Last updated: September 04, 2023
Show up to your next holiday party with the best Dirty Santa gift that everyone will want to steal.
Dirty Santa is a Christmas gift exchange game, like White Elephant or Yankee Swap, which emphasizes stealing.
For an hour each year, my friends and I become dirty little Santas who bring gifts for the group and then steal them back and forth.
A Dirty Santa gift exchange is light-hearted and goofy. Good Dirty Santa gifts are often silly, sometimes useful, and other times useless.
My favorite pair of socks are from a gift exchange, and my favorite holiday memories are too.
No matter what present I walk away with, the best part of a gift exchange is watching someone open the gift I brought. I always try to elicit slight confusion, laughter, and then a grateful smile.
These are the best gifts for a Dirty Santa exchange (or a white elephant gift exchange, or even a Secret Santa gift exchange.)
Your next Dirty Santa Christmas gift will make your friends, family, and coworkers ask incredulously, “Who brought this gift!?”
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Table of Contents
#1 Bob Ross Chia Pet
Your buddies don’t need a green thumb to make their chia pet grow. The instructions are simple and straightforward; it’s easy to bring a chia pet to life.
Chia’s hair grows within three weeks of planting. It’s the perfect way to add winter greenery to a friend’s apartment or kitchen.
This set comes with three seed packs for multiple rounds of growing.
#2 Diamond Ice Cube Tray
Add bling to your friend’s gifts with diamond ice cubes.
Last year my mom switched to whisky ice cube trays. Whisky ice cubes are 2-3 times the size of standard ice cubes, so they melt slower, which keeps drinks cold longer.
#3 Apples to Apples
It’s always fun to give and receive a card game you can play at the party.
Apples to Apples is my family’s go-to game for holiday gatherings.
I think of it as the version of Cards Against Humanity that you can play with Grandma in the room, although Apples to Apples has actually been around a lot longer.
#4 Umbrella Flask
I’ve seen umbrella flasks at many parties with a Dirty Santa gift exchange, and they are always a hit. This umbrella flask looks real when you hold it, but it unscrews for easy filling.
#5 Coca-Cola Candles
Maybe you need a drink-themed gift that’s a little more family-friendly.
Coca-Cola has such a strong scent on its own. I want every room in my house to smell like sweet, tangy cola, and these candles do just that.
#6 Spa Kit
Spa kits are no-fail meaningful gifts for overworked loved ones. You may not win the “Flashy Gift” award, but you will be doing someone a solid by gifting their relaxation.
#7 Wine Condoms
Wine condoms: it’s not what you think!
…Or maybe it is.
Your wine-drinker friends can reseal open wine bottles with these food-grade rubber latex wine condoms. No, these are not wine-flavored condoms.
Yes, these have shrink-fit technology that prevents bottles from spilling when laid on their side in the refrigerator.
#8 Bluetooth Speaker
Wrap this portable waterproof Bluetooth speaker with a note: “For singing in the shower.”
This speaker links to any device lasts several hours on a single charge, and even clips onto your friend’s hiking backpack, perfect for adventurous, outdoorsy types.
#9 Velvet Coloring Poster
Good Dirty Santa gift ideas for adults often have a nostalgic quality.
Velvet coloring posters were all the rage when I was growing up, and these are way cooler than an adult coloring book.
#10 Spicy Chip Challenge
It’s time to spice things up.
This chip is so spicy that my friend tried it and did not sleep the night we tried it. If your budget is $15, pair it with a compressed set of Emergency Underwear.
#11 Mulled Wine Spice Mix
Mulled wine is the classier cousin of eggnog. Add this mixture of dried spices and fruits to a pot of wine and gently warm.
If you haven’t tried it, you better buy one of these spice gifts for yourself too! This warm drink is delicious and perfect on cold evenings.
#12 Cocktail Mix
Cocktail mix kits make great Dirty Santa gift ideas for your office buddies that are less into beer and wine and more into “Marg Monday.”
This mix comes in a mason jar with instructions. There are 17 flavors, ranging from spicy margarita to blueberry mojito or spiced apple cider.
#13 Fart candle
Time for another gag gift: everyone farts, but maybe your family members are known for earth-shattering “barking spiders.” (Definitely not looking at you, dad).
Luckily, this candle isn’t fart-scented; instead, it provides much-needed relief when someone rips one.
#14 See’s Candy Lollipops
At your next office Christmas party, skip the boring old Tootsie Pops and go for See’s lollipops.
This 12-pack of artisan suckers is rich with butterscotch, chocolate, and coffee flavors. I’m having flashbacks to childhood… Please, someone, send me a box of lollipops!
#15 Pooping Pooches Calendar
One of the best parts of a Dirty Santa party is watching someone open your gift.
That is–it’s the best moment as long as they aren’t disappointed.
But, no one can resist laughing when they tear the wrapping paper away to see pictures of dogs taking dumps.
