I'm sorry you had a disappointing experience. That is one of the things I hate about the Secret Santa thing, you get great gifts from the Martha Stewart Wanna Be, or you get the left over Laffy Taffy from Coach Manly. (Or the math teacher...especially if he's not married.)
I do agree the Secret Santa thing is more for girls, and teen groups.
Maybe you could suggest a variation of the "Boo" thing. You get "Elfed" instead. There is a stocking picture with a poem that you copy twice (once to put name on, one for the next giftee) and you leave a small present under ten dollars.
One person starts it and it continues throughout the school or building, whatever. Most of the items we did last year were holiday decorating items--I got a pottery oversized mug and bowl filled with candy. It was so cute, I'm doing a variation of it for the Impossible to Please In-Laws. It was also inexpensive and inspiring--
You can also Elf people in your office who really need a pick-up or a "Hey, someone's thinking of you" message.
Which is really a lot more fun than sitting around in a potluck without any adult beverages (!) and opening somebody's desperate attempt to join in the office spirit.