Gift-giving is Tatiana's favorite aspect of the holiday season. She loves helping others find the perfect gifts for any occasion.
What Is Dirty Santa?
When you think of Christmas, you probably consider it a time of giving. normally, this is true, but not in the twisted game of dirty Santa!
Dirty Santa is a gift exchange with an added twist—participants are allowed to "steal" opened gifts from others. The game is called "dirty" because partygoers get to take gifts that other players have already opened and might want to keep. The object of the game is to attempt to get the best (or at least not the worst) gift.
Dirty Santa Rules
- Each participant starts out on Santa’s “nice” list by bringing a wrapped gift, so the game does begin with giving. Each wrapped gift is placed in the middle of the gathering.
- One person chooses a gift from the pile and unwraps it. Their turn is over, but this does not mean they will end up with the gift that they chose.
- Here is where the “naughty” comes in: The next person can either choose to steal any opened gift or choose to open a new gift from the pile.
- This goes on until each and every gift from the pile has been opened. Once the pile is gone, the gift you hold in your hands is the gift you take home! Some players will certainly leave more satisfied than others.
Dirty Santa Gifts for Coworkers
Have no idea what to buy for your office Christmas gift exchange? Shopping for coworkers can be a toughie, especially since you never know who will end up with your gift during a game of white elephant. Here are 25 nice gift ideas that nearly anyone can appreciate!
- Yeti Insulated Mug: Help keep your coworkers caffeinated throughout the workday with an insulated coffee mug! Yeti, Aladdin, and Hydroflask all make great go-mugs that can keep beverages warm for hours.
- Succulent Planter: Making your workspace a little more green couldn't hurt! If whoever ends up with it doesn't have a green thumb, they can always store pens in it.
- Essential Oil Diffuser: With the right aromatherapy, an essential oil diffuser can help ease the stress of the office.
- Wine Glasses: After a bad day at work, who would say "no" to a nice glass of their favorite red or white?
- Personal Planner: Leather-bound personal planners make great Christmas gifts for coworkers.
- Christmas Tree Ornament: A lovely ornament (like those from the Hallmark store) is a great universal gift.
- Gourmet Cookies: A nice box of Harry & David cookies or even a gift basket of Selma's will make any recipient merry!
- $25 Amazon Gift Card: Boring? maybe. Useful? absolutely!
- Roller Foot Massager: A coworker could keep this massager under their desk for some on-demand T.L.C. to help relieve all that work stress.
- Floppy Disc Drink Coasters: Why not give those old floppy discs a new use! Just kidding, these gag coasters aren't actually made of plastic discs—they're actually silicone-based and can help protect your desk from water rings.
- Echo Dot: Make someone's home or office a little smarter with an Alexa Echo Dot smart speaker. This gift would definitely get stolen a few times during the game.
- "Ashes of Problem Customers" Canister: Ever worked in retail or the service industry? If you know, you know.
- Paint By Numbers: Give a coworker their own personal paint-party with a paint-by-numbers set. They come with everything you need to create a beautiful work of art for the home or office!
- Wireless Phone Charger: This is just a convenient gift idea. I have one on my desk and love it!
- Batman Money Clip: These are practical and great to use for cash or business cards.
- Cell Phone Stand: Everyone watches the occasional video on their phone. Some of us watch entire movies on the small screen. Viewing your cell phone at your desk or in the kitchen has never been more convenient.
- Breakfast Sandwich Maker: It's hard to have a decent breakfast when you've got to run to work, but these little appliances can help whip up a delicious breakfast sandwich in less time than it takes to wait in line at the drive-thru.
- Glass Bulb Planter Vase: These glass planters make for great office decor but are also functional hydroponics planters.
- Purell Pal: Sick of everyone being sick at work? Then you'll love this desktop hand sanitizer dispenser.
- Sheepi Paper Clip Holder: This cute magnetic sheep is easily the cutest way to store unused paper clips.
