Secret Santa: 10 Best Presents for Less Than £10

By Gary Cutlack on at

It's easy buying things for strangers, especially when it's in an anonymous Secret Santa arrangement -- as then you can buy something cheap and terrible and not have to live with the consequences and possible cheap-present retaliation.

But it's nicer to buy something cheap and useful, if only to avoid feeling like a personal Scrooge. Here are ten ideas for actually decent presents to give to people this year, all coming in under the psychologically important £10 mark.

Haynes Desk Diary, £9.99

You have to go out on a limb here and hope your present will be received by a man, so this is best saved for people who are working in an all-male environment. Don't buy this if you're attending a Secret Santa event in a nail bar or tanning salon, for example. Because it's pictures of the inside bits of cars, which only men are allowed to know about and openly like.

Open All Hours Collection, £9.99

It wasn't particularly funny at the time, but TV comedy standards have fallen so far that, were it to be screened today, it would have to be accompanied by a pre-broadcast warning that it could cause weak viewers to literally laugh themselves to death. Plus it could save you from the horrors of actual Christmas TV.

Periodic Table Of Elements Handkerchief, £7.50

Ticks all the boxes: Unisex, nerdy, useful, educational, possibly references Breaking Bad and could come in handy when cheating at pub quizzes. Make personal hygiene a learning experience.

Duracell Portable USB Charger, £7.85

It's a bit boring and utilitarian, people may sigh and roll their eyes when it's unwrapped as it won't be as appealing as all the boxes of biscuits doing the rounds, but you'll have the last laugh when you catch them using it in July to desperately charge their phone amid a small communication and power crisis.

Wooden cut-throat razor, £9.99

If a man gets it -- great! If a woman gets it -- not so great but it can probably still be used on legs on an emergency or kept in the handbag for personal defence at the Christmas party. If the most miserable person in the office gets it -- mass ironic laughter at the thought of them topping themselves with it on Christmas morning. Almost everyone's a winner.

The Appropriate Mr Men Mug, £7.95

Everyone in the world can be categorised as Mr Happy, Mr Grumpy or Mr Messy, which is handy as they're the Mr Men characters that usually get made into cups. There also a Little Miss Chatterbox option, but it might be best to steer clear of possible accusations of sexism and gender stereotyping in the fraught Christmas party season.

Aldi Champagne, £9.99

Apparently it's really good, and at just £9.99 it'll get you almost as drunk as the equivalently priced eight cans of Stella from the newsagent. Plus they might not even know it's the cheap stuff from the supermarket warehouse of shame, potentially earning you twice as many brownie points.

One of those arty Oyster card wallets, £6.99

If you live in London, know someone who lives in London, or spend much time imagining living in London, one of these might be enjoyed. So much better than the standard blue option -- the "default egg" off the Oyster world -- they come in colours, designs, themes and are generally much nicer to wave about.

Mon Calamari Officer Lego Minifig, £4.99

Everyone likes minifigs, but it's often hard to justify the outlay yourself when it's quite a lot of money for a tiny bit of plastic. Which is why they make such great gifts. And even if an old and boring person gets it in the Secret Santa lottery, he or she will be secretly happy to have a free present to recycle and give to a child.

Genuine Zippo Lighter, £9.99

And who doesn't enjoy playing with fire? Even urban people who warm themselves entirely via gas central heating will enjoy snapping open a lighter like James Bond every once in a while. Only the plain models come in at under a tenner, but you still get the famed mechanism even if it lacks a bit of design flair.