#16 Cat Buttholes Calendar
And here is the cat equivalent—nothing like cats displaying their love by showing their buttholes!
#17 Bathtub Wine Glass Holder
More than anything, it’s just funny to think of a co-worker drinking wine or beer in the shower.
Really though, this wine glass holder is a useful gift for someone who likes relaxing in the bathtub. They can lean back without fearing the cat will knock their glass over.
#18 Custom Pet Portrait
Looking for impressive Dirty Santa gift ideas without the additional cost? Commissioning a custom portrait of your friend’s pet is less expensive than you would expect.
Order a Digital download on Etsy and place your order without uploading a picture (since you don’t know which friend will receive your gift). Then click the “Message Doug” button and tell him that you are purchasing for a friend, who will email the picture separately.
Print the order receipt or type up a “Paid Commissions” certificate. Be sure to include the order number and email (Photo4Etsy@gmail.com), so they can contact the artist.
You can still give this as a wrapped gift by sliding the paper into a box. Toss some dog treats in for sound.
#19 Fart Blanket Gift Box
One thing I’ve learned in life is that you can’t go wrong with fart jokes. I’m serious (or as serious as I can be while talking about farts).
Everyone loves blankets, and when the laughter about dutch ovens dies down, and the Christmas party is over, your family members can cuddle up in their new fuzzy blanket.
#20 Fart Sound Machine
My sister used to have a fart sound machine, and we got more use out of that tooting toy than anything else.
This sound box has nine different fart sounds for all the fun with none of the stink. It’s the perfect Dirty Santa gift idea for mischievous uncles.
#21 Coddies Slippers
Wrap these slippers in shimmery paper so that they look high-end. Then insist that the recipient wears them for the rest of the party.
They look funny, but they’re actually quite comfortable.
#22 Mac and Cheese Candle
Now every night can be Mac and Cheese night! Too cheesy? Okay, okay, I’ll stop.
This unique gift will bring a good laugh. Best of all, it’s made of soy wax, which is non-toxic and burns cleaner.
But don’t be fooled by the silly design. South Lake candles are made with custom molds and hand painted.
They even come with a little packet of dried mint to give your Dirty Santa gifts that gourmet look.
#23 Back Massager
My best friend bought a shepherd’s hook back massager when she started rock climbing. . . and let me tell you! This is the best invention ever.
The hook shape and various knobby points make it easy for your giftee to massage their own back.
#24 Potato Soap
I can’t help myself! How do all these soaps look so real?
Silly soaps are functional and funny Dirty Santa gifts and a popular gift idea for adults. So if you’re not a big hot dog fan, there are lots of other novelty soap options.
#25 No-Spill Beer or Champagne Flute
This champagne flute is as functional as it is stylish.
The food-grade stainless steel insulation will keep your friend’s drinks cold and bubbly for hours: no more broken glass or spilled champagne at the next Christmas party.
And, if your loved ones aren’t into champagne, these double as excellent beer mugs, too.
#26 Pet Cloud
The pet cloud, a creative new iteration of the classic pet rock, is a kid-friendly and unique Dirty Santa gift.
As an adult, I would much rather laugh at receiving a pet cloud than regift another stuffed animal at a different Christmas party.
#27 Loaf Pillow
A loaf of bread isn’t necessarily what you’d consider a cool gift. That is, unless it’s a human-sized loaf of bread.
These loaf pillows are the best Dirty Santa gifts for $25. Now your pals can feel a little less lonely in bed while spooning their loaf.
Plus–a wrapped loaf pillow will draw plenty of attention under the Christmas tree.
#28 Electric Outlet Mustache Stickers
What is it about dressing up mundane household appliances?
Outlet mustaches are under $5, meaning you can add them to another item to make the best $10 Dirty Santa gift.
#29 Avocado Socks
Every year, my college sorority held a secret Santa party. Fun socks were a no-fail gift. You really can’t go wrong with these adorable avocado-print crew socks.
Kids and adults will love the pattern, making them a cool Dirty Santa gift idea for co-workers or a Christmas party where you aren’t particularly close with other guests.
#30 Tortilla Blanket
Have you ever wanted to wrap up in a burrito blanket?
These 5-foot flannel blankets are printed to look like giant tortillas using eco-friendly dyes. They’re lightweight for sleepovers or travel.
#31 Toilet Timer
How much time do you spend per day scrolling through social media or endlessly clicking news links while sitting on the toilet? I know, too personal.
This toilet timer is a fun and functional gag gift. Enjoy the satisfaction of a little bit of healthy embarrassment as your friends all admit to using their phones on the pot.
#32 Glowing Orb Wind Chime
Technically these are windchimes, but I want a color-changing mobile in my bedroom!
These glowing orbs are one of my favorite Dirty Santa ideas because they’re something I actually want for myself.
#33 Mini Waffle Maker
The only thing better than regular waffles are mini waffles.
Now your friends can make adorable 4-inch waffles without using all their counter space.
