Gifts To Help You Win at Dirty Santa (Which, Yes, Is a Competition)

HOLIGAYS 2017 / Autostraddle

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It’s coming. The nebulous nondenominational gift exchange, aka. “Secret Santa,” season. I can’t help you with the exact rules involved in any of these semi-secret group gift exchange schemes (both because I can never remember the rules and because there’s a lot of regional variation), but what I can tell you is this: no matter what anyone else tells you, it is a competition. And the only thing standing between you and that sweet, thrilling thrum of victory is finding the perfect ridiculous gift.

Friend, I’m here for you in this time of need.

I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas

There are only two good reasons I can think of to buy that hippo mask: one, you have an impending murder scheduled, or two, you’ve got a weird work gift swap thing coming up. ‘Tis the season! Go big or go home, you know?

Christmas on Christmas

Christmas themed holiday presents are the worst to receive, which makes them the perfect thing to give in semi-anonymous gifting situations. At best, the recipient will get 3-4 weeks of use out of the item before having to put it into storage for the next year. I.e. they’re going to be working through that three pack of annoying musical hand soap for the next five Christmases, probably. Alternatively, you can assert your gift giving dominance more overtly by presenting them with a bag of disembodied Santa heads. Why not, you know?

All I Want For Christmas Is You

God bless Etsy. There is some truly terrible art out there, and an inexplicable amount seems to involve Mariah Carey (true queen of Christmas, long may she reign). You can’t go wrong with anything featuring the songbird supreme, really, but may I suggest the original portrait pictured above? It would bring me so much joy to know someone was getting in on that.

All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth

Is there anything more simultaneously terrifying and hilarious than teeth? No. No there is not.

I guarantee everyone will laugh nervously but secretly respect and admire you if you gift someone that raccoon tooth on a leather chain.

Some Other Suggestions

If you’re not into themed presents, worry not; there are still plenty of good options out there. Last year, for example, I brought this 5.5″ creepy doll head candle to my workplace exchange! This year, you could bring a miniature elk head made with real fur! Or a nice lawnmower clipping scented candle! There are a lot of possibilities. Just follow your heart; you’re gonna crush it.

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Laura Mandanas

Laura Mandanas is a Filipina American living in Boston. By day, she works as an industrial engineer. By night, she is beautiful and terrible as the morn, treacherous as the seas, stronger than the foundations of the Earth. All shall love her and despair. Follow her: @LauraMWrites.

Laura has written 210 articles for us.


  1. “At best, the recipient will get 3-4 weeks of use out of the item before having to put it into storage for the next year.” IDK about the rest of you but I’d wear that Krampus necklace year round.

  2. Ohh, no I’m wishing for the first time EVER that the office while elephant exchange was back on. I had great luck in years past with a pigeon mask, but that denture comb. Wow. Just wow.

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