A Secret Santa, a Thrifty Swap and a Snail Mail Trade

This festive season I participated in Char's Secret Santa and Janet's Thrifty Gift Swap, as well as Vicky's Snail Mail Trade.  I had a little bit of information about each person I was sending to, and had a good rummage around in their blog archives (where applicable) to get some ideas about what to send to my recipients.

Sadly, the parcel I sent to my Secret Santa in the first week of December has gone missing.  This is very frustrating, as whilst I can put in a claim for it (although I can't prove what the contents were, so it's likely I'm only going to get the postage refunded, but that's not the point) it's saddened me that she didn't get a parcel to open.  I am going to send another parcel, though, so hopefully that will make up for it somewhat, a happy new year present rather than a merry Christmas present.  Although with all the parcels I sent in December, I am impressed that only one has not made it to its destination!

All the other parcels arrived at their destination safely - I received these from Daniella as part of the Thrifty Gift Swap.  They went straight under the tree, I can show restraint sometimes!

When I did give in and open them (admittedly before Christmas...whoops!) I was delighted with the contents.  Just as well I did open them early, I had a gorgeous Christmas tree decoration to go straight on the Christmas tree!  I am very impressed with this decoration, there is even a star button at the top!

The keyring has a sweet cat charm on it (did it come with the key ring, or was it a clever addition?  I do love cats) and the handmade soap smells utterly lovely, even through the paper (and through the wrapping paper!)

I was impressed by how thoughtful the gifts were, considering how vague my likes and dislikes were, and how she managed to give me things I really like, but wouldn't necessarily have bought for myself.  For example, in our bathroom the sink has a bar of soap for me, and liquid soap for Ben, as we have our own preferences.  Soap is not something I ever spend much money on (a bar of soap is a bar of soap, as long as it cleans my hands that's fine with me) but of course I use it every day.  So it is lovely to have been given a posh bar of soap!  Now just need to finish the one currently in use so I can start this!

The final item was this lovely bag - it is surprisingly capacious and now contains one of my (many) crochet projects.  Love it!

This was the gorgeous card - love that gingerbread man!

My Thrifty Gift Swap went to Andrea, who clearly liked everything I sent, judging by her blog post!  I am so pleased she liked it all, and that the socks fit.  Always a worry!

I don't know the name of my Secret Santa via Char, but thank you to whoever you are!  Your card and present win for containing the most amount of glitter and shiny mini sequin things I have seen this festive season!  This present was also put under the tree, again it didn't quite last until Christmas.

I love these items!  Again, someone who has given me lovely things, despite not knowing very much about me at all.  Owls! Can't go wrong with owls.  I already have a large owl purse I use daily, and was wondering what I could use this one for - then I stepped on a crochet stitch marker I'd clearly lost and realised this purse was just the right size for my notions (those small things like stitch markers and tape measures).  Perfect!  A storage solution which is pretty and practical and will get plenty of use.  The stickers have been added to my snail mail drawer, ready for letter writing in the new year and I will use the notebook as soon as inspiration has struck - I always think that writing for the first time in a new notebook is very important (I loved starting a new exercise book when I was at school) so I am looking forward to using this in the new year.

My final swap was from Jennifer - she sent me an email to say she was poorly and so hadn't been able to participate as fully as she wanted to, with my gifts coming straight from the internet retailer.  I told her not to worry, these things can't be helped, and she was to concentrate on getting better.

I love both items very much - a mug and tea! Perfect.  The mug is just the right size, a design I wouldn't have chosen for myself, but I like it more each time I see it.  It has quickly become my preferred mug.  There's an owl on the other side of it, and other woodland animals.  Loose leaf tea is something I haven't drunk for a while, but this gift has motivated me to find out where my teapot (complete with strainer) was packed when we moved house this summer.  I think it's time to put it to use again!

So thank you to the lovely ladies who sent me gifts, and I hope the gifts I sent are being enjoyed too. Finally, a massive thank you to the ladies who organised these swaps, thank you for making them happen!  Here's to next year...?!


  1. Ooh, loads of lovely things! The cat on the key ring is so cute! I really like that mug aswell, and the bag is lovely too. Such a shame that the other parcel you sent went missing :(.

    PS - LOVED the Chai Latte, I had it on Christmas morning - not something I would ever have thought to try (I'm usually all about the tea) but I'd definitely have it again!! :) x

    1. Isn't chai latte great?! English Breakfast tea is always, always, going to be my drink of choice but I had some chai (general term for tea brewed in milk with spices) when I was in India and liked it a lot. I thought perhaps it might just be something that I liked on holiday and it wouldn't be the same when I got back to the UK - which is kind of true, I'm not a great fan of the chai tea bags you can buy here, but a friend recommended this chai latte version and it is much more like the chai I remember in India. So glad you liked it, this particular brand is available in all big supermarkets!

  2. It looks like you had a great time! I love the mug you got, such a pretty pattern!

    1. The mug is great, drinking tea from it right now!

  3. I'm so glad you enjoyed taking part. I love running the swap and seeing what people choose and how much everyone enjoys getting their parcels!

    1. It's been good to see what other people gave and received - lots of ideas, and really thoughtful gifts!

  4. Replies
    1. It has been given a prominent position on the big tree!

  5. The Christmas tree decoration, bag and owl purse are all fab! Looks like your Santa friends did very well there! :-) xx


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