Funny Dirty Santa Gifts for Adults
If you and your friends play dirty Santa, or perhaps if you have a more casual office family, check out these funny Christmas gift ideas for adults.
- Cards Against Humanity: This game is absolutely the funniest, crudest, most ridiculous party game invented! I personally own Cards Against Humanity, have gifted it many times, and can vouch for it being a very memorable game. Learn more about it by checking out my Cards Against Humanity Review.
- Zombie Survival Kit: Another Christmas classic! Okay, maybe not, but everyone will want this kickass Christmas gift!
- Scratch-off Lottery Tickets: Include one of those fake-winner lottery tickets that you can find in a gag gift store.
- Bottle of Wine or Liquor: Here’s to staying warm this winter. Cheers!
- People of Walmart Adult Coloring Book: This coloring book is a hoot! Coloring flowers and houses just isn't as fun.
- Drunk, Stoned, or Stupid Party Game: In this fun superlative game, you have to decide who among you is most likely to lose their pants or have a 3-hour conversation about space.
- Death Star Beach Ball: This is a great dirty Santa gift idea for any group of Star Wars fanboys!
- Harry Potter Shot Glasses: These things are so clever! Notable inscriptions include "I Solemnly Swear That I Am Up To No Good", "Felix Felicis: Liquid Luck", and "Obliviate!"
- Redneck Backscratcher: It's a mini rake, it's a backscratcher, it's a hilarious gift idea!
- The Screaming Goat: This little goat figurine will quietly sit on your desk, but with a gentle press, it will scream at you. Aww. . .
- Prison Ramen Cookbook: These creative recipes will have you eating like a real-life law-breaker!
- Beginner Melodica: If you don't know what a melodica is, watch this video and you'll understand why I put it on the list.
- Superhero Snuggie: Fighting crime has never been so comfortable!
- Fake Gold Bar Door Stop: Got a gold bar you're not using?
- Fruit Keg Tapping Kit: For your next party, turn a watermelon into the coolest drink dispenser of all time. Punch anyone?
- Potty Putter: Spend a lot of time in the bathroom? Why not practice your putting skills!
- "Makeup & Sh*t" Bag: The perfect place to store your makeup. . . and other stuff.
- Bigfoot Goes on Vacation: Seek and Find Book: Adults like playing these games, too.
- "Smell My Nuts" Scented Candle: I actually received this candle as a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law, and I must say, it does smell amazing!
Dirty Santa Gift Ideas for Family
Dirty Santa is a creative way to mix up the regular gift exchange. Think of things your family enjoys, inside jokes that you share, and places everyone likes to visit. These can all can lead to great gift ideas for your family Yankee swap or white rlephant!
- Rustic Board Game: You can find versions of your favorite classic board games redesigned into trendy wooden collectible sets. I personally just bought Rustic Battleship to play with the hubby! Visit Target to check out their whole series.
- Farkel Rolling Tray Set: If you've never played Farkel, buy this! And if you already have a Farkle cup set, buy this anyway! The tray is super convenient and it has the roll-scores printed on the tray so you never have to look them up.
- Throw Blanket: You can never have enough cozy throws, especially at this time of year. My favorites are those super cozy Cuddle Duds from Kohls. I've probably gifted 10 or more of these bad boys over the years!
- Movie Night Gift Basket: This gift includes a fun DVD (I suggest a Pixar movie), popcorn, and a selection of movie theater candy. Who wouldn't love that?
- "As seen on TV" Anything: Order now and you’ll get not one, but two for just $19.99! Seriously though, some of those nifty gadgets are pretty creative and could make a popular gift for dirty Santa!
- Oven Mitts & Potholders: Got a lot of cooks in the family? Why not offer up some new and stylish oven mitts and potholders to your cooking crew!
- Universal Yums Box: These boxes full of international snacks and candies are so much fun to explore. Who wouldn't have fun digging through one of these? I actually ordered a box for my brother and his wife for Christmas this year.
