (which is called 'Wichteln' in Austria), without any physical contact of the participants and the opportunity to keep the 'Wichtel-assignment' top-secret for everybody. This small program allows you to assign each participant, who signed up via a spread sheet, to a random other part…

  • Updated Nov 26, 2021

pizzato / secret_santa

Secret Santa Script with family groupings which automatically sends email to everyone with their picks

  • Updated Nov 24, 2019

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