Holiday-party season is upon us, which means you’ve probably encountered at least one round of Secret Santa, whether it’s at work or among friends. Of course, this also means you’re faced with the conundrum of finding something cool without spending too much. Because we all know that the two things most important with Secret Santa gifts are that 1) they shouldn’t actually set you back financially, and 2) they need to demonstrate your thoughtfulness, creativity, and utter coolness, impressing the pants off the recipient and everyone involved. We already took inspiration from the release of Madden NFL 12 from our friends at EA Sports to give you ideas on how to enjoy the holidays at home; now we’re using it as the jumping-off point to help you find some top-notch gifts that will leave you feeling smugger than Mr. Claus himself. Whether your recipient is a football fanatic, a culture vulture, or a sartorial junkie, here’s a plethora of thrifty gifts that will make you wish your own Secret Santa had this list.
Whether you’re giving a gift to someone who’s into noise rock, synthpop, or humor writing, you can’t go wrong with a Playbutton. These wearable mp3 players include the newest from the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, a mixtape by Dublab, or readings from Tina Fey and David Sedaris by Hachette Audio. The buttons are neatly designed for collecting, putting a new spin on the old trend of displaying your favorite band as a badge.