- Hershey S'mores Caddy: S'mores are a fun snack and making them is a great activity to do with the family!
- Snow Cone Maker: This might not be most useful during winter, but whoever receives this fun kitchen appliance will enjoy it come summertime!
- Giant Inflatable Bowling Set: This is another fun game to play with the family after the backyard snow melts!
- TableTopics: Family Edition: This game includes 135 questions to ask your family members to get the conversation started!
- Family Birthday Reminder Wall Plaque: Sure, you can keep a calendar with all the birthdays on it, but this is way cuter!
Dirty Santa Gift Ideas for Teens
If you and your friends are planning a sleepover during Christmas break, then you'd better also plan on playing dirty Santa! Here are some unique gift ideas to bring to the party that your friends will definitely love!
- Bluetooth Headphones: Because getting rid of wires is so, so gratifying!
- 5 lbs of Gummy Worms: Did you know you can buy 5 lbs of Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers on Amazon? Well now you do. You're welcome.
- Sushi Go! Card Game: If you like Japanese cuisine and card games, then you'll adore Sushi Go! Who knew sushi could be so cute?!
- Bluetooth Speaker: This is sure to be the coolest dirty Santa gift idea for your music-loving crew.
- Slime Kit: Whether it's rainbow, puffy, or sparkly, mixing up slime and playing with it is a ton of messy fun!
- Selfie Light Ring: Take perfectly lit selfies with this super easy to use clip-on light.
- Exploding Kittens Game: This card game is an absolute blast! No pun intended.
- Pusheen Anything: Pusheen is literally the cutest cartoon kitty cat there has ever been or ever will be.
- Rainbow Makeup Brush Set: You're going to need brushes if you're going to be practicing those cool makeup tutorial you saw on Youtube!
- Mermaid Tail Blanket: Transform into majestic mythical maidens without the annoying shell bras.
- Ruby Red Sequin Slippers: No, I'm not meaning the sparkly shoes Dorothy waltzed around Oz in. . . I'm talking about plushy house slippers with sherpa lining! They'll have you saying "there's no place like home!"
- Neon Nail Polish Set: Neon nail polishes are pretty much always a win, but pastels and metallics are fun and trendy too!
- Adult Coloring Book: Sometimes you just need a little quiet time! An adult coloring book and quality marker set is a perfect dirty Santa gift idea for your gal pals.
- Mini Drone: Take the most epic videos and selfies with a mini drone.
- Chocolate-Covered Oreos: No explanation required for this one!
Dirty Santa Gifts for Kids
If the kids are having a gift exchange at school or church, here are some great ideas to consider. The budget will likely be less than $25, so many of these ideas can be scaled down to fit the rules of your dirty Santa specifically.
- Lego Building Kit: Legos are a classic toy with so many fun sets to choose from. Available kits include everything from Star Wars fighters to Disney princesses and their castles!
- Play-Doh: Kids love Play-Doh! Whether you get a collection of different colors or a playset with modeling tools, this gift is sure to make some kid very happy!
- Crayola Color Wonder: Crayola products always make great gifts for children, but this series will make the parents happy too! Color Wonder markers only show up on Color Wonder paper so there are no unwanted wall-murals!
- Walkie Talkies: I love gifts that can be enjoyed by anyone, and toy walkie talkies are definitely one of those gifts! Talk about a fun addition to a camp-out with friends!
- Lite-Brite Ultimate Classic: I had one of these classic toys when I was little and loved it! Who knew they were still around?
- Bubbles and Bubble Machine: Bubbles are fun for kids of all ages! It doesn't hurt that they're also incredibly affordable!
- Magnetic Blocks: For once, a building toy that won't hurt your feet if you step on one! My kids are still a bit young to properly play with them, but they do enjoy stacking them!
- Kids' Headphones: Perfect for when the kids are watching tv show or movie or playing their favorite learning apps on their tablet.
- Hedbanz for Kid: Hedbanz is one of my favorite party games to play with friends, so I can only imagine how much fun this version would be with the kiddos!
