NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- When it comes to gifting, they say it's the thought that counts. But how are you supposed to be thoughtful when you barely know the person?
That's the challenge you face in a Secret Santa exchange, which often happens in a work setting where you might not know much about your recipient. Furthermore, most exchanges have a limit of just $10 or $15, which keeps you from spending too much money, but can also lead you into the trap of buying an awful, cheap gift. And nobody wants to be labeled as the "bad gifter."
Does your intended recipient prefer stimulants to depressants? While a gift card to Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts would do the trick, you could also buy your recipient the means to make his or her own coffee at home. Each coffee shop sells one-pound bags of ground coffee, with Dunkin' Donuts selling them for around $9 and Starbucks selling them in the $13 to $15 range. And if your caffeine fiend instead uses a Keurig machine, you're covered there, too. Dunkin' Donuts sells 14-packs of K-cups for around $11.99, and you can get Starbucks brand K-Cups at supermarkets and other large retailers; Amazon sells all different kinds of options.
Beer Here, then, are a few must-have gifts for less than $15.
The stand-by Secret Santa gift for most adults is a bottle of wine, and we can't really argue with that: It's easy to find a good bottle of wine for less than $10, and unless you work with wine connoisseurs, your recipient will likely enjoy it just as much as a more expensive bottle. But why not break the mold and get beer instead?
While you can get a six-pack of decent beer for $10 or less, you might also consider getting a 750 ml bottle -- the same size as a bottle of wine -- of more high-end beer. We're fond of Belgian brews: Chimay, for instance, makes some great Belgian Trappist beer that can usually be had for $10 or less. There is also Delirium Nocturnum, a dark Belgian strong ale, and La Fin Du Monde, an abbey tripel produced by Canadian brewery Unibroue. Resident beer expert Jason Notte recently picked out 10 great holiday beer buys if you really want the scoop on what's good this season.