Not so Secret Santa & some last minute buys under £8

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 (Paperchase)

Working from home and freelancing means no annual Christmas party, no long lunches, no excuses to get glammed up everyday in case there is after-work drinks – and no Secret Santa.

I love a bit of Secret Santa but you get the moaners who think secret Santa means spending money you don’t have, on people you don’t especially like and receiving a load of tat you don’t need.

Granted if you are part of a large office this could be the case – but, I worked with a small team and loved thinking up inexpensive gifts that were thoughtful too. But, then I used to take in homemade treats for the whole floor! When I was on maternity leave it was my idea to organise a mamas and babies lunch for my NCT group and of course suggested we all do a Secret Santa for the babies. Old habits die hard.

So, I was pleased this year when the girls in the Facebook Blogging group I am part suggested we do a ‘not so secret santa’ and spread a little Christmas spirit to each other – and then blog about it.

Having only been in this group since the summer and first all meeting each other at a recent blogging conference we had to be creative as we’ve only known each other over the Internet as such. Which may sound strange to some people but we chat daily, offer online support and help each other out with our blogs too.

So, it’s a nice way to say thank you and of course, Merry Christmas. I had to send my gift to the super lovely Karen at minitravallers – which I was very pleased about as I had (online) spoken to her the most before she suggested starting the group. Karen writes a fab blog about travelling with kids – with she knows a thing or two about as she has 3 kids under 4! So, I wanted to send her something that was just for her and that was a bit of a treat too.

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 Last minute Secret Santa buys | secret snata | secret santa gifts ideas | stocking fillers | marks & spencer | dotcomgiftshop | paper chase | gift ideas | gifts under £8| mini travellers | mark warner mum | secret santa gift | packaging | personalise smug | photo box mug | gifts | christmas | hema | budget gifts | john lewis | small gifts | stocking gifts | mini travellers blog | christmas traditions

 Last minute Secret Santa buys | secret snata | secret santa gifts ideas | stocking fillers | marks & spencer | dotcomgiftshop | paper chase | gift ideas | gifts under £8| mini travellers | mark warner mum | secret santa gift | packaging | personalise smug | photo box mug | gifts | christmas | hema | budget gifts | john lewis | small gifts | stocking gifts | mini travellers blog | christmas traditions

I went for a personalised mug – as I don’t think you can ever go wrong giving a nice mug for someone. I wanted it to be a bit special so had her blog logo printed on it – that way it’s strictly ‘mummy’s only.’

To add a treat element – I filled it with some relaxing teabags (as I wasn’t sure if Karen was a tea or coffee drinker?), a tube of hand cream and a bright nail polish. My note also hoped she got ‘5 minutes to herself to enjoy!’

As bloggers we spend as much time as she can at our computers – so I hoped that when Karen’s tapping away on her keyboard with (hopefully) polished nails and sipping a cuppa she will be reminded of our group and it will brighten her day a little. As I love a bit of a theme. I took her ‘mini travellers’ one step further with my wrapping. By using a luggage label as her tag (which of course she can use on her next trip!) and decorated the parcel to look like an vintage ‘airmail’ parcel to hint how far it had travelled to her. (I live South, she lives North).

 Last minute Secret Santa buys | secret snata | secret santa gifts ideas | stocking fillers | marks & spencer | dotcomgiftshop | paper chase | gift ideas | gifts under £8| mini travellers | mark warner mum | secret santa gift | packaging | personalise smug | photo box mug | gifts | christmas | hema | budget gifts | john lewis | small gifts | stocking gifts | mini travellers blog | christmas traditions

 Last minute Secret Santa buys | secret snata | secret santa gifts ideas | stocking fillers | marks & spencer | dotcomgiftshop | paper chase | gift ideas | gifts under £8| mini travellers | mark warner mum | secret santa gift | packaging | personalise smug | photo box mug | gifts | christmas | hema | budget gifts | john lewis | small gifts | stocking gifts | mini travellers blog | christmas traditions

 Last minute Secret Santa buys | secret snata | secret santa gifts ideas | stocking fillers | marks & spencer | dotcomgiftshop | paper chase | gift ideas | gifts under £8| mini travellers | mark warner mum | secret santa gift | packaging | personalise smug | photo box mug | gifts | christmas | hema | budget gifts | john lewis | small gifts | stocking gifts | mini travellers blog | christmas traditions

My ‘not so secret santa’ parcel arrived from the lovely Katie at mami25. Katie has 5 kids ranging from 1-13 so how on earth she had time to sent me such a sweet and partly homemade gift I’ll never know! To find out what she sent and why click over to her blog at mami25.

