It’s that time of year again to buy gifts for all (or some) of your friends. Let’s be honest, secret santa gifting is pretty smart, especially for a college kid on a budget: you only have to buy one gift and everyone in the group gets something. But what if your gift recipient is someone you don’t know too well? That’s not really a problem because everyone likes food.

Food, either a single novelty item or a couple smaller items, is the perfect way to satisfy the $15-20 gift swap budget with the confidence that your recipient won’t be disappointed. Food itself is a pretty broad category, but during the holidays: stick to treats and sweets. The list below contains a combination of homemade and online-order secret santa gifts, if you’re stuck in a rut:



Sure you could just make a batch of cookies and eat some of the dough, but this dough is made for raw consumption. There are crazy flavor variations including S’More Please, Birthday Bash and Strawberry Jammin’ coming in at $8-$9 each.

You can order Edoughble edible cookie dough online as a single flavor, but the minimum amount to ship is $15, so throw in another flavor, or in a pretty pack of 5 for $1 cheaper, wrapping included. Done and done.

Chocomize — Personalized Chocolate Bar

Customize a delicious chocolate bar with a dark, milk or white chocolate base. You can chose up to five fruit, nut and candy add-ins for your bar and with over 90 to choose from, there are thousands of combinations out there. Then add logos, messages or cards with the order, and your secret santa gift is taken care of. Chocomize bars are available to order online.

Homemade Peppermint Bark

Check out this easy recipe that I love. There are literally 5 ingredients, it’s easy to make and the recipe yields about 2 pounds of chocolate-peppermint bliss, so this treat can stand alone. You can buy it or make it yourself!

secret santa

Photo by Kellyn Simpkins

A Fresh Batch of Cupcakes

Cupcakes never get old. Spice up the design with red food coloring swirled with uncolored cake batter simulate holiday cheer. Or just add crushed candy cane on top, that works too.

Gingerbread Friends

Bake gingerbread cookies, pre made or homemade dough, then decorate them to look like their friend. Make your entire friend group for extra points, and don’t forget to instagram! Decorated cookies add a little bit of personalization and they’re completely functional because they can be enjoyed right after admiration.


Puppy Chow

Put a bowl of puppy chow on a counter near your friends and watch it disappear. Like cupcakes, this stuff never gets old. Check out the University of Texas’s awesome recipe here, or check out other entries on the Spoon University national site.