‘Tis the season for your holiday office party and, by extension, your search for that perfect Secret Santa gift. Avoid the bah-humbug shopping blues with our list of top nine gift ideas—each is very budget-friendly, is appropriate for any co-worker, and is available locally or online. Oh, and why is our list a top nine and not ten? Because we like to do things our way, of course!

  1. A Good Book. As the pace of life moves faster and faster, offer a reminder to slow down on occasion with a good book. Here’s a holiday catalog of must-read tales from New England Independent Booksellers. Visit local bookseller The Toadstool Bookshop of Keene and find yourself a book, too.
  1. Chocolate. Most everyone has a sweet tooth, and a box of carefully curated chocolates is indeed a special treat. Instead of going generic, consider local chocolates like the one-pound assortment from Keene’s Life is Sweet Candy Store.
  1. A Tote. It’s impossible to have too many totes—near the couch (filled with magazines), or in your car (filled with who-knows-what), a good tote can be used for countless things. The Open Top Tote from L.L. Bean is a dependable classic, though many unique options can be found at local stores.
  1. A Coffee Accessory. Coffee lovers are passionate about their favorite beans, but why not introduce them to a fun, and functional, coffee accessory? Prime Roast Coffee in downtown Keene has lots of options, like this Aeropress.
  1. Flowers. No, we’re not suggesting you wrap up a dozen roses. Instead, give a gift certificate to a local florist, like In the Company of Flowers, and let the recipient choose a bouquet—after all, nothing adds a bit of beauty, whimsy, and fragrance to a home or office like flowers.
  1. Restaurant. Give the gift of dinner with a gift card to a local restaurant. Having someone else cook a meal is always welcome—especially during the busy holiday season.
  1. Something (Anything!) From Stonewall Kitchen. They’ve got 54 (we counted!) gift sets under $30, from a collection of favorite jams to a trio of syrups to all the makings of tortilla soup. In a word: yum.
  1. A 2017 Calendar. Come January 1st, we’re all going to be in need of a new wall calendar. Offer utility along with art through a schedule of striking images, like National Parks Poster or Charley Harper.
  1. Locally Made Gifts. There’s just something extra special about a gift that was made nearby by skilled artisans. Wander on over to see our friends at Hannah Grimes Marketplace and pick up one of their locally made items, like pottery and glassware (who doesn’t appreciate a new set of mugs or drinking glasses?).

So start early, shop with purpose, and prepare to be the star of your office holiday bash this year. And remember, we will be here when the merriment ends and the job search begins anew in 2017!