2023 Holiday Gift Guide: Secret Santa Gifts Under $25
Secret Santa is the fun, wholesome, and wallet-friendly holiday gift exchange you participate in at your office, or that your family puts on for extended members, such as great aunts, third cousins, Uncle Eddies, fleeting boyfriends, step-dogs, and the neighbor who's never really invited to Christmas morning, but always shows up anyway. With a box of grocery store donuts from 2 days ago he's clearly already picked through himself.
It's cool, though. They're still pretty good.
So, for those of you who have co-workers...plus great aunts, third cousins, Uncle Eddies, fleeting boyfriends, step-dogs, and stale-donut-wielding neighbors...to buy for this year, here is my first holiday gift guide of 2023: Secret Santa gifts under $25.
Note: All Secret Santa gifts under $25 are priced as they were at printing on November 9, 2023. Pricing, and availability, are subject to change.
FUNBRO Miniature Pocket Knife
With its wee 1.63" length and mighty mite cutting capabilities, this miniature pocket knife looks fun, dude. So why the H-E-Double-Tanto-Blade is it called FUNBRO? Absolute hogwash. It should be the FUNDUDE Miniature Pocket Knife.
Or maybe I should just make my own teeny-tiny 26-gram folder and name it that. Don't worry, FUNBRO, mine won't be a complete copycat. I'll just borrow your stainless steel handle design, gear switch opening mechanism, inch-long utility blade...oh, and lanyard hole. And then I'll make it a totally unique piece of FUNDUDE merch by...are you ready?...notching out a bottle opener on the side. Mwah! EDC chef's kiss!
Microwave Ramen Cooker
This Microwave Ramen Cooker is all that and a bag of shrimp chips. The complete and compact set starts with a big cylindrical soup bowl on the bottom, nestles a colander / draining bowl in the middle, and tops it off with a 17-ounce round bowl. To microwave your ramen meal, add noodles to the draining bowl, set it in the soup bowl, and add water. Use the round bowl as a lid and let the microwave do its thing.
Once cooked, you can remove the draining bowl, and either season the water in the soup bowl and pour the noodles back in, or dump the water and add the noodles and seasonings to the small bowl, depending on whether you want your ramen as soup or pasta. Both the soup and small bowls can also be used separately to microwave broths and meat and veggie mix-ins.
Paperlike All-in-One Screen Cleaning Kit
Dust and fingerprints, snot and spit, meat grease and hot sauce. All seem to find their way onto the screens of my phone, tablet, e-reader, and laptop. The Paperlike All-in-One Screen Cleaning Kit is a small geometrical tube with big claims of removing it all.
The Screen Cleaning Kit's design, indeed a clever one, wraps a microfiber cloth "skin" around a spray bottle, so the two will always travel together. Paperlike fills the bottle with a "specialized cleaning mixture" made for electronic devices and the dirt, dust, oil, and grime that clings to them. Presumably you can buy more of the solution from Paperlike when the wee amount the bottle holds runs out, or just replace it with another liquid electronics cleaner.
Clutch Gas Socks
Boostnatics' Clutch Gas Socks were obviously made for gearheads, and would indeed be a fine gift for car enthusiasts. But so too would they be an excellent gift for teens learning to drive a stick shift. Speaking from experience, it is sometimes very hard to remember which foot to use for which pedal, especially when you must simultaneously interact with other cas and road signs, and when choosing wrong can result in your car lurching to and fro like an old wooden roller coaster cart, and then going completely dead to further elevate your levels of stress and embarrassment.
Where's Bob?: A Happy Little Seek-and-Find
Where's Bob? contains 15 full-color scenes illustrated either in the likeness of the artist's paintings, or based on places from his life - so, everything from a riverbank to a TV studio. In addition to Bob Ross himself, the scenes are packed with hidden Easter Eggs, such as Peapod the Squirrel, Bob's paint palette, and his paintbrush.
Mini Archery Bow & Arrow Set
The bow in this mini archery set don't shoot no stinkin' toothpicks. It comes with 10 real metal arrows, secured into polyester drill rods, that can fly up to 50 feet when released from the 5.5" x 2.4" metal and elastic fiber launcher.
Not surprisingly, the Mini Archery Bow & Arrow Set comes with a suggested minimum age for use. Surprisingly, that age is 12, not 40. With 3 written references stating you have never appeared on Jackass, or been a contender for a Darwin Award.
The bow itself is a 1:3 scale replica of a classic composite bow, and has nifty blue accents and metal cutouts that remind me of either anime or the opening credits to Saved By the Bell.
PDW Versa Bear Travel Bottles
B**ch better have my...shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Honey, soy, and sriracha too, if you opt to use the PDW Versa Bear Travel Bottle set for condiments and sauces on a gourmet camping trip, or to stock your AirBnB kitchen.
Sold in 3-packs, each PDW Versa Bear has a TSA carry-on approved 2.7oz capacity. Its honey / gummy bear-inspired squeeze bottle body is made of translucent, food-grade silicone, fitted with an airtight flip-top cap that secures liquids inside. The cap has a rotating inner ring pre-printed with the words, "Shamp," "Soap," "Lotion," "Cond.," and "Sun," or you can use 1/4" label maker tape to create custom labels to distinguish your Versa Bears' contents.
Luggage Cup Holder
You'll never be totally hands-free at the airport, but a Luggage Cup Holder can reduce the number of hands you need to carry and juggle your suitcase, shoulder bag, phone, coffee and bagel, and the ID you just dropped on the people mover from 8 to the 2 you've actually got.