 Last minute Secret Santa buys | secret snata | secret santa gifts ideas | stocking fillers | marks & spencer | dotcomgiftshop | paper chase | gift ideas | gifts under £8| mini travellers | mark warner mum | secret santa gift | packaging | personalise smug | photo box mug | gifts | christmas | hema | budget gifts | john lewis | small gifts | stocking gifts | mini travellers blog | christmas traditions

*SHOPPING EXTRA*

And, of course I had to share my 9 favourite Secret Santa buys under £8 in case you need one pretty swift for a gift swap this week or a last minute stocking filler.

 Last minute Secret Santa buys | secret snata | secret santa gifts ideas | stocking fillers | marks & spencer | dotcomgiftshop | paper chase | gift ideas | gifts under £8| mini travellers | mark warner mum | secret santa gift | packaging | personalise smug | photo box mug | gifts | christmas | hema | budget gifts | john lewis | small gifts | stocking gifts | mini travellers blog | christmas traditions

1) Highlighter pen and highlighter £7.50 Paperchase

2) Bottle stoppers £5 Paperchase

3) Wax stamp £4 Hema

4) Barry M ‘Jingle Bells’ Nail Paint £3.99 Superdrug

5) Moustache dummy £6 Amazon

6) Queen Bee Vaseline £3.99 Superdrug

7) Happy Jackson mirror compact £7.95 John Lewis

8) Noughts & crosses £3.95 dotcomgiftshop

9) Festive earrings £8 Marks & Spencer

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18 Comments

  1. December 21, 2014 / 9:40 am

    Very clever and brilliant ideas! I love the personalised mug!

    • December 21, 2014 / 8:25 pm

      Thank you – a personalised mug is a nice treat x

  2. December 21, 2014 / 9:53 am

    Aw I want to be part of your Facebook blogging group!! All the secret santa posts Im reading sound a lovely group of people!

    • December 21, 2014 / 8:25 pm

      Ahh… yes it is a lovely group x

  3. December 21, 2014 / 10:21 am

    Oh my word! So thoughtful and SO creative!!! Gorgeous 🙂
    Thanks so much for joining in with the not so secret Santa #SundayStars

    • December 21, 2014 / 8:26 pm

      Thank you – can't wait to catch up with everyone else's posts too!

  4. December 21, 2014 / 1:16 pm

    Amazing! However, you make my wrapping look pants! 🙁 You are so thoughtful. Really glad to have met you this year and become friends. Love your blog so much and you, and happy christmas and new year gorgeous. Jess x #sundaystars

    • December 21, 2014 / 8:26 pm

      Ahh…Jess what a lovely comment and right back at you! It is a fab group and such a huge support x Merry Christmas

  5. December 21, 2014 / 7:03 pm

    I absolutely adore my mug, I really really do. The whole package was so beautifully crafted and so very very thoughful. Thank you so much. I haven't actually tried tea pigs tea before but have heard its very good. Can't wait. Thanks lovely. #sundaystars

    • December 21, 2014 / 8:27 pm

      Karen you are most welcome am so glad you're pleased. I was so worried it wasn't going to arrive in time… have a wonderful Christmas x

  6. December 21, 2014 / 7:23 pm

    Bonita your gifts were great, i love the mug, it was sow lovely to meet you and can't wait to meet up again, Merry Christmas x x

    • December 21, 2014 / 8:27 pm

      I know we all need to meet up soon xx

  7. December 21, 2014 / 10:04 pm

    How good is your packing skills?!

    The personalised mug is ace – such a thoughtful gift.

    Jenna at Tinyfootsteps xx

  8. December 22, 2014 / 12:04 pm

    Oh Bonnie what a lovely and thoughtful set of gifts. Not that I'd expect any less from you, the present giving queen!!

    So glad you got involved with secret Santa.

    Merry Christmas BFF xxxx

  9. December 22, 2014 / 3:02 pm

    Lovely gift i love the mug! merry christmas! x

  10. December 28, 2014 / 11:31 pm

    These are such thoughtful presents. The personalised mug is a genius idea. And it is lovely that you filled it with some pampering treats including a fabulous red nail varnish. Also, your gift wrapping is amazing. The parcel looks beautiful. I hope that you and your wonderful family had a very special Christmas. Hugs Mrs H xxxx

  11. January 1, 2015 / 7:20 pm

    Working from home and looking after my babies is a real blessing — and I wouldn't have it any other way — but I totally get this!! As a WAHM — who's been freelancing for the last 8 years — I long for the long lunches and work's Christmas dinners and I really miss the Secret Santas too…

    I love your thoughtful gifts — especially the mug! Such a lovely thing to do! XX

  12. January 4, 2015 / 1:36 am

    Popping back to leave a comment as I must have forgotten when I first read it! I'm so glad you liked your gifts. This being my first real secret Santa I was a bit flummoxed with what to buy lol. You've obviously had plenty of practice as your gifts are fantastic and so thoughtful! xxx