The Best Secret Santa Gifts for Students on Every Budget

26th November 2020 Joe Graham Accommodation Basics, Finance

The festive season is upon us and with the decorating of Christmas trees and the opening of advent calendars, comes the exchanging of secret Santa gifts. Whether you’re buying for a distant flatmate or somebody on your course, choosing gifts for students can get a little stressful. To help you get crowd-pleasing presents for everybody, here are our last-minute secret Santa ideas for every budget and every personality.

Gifts for a fiver for Secret Santa

1. Food and Drink

First and foremost, an essential on the list of gifts for uni students is one of life’s necessities. Edible gifts are the best kind of gifts, as you know they won’t be gathering dust in the cupboard. A small bottle of something they can bring to the next drinking games or a box of treats can go a long way for your secret Santa. To make it a little more personal, collect their favourite goodies and present them in a jar with a ribbon.

Image of sweets in a jar

2. Mugs

Another good gift which is guaranteed to get used and within budget is a mug. Especially helpful when the coffee cravings come in during a last-minute revision session. Find Me A Gift do a range of novelty mugs for a fiver. Failing that, you can get personalised mugs from Vistaprint if you fancy printing their nickname or a photo on the front, perfect as a funny secret Santa gift.

3. Socks

There’s sometimes a stigma attached to receiving socks for Christmas. However, with the cold chill of an English December and the constant threat of socks going missing, socks are one of the most welcome student gifts, especially within a £5 budget. You can get as creative as you like with socks, think cosy slipper socks or bright colours if you want to stand out a little. You’ll find these pretty much anywhere, but the Sock Shop does a range of fiver socks. 

Image of funky socks for secret santa

£10 Secret Santa Ideas

4. Travel Mugs

Secret Santa ideas for £10 allows a little more wiggling room. As said before, mugs are a student essential and what’s more helpful than a mug that you can take with you on the go? If your flatmate is a last minute person that can’t fit in a coffee before lectures, this may be the gift for them. Again you can customise these to fit their style. Asos does a range of travel mugs for £10.

5. Cookbooks

Gifts for university students should include something practical. Juggling cooking and studies isn’t the easiest of tasks and searching for recipes can waste a lot of precious time. An easy to follow student cookbook may not be the most exciting gift, but it’s one that will get used. Books such as The Student Cookbook or 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver are sure to go down a treat, and they are both under £10. 

Image of chopping board

6. Home Comforts

If there’s one thing a student misses, it’s the comfort of home. If a flatmate appears to be homesick, one of the most thoughtful secret Santa presents could be to get them something that reminds them of their hometown. This could be a photo frame with memories in or something to make them a little cosier, such as a hot water bottle. Think of a simple luxury item that they wouldn’t add to their student budget. For example, bathing and skin care products are great gift ideas for secret Santa, browse Boots for a range of these should they need a pamper. 

Feeling crafty? Check out our guide to homemade gifts that will keep Christmas affordable.

Secret Santa Gifts for £20

7. Lighting

Finally the £20 budget, which covers a lot of secret Santa gift ideas. One of which could be certain lighting to personalise their room (as long as it fits in with your student accommodation rules!). For example, this Make Your Own Neon Sign allows them to have whatever they want to be written on their wall and is under £15!

Image of neon sign

8. Appliances

While not the most exciting idea, it’s possibly the most useful of our gift ideas for university students. Small kitchen appliances are not to go amiss! Whether your flatmate is more of a toastie or a waffle fan, you can cater to their needs. Argos offers sandwich toasters under £20.

9. Gift Cards

While this may not sound like the most personal of our secret Santa ideas, it’s a present they’re guaranteed to use. A gift card to their favourite clothing store can go a long way, or a £20 Amazon voucher can go towards just about anything, from accommodation necessities to their favourite aftershave.

10. Alarm Clock

Again this may not be the most exciting of presents, however if you’ve got a flatmate that is constantly sleeping through lectures this makes a practical yet funny secret Santa gift. Browse Amazon or Argos for alarm clocks which are under £20. If you fancy something a little more unique, you could get a novelty alarm clock. For example, a robot alarm clock or one in the design of a mini Pac Man arcade game, perfect for gamers.

11. Décor

Last, but not least, on the list of secret Santa present ideas is décor to help personalise a student room. This could include anything from pillowcases to ornaments. The Present Finder has a range of unique and quirky home gifts. For example, a photo display is usually £20 or less and can jazz up student accommodation, while being a thoughtful gift for students.

Image of cushions

Choosing gifts for students by personality

Now that you’ve got your budget sorted, you need to decide what type of gift your secret Santa pick will like. See which description best fits them from the list below and find our student gift ideas for their personality.

The Scrooge

This person won’t even say the word Christmas before December and scowls every time they hear the sound of jingle bells. While Christmas may not be their favourite holiday, they still deserve a proper present in secret Santa… even if they do shudder at the thought.

Secret Santa gift ideas for the Scrooge: Their favourite chocolates or sweets, preferably without the festive packaging. If your budget stretches, maybe throw in a festive accessory like a flashing tie or hairband if you’re feeling mischievious.

The Good Elf

The friend who’s worked hard all year, put all your Christmas decorations up and always has the shared kitchen looking sparkling on their day off. Christmas is the time for them to put their feet up and this is your chance to show your appreciation for everything they do.

Secret Santa gift ideas for the good elf: Something nice to pamper themselves like a set of bath bombs or a nice face mask. You might even be able to share a pamper night in together.

The Naughty Elf

The one who comes in late and makes themselves a midnight snack, always forgetting to tidy up afterwards. This person is the life and soul of the party and usually a bad influence, but they’re a lot of fun to be around.

Secret Santa gift ideas for the naughty elf: A homemade hangover kit with vitamin drinks, paracetamol tablets, a chocolate bar and can of fizzy drink. Throw in a DVD and that’s boxing day, sorted!

The Christmas fanatic

This person has had a countdown to Christmas on their phone since 1st January and has a wardrobe full of festive jumpers. It’s their favourite time of the year and they’re not afraid to show it. They probably organised this secret Santa.

Secret Santa gift ideas for the Christmas fanatic: Anything typically Christmassy. Novelty socks or a hot water bottle are good options. Don’t forget to compliment them on their famous mulled wine recipe!

The Rudolph

They’ll go along with the festivities of Christmas but aren’t that bothered about getting gifts… their favourite part of the festive season is the food and spending time with loved ones.

Secret Santa gift ideas for the rudolph: A cinema ticket so you can go to see a movie together. Buy them some popcorn with your leftover budget.

We hope you enjoyed our last minute secret Santa ideas! Stay up to date with all our news and events by visiting the Journal or check our student accommodation in London.

Joe Graham

Joe Graham

For more great posts from Urbanest about accommodation, London life, study tips and much more, visit the Student Journal.