This simple 3-pocket organizer slides over any standard extendable metal luggage handle - facing front or facing back - to secure to-go cups and travel mugs, along with a handful of other documents and small accessories you might want at your disposal while waiting for your flight. Phones. Wallets. Sunglasses. Passports. Charging cables. You can take it from there. An adjustable velcro closure secures the cup holder to the suitcase handle, and elastic rims on its two cup-holding pockets secure sloshable liquids inside.
Pep Talk Generator Poster
Holiday stress and depression. Political conflicts at home and abroad. Inflation gloom. Anger over your favorite movies and TV shows vanishing from Disney Plus. Methinks 2024 is gonna be the Year of the Pep Talk. Oh, hey, here's a Pep Talk Generator Poster to help us all out.
The 8x10 print is the perfect gift for Dad, who will obviously be giving most of the pep talks the world over, but it's also a perfect Secret Santa gift for other family members and friends you may turn to for a boost, or who may turn to you.
Sushi Cat Keychains
Sushi Cat, Sushi Cat, what are they feeding you? / Sushi Cat, Sushi Cat, it's not your... wait. Scratch that. More like Sushi Cat, Sushi Cat, who are they feeding you to? / Sushi Cat, Sushi Cat, it's not your fault! And I'd also add: You poor bastard though, what a way to go. RIP.
These Sushi Cat, or "Nekozushi" Keychains debuted as part of Blind Box collectible series. There are 5 unique pieces of fishy feline nigiri, each measuring around 1.38" x 1.57" x 0.79". Their keyrings are detachable, and the listing here includes all five kitty delicacies.
The Bartender's Manifesto
Whoa. Check out The Bartender's Manifesto's Guide to Citrus Garnish Styles section. I am amazed. Not only at the number of citrus garnish styles in existence, but also in how this manual of How to Think, Drink, and Create Cocktails Like a Pro managed to make all of them look 3D in what is presumably a 2D photograph. I mean, Knotted Pigtail with Berry? Citrus Peel Rose? Stunning!
And also seemingly ready to be plucked right off the page!
A dude can only hope the rest of The Bartender's Manifesto is this good!
The Better Ice Scraper
So named for being fast, smart, and easy, The Better Ice Scraper has an ergonomic grip design that eliminates hand and wrist strain, and can both chip and clear ice in the same back-and-forth motion. That gives it its "fast" designation, and is due to a set of teeth on one side and a smooth blade on the other, both of which maintain constant contact with your windshield surface. The frost blade also uses maker Better Stuff's Shape Shifting Technology, so it can conform to the shape of any auto window for more efficient clearing.
Viski Cigar Flask
Looks like Viski's Cigar Flask can hold one 54-gauge cigar, and one...tiny sip of liquor. OK, 2 ounces of liquor - Scotch if you're following the rules of cigar-and-booze consumption - so basically a shot.
This dude's gonna need a whole lot more than that this holiday season.
The World's Most Fiendishly Difficult Literary Puzzle
Edward Powys Mathers (aka Torquemada) wrote Cain's Jawbone in 1934, and to this day, only 3 people have ever solved the 6 murder mysteries hidden within its hundred pages. So, nope, calling it The World's Most Fiendishly Difficult Literary Puzzle is not an exaggeration.
Of course, the "puzzle" part of that statement represents more than just an expertly-written storyline and strategically placed clues. Those 100 pages of Cain's Jawbone? They arrive printed in "an entirely haphazard order." You'll have to pull out and resort every one of them, sifting through millions of possible combinations, if you hope to solve the crimes, and earn yourself a beyond-the-grave high-five from Torquemada.
Fake Charger Plug Diversion Safe
In case you were wondering about the authenticity and integrity of this Fake Charger Plug Diversion Safe, its makers will have you know, it is made of "fine quality plastic." Which might not be as strong and durable as, say, steel, but the point here of course isn't to prevent people from breaking into your safe, but to keep them from recognizing it as a safe in the first place. And as someone who's seen a ton of decoy safes over the years, I think a fake charger plus is one of the better ideas out there, since you can not only hide your cash, stash, and other small valuables inside, but also store the diversion safe in plain sight. As opposed to a safe masked as a can of soup, a bottle of shampoo, or a light bulb, which would look out of place sitting on your desk or nightstand.
NEIKO 4-In-1 Folding Utility Knife
The NEIKO 4-In-1 Folding Utility Knife reminds me that even though multi-tools aren't all the rage like they were circa 2015 when Leatherman debuted their Tread, they can still be solid pieces of EDC with, as their name suggests, a multitude of functional uses. And in the case of NEIKO's utility knife, a nice, yet inexpensive Secret Santa gift offering.
In addition to its foldable utility knife, the multi-tool includes a wire stripper, bit holder, and blade and bit storage compartments, the latter so you can keep extras in your pocket without puncturing or splicing it open.
Bath Spaghetti Body Wash
It's spaghetti so good you want to smear it all over your body and bathe in it. Just like your Italian grandma used to make. Even better, you can indulge in Bath Spaghetti calorie- and marinara-stain-free! Both your insides and outsides will come out the other side cleaner than they started!
Flegg - Flip & Serve Egg Ring
I think the Flegg's functionality is very cool - it's an egg ring that allows the user to flip and serve fried eggs easy-peasy, with no broken yolks, no misplacements on the plate, and no unwanted encounters with the countertop or floor. Its silicone construction also makes it flexible enough to change the shape of the ring and release cooked eggs onto your plate.