7 Boring Gifts We’re Too Paiseh To Reject & What To Buy Instead So You Don’t Flop Secret Santa

Christmas gifts alternatives

It’s that time of the year when you’re part of 3 different gift exchanges but without a clue on what to buy. You also tend to procrastinate and will most likely scramble the stores for a collection of last minute mugs, again.

To spare you the pain of sifting through hundreds of common prezzies, we’ve made a list of 7 quirky Christmas gift alternatives and checked it twice. Here’s to hopefully taking the pressure of gift-giving off your shoulders.

1. Ceramic mugs

Ceramic mugs come in many aesthetic designs and make easy gifts for everyone, from colleagues whom you barely know to your ride-or-die BFF. But your Santee has probably unwrapped 5 mugs this season and probably doesn’t need another one.


Image credit: Blogilates

Alternative: A regular ol’ mug may not be the most original idea. But a 1-gallon Popflex Water Bottle with fruit infuser might just trump that. Drinking water will never be the same as soon as your recipient gets their paws on this cool bottle which comes with a timer to keep track of how much water you consume.

2. Candles

Candles are calming, can boost your mood, mask funky smells, and convince you and everyone else that a sophisticated soul resides at your address. But it’s likely that you’ll only light a candle up once before the novelty quickly wears off.

Image credit: @okdodoo

Alternative: Basking in the fragrance and flickering light of candles isn’t the only thing that can lift your spirits. In fact, the Okdodoo music box can do the same job. And, we’re willing to bet your giftee will be touched when they find out you’ve handpicked all the tunes inside the lil machine.

3. Socks & towels

Socks and towels are essentials all of us can’t live without. That’s why you and everyone else tend to shop for them in bulk, at a discount, and leave them off Christmas wishlists.

Image credit: @curatecrochetbox

Alternative: You can still give the gift of cosiness but in the form of a DIY Crochet Kit. With this beginner-friendly box, your giftee can hopefully pick up a new hobby and might even knit themselves a blanket or a cardigan later on.

4. Hand cream

Raise your hand if you have a stash of unopened hand creams in your drawer. They’re easy go-tos as gifts because we all want a silky smooth pair of hands. But if you’re thinking of gifting your Santee a tube, don’t. They most likely already have their holy grail lotion and won’t use your gift. 

Image credit:

Alternative: If you’re after a scented gift, try a bottle of DIY perfume instead. You can concoct a signature scent for your Santee at Maison 21G based on either their personality or fave fragrance. Do that and watch them reach for their travel-size eau de parfum over and over again.

5. Calendar

Calendars are a planning saviour. It helps manage your hectic schedule and makes your workspace look organised. But it’s 2022 and you’re probably using a calendar on your phone that has the ability to schedule meetings and send reminders. 

Image credit: Lazada

Alternative: The chances of your giftee also relying on a calendar on their phone is high. That and the fact that they spend hours shuffling between apps tend to dry up their battery. That’s why they’ll appreciate a portable phone charger to keep their device’s juice flowing. 

Bonus if they’re a cat person because we just found a mini 2-in-1 cat portable charger that doubles up as a night light.

6. Tea bags

Tea bags are safe go-to’s. They can be made into a variety of refreshing drinks and have a lil caffeine to pick you up. However, unless you’re gifting one of those tea bags that blooms into an edible flower when steeped, the basic ones risk being put into a pile that your giftee will hardly touch. 

Image credit:

Alternative: For a less common gift, try these unicorn hot chocolate bombs from Berry Bar instead. This box comes in 7 flavours like matcha, horlicks, and milo, and will leave your giftee beaming. The unicorn-shaped balls are also too cute to eat, if you ask us.

7. Plants

Plants can help improve your home’s air quality and are pretty photogenic for the ‘Gram. That is, if you can keep them alive. However, with your busy schedule, even a pot of succulent that only requires to be watered once a week might not make it to adulthood.

Image credit: @brettjwright

Alternative: Get the plant lovers who don’t have a green thumb in your life a LEGO Succulent Set. It has 9 different plants that all look legit and will match the cool vibes in their room. Plus, no water and sunlight is needed for these babies.

Gift your loved ones NETS Prepaid Card this Christmas

Secret Santa, White Elephant – no matter what you call it, the rule of the game is the same: you set a budget, get a gift, and pray that it won’t be collecting dust on your giftee’s shelf. That’s why you’ll need a unique present that goes beyond a basic mug or a typical pair of socks.

The gift ideas above will most likely gain you the best gift-giver title. But if you need one more solid option, have a look at the NETS Prepaid Card.

Besides tapping the card on public buses and trains, your recipient can use it at over 120,000 stores and stalls that accept NETS payments. It’s also reloadable online via NETS App, valid for 5 years, and can carry up to $1,000

There’s a whole host of designs to choose from, ranging from iconic Singapore landmarks to superheroes. But if you’d like to add a personal touch to the card, personalise it with a photo of your giftee. You can do that by uploading a photo of your choice onto the NETS App.

On the off chance that they lose the card, they’ll be able to lock it via the app and recover any lost balance.  

From 14th-18th December, 50 lucky peeps will be able to score themselves a pair of limited edition Christmas theme NETS Prepaid Cards. Here’s what you have to do:

  • Follow NETS Instagram.
  • Tag your friend(s) in the comments section of the NETS Prepaid Card Christmas Instagram Contest post.
  • Ask your tagged friend(s) to follow NETS Instagram.

That’s it. On 20th December, you and your buddies will find out whether you each get a prepaid card.

Think about it. If you have a choice between getting a present that you might regift and a gift card to spend pretty much anywhere and on anything, you’d probably want the latter. Same goes for your Santees. So, let them figure out what they want to buy for themselves with a NETS Prepaid Card.

Get NETS Prepaid Card as a Christmas gift

This post was brought to you by NETS.
Cover image adapted from LEGO, @curatecrochetbox.

Samantha Nguyen

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