It's that time of year again: You have to find something cheap for your office's Secret Santa or holiday gift exchange that, you know, isn't too cheap. No one needs another random tchotchke. So this year go for something that's creative and useful. 

Here are nine affordable gift ideas that your colleagues are going to actually want to keep.

1. Bamboo Reusable Cutlery

Price: $15 from Patagonia

Even if you bring your lunch from home, eating al desko typically means going through a new set of plastic utensils each and every day. As many are trying to reduce single-use plastic habits going into 2020, gifting a durable set of heat and stain resistant bamboo cutlery is a thoughtful gesture. Bonus: The dishwasher-safe utensils come in a holder that's made from recycled plastic.

2. Mini Art Print With a Stand

Price: $15 from Society6

If you know your co-worker well enough that you get their sense of humor, look through Society6's collection of mini art prints for something that's unique to them. The site features designs from loads of independent artists, and the mini print with a wooden stand is the ideal size for a desk. The print pictured here is called "Get Back to Work, Human," from What a LiFe Studio.

3. Plaid Throw Blanket

Price: $17.99 at Target

This bright plaid throw is perfect for the always-cold co-worker: It's cozy, desk-size, and the perfect antidote to cold winter days (or overactive air conditioners in the summer). 

4. LEGO Luxury Car Set

Price: $14.99 at LEGO

Whether your colleague's dream car is a 1974 Porsche 911 Turbo or a McLaren Senna, LEGO makes a tiny, buildable version that is sure to surprise and delight. Bonus: There's lots of evidence that playing with LEGO is good for creativity.

5. Hand Lotion Trio

Price: $12.99 at Ulta

For the co-worker who shakes hands all day with clients and partners, give a gift that will help keep his or her skin skin hydrated and soft during winter's dry months. This set comes with three lotions in the perfect size to slide into a tote, desk drawer, or carry-on for on-the-go use. 

6. Waterproof AirPods Case

Price: $20 at Anthropologie

As stylish as those Apple AirPods are, they're tiny, vulnerable to inclement weather, and easy to misplace. Solve all of those problems with this handy waterproof case that's easy to attach to a key ring or bag. 

7. Pour Over Coffee Set

Price: $25 at Pottery Barn

For co-workers who constantly complain about the office's coffee quality, gift them a desk-size brewing set so they can start making their drink up to their own standards. 

8. Top That Toast Board Game

Price: $20 at Anthropologie

Here's a gift for the person who's known for nailing sales pitches or getting the toasts for retiring colleagues just right. Test her speaking skills with this card game. It features different tones and topics for a toast, and the player has to be quick on her feet to come up with a speech on the spot. 

9. Sticky Note Ball

Price: $12 at Urban Outfitters

Piles of Post-its aren't as fun as this sticky memo notepad ball, which is equal parts quirky and functional. Pair it with a set of new pens or pencils and you've got yourself a perfect stationery gift that's different enough to make an impression.

Published on: Nov 8, 2019