#34 Exceptionally Bad Dad Jokes
Dad jokes are puns or any sort of joke that makes you cringe.
Exceptionally Bad Dad Jokes is the perfect gift to bring joy to the corny dads at your office and will make them very popular at parties.
#35 Fake Roto Wipe Gift Box
While we are discussing bad jokes, wrap your present in a fake box.
Prank boxes are empty so that you can put your real gift inside. The goal of a prank box is to throw off your recipient.
This one masquerades as an unpleasant-sounding alternative to toilet paper. But inside, you can hide something much more appealing for a hilarious fake-out.
#36 Workplace Thesaurus
Per My Last Email is a clever collection of words and phrases for spicing up work emails and hallway greetings. This book is another of my personal favorites for the holiday season.
#37 Voice Changing Megaphone
I’m sorry in advance to parents, but voice-changing megaphones are so much fun!
Toysmith’s voice-changing synthesizer has ten electronic voice synthesizer adjustments. Kids can walk around the backyard, scaring away squirrels and raccoons.
#38 Throw Throw Burrito
Throw Throw Burrito is a card game by the creators of Exploding Kittens. Throw Throw Burrito is simple, goofy, and requires throwing squishy burritos at your friends.
It’s not as well–known as the awarding–winning Exploding Kittens, but just as fun.
#39 Darn Tough Hiking Socks
Not all Dirty Santa gift ideas have to be silly– practical Dirty Santa gifts are popular too!
Wool allows your friends’ feet to breathe, keeping them warm in winter and cool in the summer.
Darn Tough socks are merino wool, nylon, and lycra, offering a lighter-weight alternative to bulky 100% wool socks.
Intrigued by merino wool? Check out our picks for the best wool shoes and find out what all the fuss is about.
#40 Animal Tea Infuser Set
Tea steeper animals are hollow silicone figures with holes small enough for water to pass through without tea leaves floating out. They are dishwasher-safe and perfect for tea parties.
#41 Travel Bottle of Expensive Hard Liquor
Buy a travel-size bottle of high-quality liquor from your local liquor store.
When I say high quality, I mean buy the stuff you can only afford to drink 3 ounces of.
My boss did this last year, and every person at the Christmas party stole it over and over. You can also do this with a growler of artisan beer or a bottle of wine.
FAQs About Dirty Santa Gift Exchanges
What is a Bad Santa gift exchange?
A Bad Santa or a Dirty Santa gift exchange is similar to a White Elephant gift exchange or a Yanky Swap.
These swap games are a joy to play with family, friends, and coworkers. No need to break the bank by purchasing individual presents for 15 people.
With Dirty Santa, each person brings one thing. Then everyone selects a random gift from the pile, and glorious chaos ensues.
How do you make Dirty Santa fun?
Entertaining gift ideas are the key to Dirty Santa. Consider setting a theme, like Bob Ross, travel, food, celebrities, and wine.
Look for gag gifts that are useful in some way. Group several smaller gifts together to meet your budget, or max out on the budget with one special gift.
If you are hosting a Dirty Santa, set a budget so that all gifts have similar value. That way, everyone has the challenge of finding the best Dirty Santa gifts under $15 or $25.
Whatever you do, don’t wait until the last minute to purchase your gift–it shows.
What is the difference between White Elephant and Dirty Santa?
The main difference between a Dirty Santa game and a White Elephant party is the amount of stealing.
During the game, your friends can either open a new gift or steal a gift from someone else.
When all the gifts are open, there is a round of stealing where everyone has the opportunity to take a different opened gift from someone else.
Additionally, gifts in a Dirty Santa game should be entertaining, unlike Yankee Swap, which prioritizes usefulness.
What are the rules for Dirty Santa?
Each person at a Dirty Santa game must contribute a gift. Hosts sometimes purchase a backup gift in case a friend forgets. Everyone brings their gifts wrapped, and no one knows who they are from.
Draw numbers from a hat to decide who selects when. The game begins when the first person selects their gift from the pool.
Each player can choose a new present or steal a present from someone else. If my gift, for example, is stolen, I can either steal someone else’s or pick a new one.
The game is over when all the gift-giving and stealing are complete.
If your family is particularly thieving, consider limiting the number of steals allowed per turn. There is no stealing a gift back immediately after it’s stolen from you. It’s essential that there is enough stealing for the game to be funny without being tedious.
Set rules like, you can steal a gift only three times, or the final stealing round will last 5 minutes.
Big group exchanges can last forever if people keep stealing instead of opening new gifts. Avoid hours of stealing by requiring all presents to be open before the stealing round.
Remember, the game is more enjoyable with funny Dirty Santa Gifts. Laugh and show gratitude.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jodelle Marx is an artist and writer, adventure seeker, and collaborator. She hikes, swims, chases after her dog, and hums off tune. When Jodelle is not nerding out about traveling, she is probably working on a community project or performing spoken word poetry.
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