- Skip Hop Backpack: These adorable animal-inspired backpacks come in a ton of different designs, many of which would be cute for boys or girls! My son has the giraffe one!
- Disney Christmas Storybook: My kids love this book! Our favorite stories are "Mickey's Christmas Carol" and "A Gift for Wall-E."
- Gumball Machine Bank: This is a fun and tasty way to teach kids how to save money.
- 5,000 Awesome Facts Book: Learn something new with one of these awesome books from National Geographic Kids!
- Kinetic Sand: If you haven't played with this stuff, you don't know what you're missing.
- Thermos Funtaine: This is an awesome, leak-proof bottle that kids will love!
- Play Tent: Pretend to be knights defending a castle from a dragon or a lion-tamer in the big top!
- Superhero Capes & Masks: Because every kid wants to be a superhero!
- Sticky Mosaics: Color by numbers just got way more creative! This is fun for toddlers as well as elementary-school-aged kids!
- Marble Run: Build the most intricate marble run, then drop your marble and watch it go. This one is definitely a winner with my boys!
- Look & Find Books: Finally, a picture book parents can enjoy! If you're really ready for a challenge, check out "Where's Waldo?" They are way harder than I remember!
- Soccer Ball: It's a classic.
- Maze Book: Include a pack of cute pencils for a cheap dirty Santa gift idea for kids!
- Light-up Bath Toys: What better way to make little ones love bath time!
- Spirograph: I loved drawing spirals with these when I was a kid!
- Mr. Sketch Scented Markers: I don't care if you're a preschooler or a parent—you can't resist sniffing these markers. . .
Christmas Party Gift Exchange Shopping Guidelines
Considering the naughtiness of the game, it’s difficult to shop for a gift because you don’t know who is going to wind up with it! With this in mind, it’s best to keep things simple and stick to some basic rules:
- Universal Is Key: Buy something that would be practical for anyone or something that anyone could enjoy.
- Unisex Is Best: If you plan on buying something like a hat or scarf, avoid overly girly colors or manly prints. Stick with neutral, solid colors because Uncle Bob might not appreciate polka dots!
- Have a Sense of Humor: Gag gifts normally go over well and work as great conversation starters! Have fun with this category, but keep everyone's age and sensitivities in mind.
Remember: What goes around comes around. So if you want to stay on the 'nice' list, you had best play nice and bring a great gift. Now that you've picked out the perfect gift, it's time to play! Have fun and Merry Christmas!
Kaykay on December 01, 2019:
Awesome ideas, thanks!
cs2235522 on December 18, 2018:
This passage helped
Mandy Baker from Michigan on December 07, 2018:
Great ideas! I've also found that handmade gifts are a big hit!
PARAMITA MALLIK from KOLKATA,WEST BENGAL on December 26, 2015:
wonderful hub.Loved reading some of the great ideas.Thanks for sharing.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on December 18, 2015:
Great list. I did get a throw blanket for X-mas last year, especially to keep me warm in the winter. All thoughtful ideas too and inexpensive as well.
Ana Maria Orantes from Miami Florida on December 09, 2015:
Thank you for the gifts ideas. You are a genious. You made my job easier. I need to get a few gifts for some people.like you wrote anything goes during Christmas. As long, it comes with good intentions. Thank you miss Tatiana.
Amie Butchko from Warwick, NY on December 08, 2013:
Good ideas! I am always at a loss for these things, and you gave some really good options and advice! Love #1 Charlie Brown Christmas tree. That is a really cute idea!
torrilynn on December 07, 2013:
Nice ideas especially the exploding golf ball idea. Voted up.
Sandy from Oklahoma on December 04, 2013:
poetryman6969 on December 02, 2013:
A cool name for the white elephant thing. Zombie cookies for me thanks! Can't wait to bite their heads off...
prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on December 01, 2013:
Wow...huge collections of Christmas gift. Thanks for sharing with us. I love the Santa Pictures. Take care!