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Photograph: Jennifer Shommer

The best Secret Santa gift ideas for everyone on your list

To avoid holiday season stress, consult our guide to the best Secret Santa gift ideas for everyone on your list

Written by
Lauren Rothman
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the holiday season. And you know what that means: time to break out your wallet and shell out for gifts. While you probably know your family’s tastes pretty well, it isn’t always easy to pick the perfect present for friends; sure, you could always splurge on a meal at one of the best sushi restaurants in America, a stay at the coolest treehouses to rent in America or a round of Merlots at the best wine bars in America—but those don’t gift-wrap so easily. So before Christmas Eve sneaks up on you, scope this handy guide to the best Secret Santa gift ideas, with cherry-picked goodies that are perfect for every type of pal and just about everyone on your list.

Secret Santa gift ideas

For the animal lover: Mead Unlikely Animal Friends 2018 wall calendar

$9.71; amazon.com

One of the rare traditions to survive into the digital age, there’s just something fun about hanging up a new wall calendar on the first of January. Any animal lover in your life will go loco for this one, featuring ridiculously adorable pairings of friends such as a kitten and a baby deer, a piglet and a pug, and our favorite: a baby goat perched on the back of a donkey.

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For the home cook: Messermeister acacia magnetic knife block

$119.95, messermeister.com

Great cooks know that the key to keeping knives sharp is minimizing any friction on the blade; sliding them in and out of a traditional knife rack eventually wears them down. This ingenious knife block from German knife experts Messermeister stylishly solves that problem, anchoring knives to the outside of a handsome block of variegated acacia wood. Your home chef friend will love it (and hey, maybe you’ll even get a dinner invitation in exchange).

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$36.99; awesomedrinks.com

For that one friend whose level of expertise goes way beyond gin and tonics, this home bartender kit will help shake up Manhattans, daiquiris and negronis with ease. With all the tools needed to make cocktails both classic and new—the eight-piece set includes a Boston shaker and pint glass, a hardwood muddler, a citrus juicer, a bar spoon, a double jigger and two kinds of strainers—this is the perfect gift for any amateur mixologist.

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For the nature lover: Nikon Aculon binoculars

$79.90; amazon.com

For the amateur birder or wanna-be safari-goer in your life, these affordably priced binoculars are the perfect gift. Lightweight, with an easy-to-use central focus knob and surprising optical clarity, they’re ideal for the nature lover who wants to take a closer look at her favorite flora and fauna.

For the chile head: Mo Hotta Mo Betta sauce gift sampler

$25.95; mohotta.com

We all know that one dude or dudette who can’t stop chasing the heat and has a fridge full of chipotle en adobe, sriracha and sambal. Feed their fiery addiction with this five-bottle set from Mo Hotta Mo Betta, featuring a range of versatile sauces: Red Savina Habanero; Jalapeño Classic; Cayenne Garlic; Chipotle Adobo and Sunny Serrano.

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For the beer drinker: Klean Kanteen insulated growler

$29.97; kleankanteen.com

Beer enthusiasts can get pretty heady about their favorite suds, opining on tasting notes and stocking their homes with hoppy paraphernalia. Allow the IPA-lover in your life to take his obsession to go with this 64-ounce growler: insulated to keep brews cold and airtight to keep them fizzy, the sleek canteen is a perfect choice for BYOB hiking, camping or tailgating.

For the workaholic: L’Occitane relaxing lavender collection

$75; loccitane.com

We’ve all got ‘em: those pals who just can’t step away from their work email/phone calls/etc. Encourage the stressed-out buddy in your life to put down the phone and get into the bath, to luxuriate in this kit’s calming, lavender-scented foaming bath gel. While they’re soaking, they can light the kit’s herbal candle, then moisturize post-bath with its rich hand cream.

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