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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Molly
    • By MSE Molly 21st Nov 19, 2:56 PM
    • 60Posts
    • 123Thanks
    MSE Molly
    How do you make your Secret Santa gift look so much more?
    • #1
    • 21st Nov 19, 2:56 PM
    How do you make your Secret Santa gift look so much more? 21st Nov 19 at 2:56 PM
    It divides offices around the country every December. Yes, it's the dreaded Secret Santa.

    Bob stands there rubbing his hands with glee because his best mate Mo got him in the draw, while poor Kim has no idea who Sarah is and has to discreetly find out from the rest of her team what she likes...*

    But that's not where it ends, oh no.

    Someone from marketing ends up crying in the loos because they were given an unscented candle YET AGAIN, while the finance team have all told each other who they've got despite the explicitly clear rules on the email marked 'high importance' NOT to do so - but it doesn't matter, because they've all swapped around anyway so they get the best gifts.**

    What's more, to make things harder, there's a budget! And while here at MSE we LOVE budgeting all year round, sometimes, even for the best MoneySavers, that 1 or even 5 limit can feel restricting and just a waste when you don't know where to start.

    But that's where you come in Forumites. Because we can always rely on your knowledge and help!

    We want you to share your most creative Secret Santa gifts, for the least amount of money.

    Laziness is not allowed! We want you to think outside the box - we're talking homemade, funny and genuinely thoughtful presents for the smallest number of pennies possible.

    How do you make your money go further, to make it a gift others will be envious of?

    We can't wait to hear your suggestions!

    - MSE Molly

    *No employees named Bob, Mo, Kim or Sarah were harmed in the making of this thread.
    **All scenarios portrayed in this forum thread are entirely fictitious and by no means representative of any Secret Santa debacles that may have happened at MSE Towers.

    This Forum tip was included in MoneySavingExpert.com's weekly email!
    If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply.
    Last edited by MSE Molly; 04-12-2019 at 10:39 AM.

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Page 1
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 22nd Nov 19, 8:32 AM
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    Pollycat
    • #2
    • 22nd Nov 19, 8:32 AM
    • #2
    • 22nd Nov 19, 8:32 AM
    This might be 'Bah Humbug' but I really can't see the point of Secret Santa.
    Here's a thread from last year:

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5935045
    They don't need to get rid of it.
    You just have to opt out.

    I've been retired for 15 years but we used to do Secret Santa.
    You could put a note on saying what you really didn't want.
    I said I didn't want make-up.
    I was bought a palette of cheap eye-shadows.
    It went to the charity shop before Christmas.

    My personal opinion is that Secret Santa is just a waste of money.
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    I've been shopping with a friend when she's run both of us ragged trying to find something nice within the budget.
    Last edited by Pollycat; 22-11-2019 at 8:35 AM.
    • Katiehound
    • By Katiehound 22nd Nov 19, 5:08 PM
    • 5,177 Posts
    • 40,217 Thanks
    Katiehound
    • #3
    • 22nd Nov 19, 5:08 PM
    • #3
    • 22nd Nov 19, 5:08 PM
    Luckily I don't need to do Secret Santa.
    I buy items for specific people, some as cheap as possible! well, that is mutual.

    With one of my friends we have a 5 challenge- you can buy from anywhere and if you don't like you can give away too.
    This year she has : a microfibre coat (1) a 100% cotton blouse (1) a jacket type cardigan (1) - all charity shop buys. A wind-up torch - new 2. I reckon that's 5 well spent.

    Other friends have a very beautiful coffee table book. Publishers cost 35, seen it advertised this week at 12.99. I paid euros 4!!- brand new, still shrink wrapped.

    Moral of the story: keep your eyes open all year. But sadly that doesn't work for Secret Santa.
    Being polite and pleasant doesn't cost anything!
    If you found my posting helpful please hit the "Thanks" button!
    Many thanks


    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 22nd Nov 19, 8:44 PM
    • 10,529 Posts
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    Owain Moneysaver
    • #4
    • 22nd Nov 19, 8:44 PM
    • #4
    • 22nd Nov 19, 8:44 PM
    A nice Baylis & Harding gift set from a charity shop is easily less than a fiver.

    Or five items from Poundshop - pens, chocolate, santa hat, smelly, calendar/diary.
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • Sea Shell
    • By Sea Shell 22nd Nov 19, 8:52 PM
    • 3,171 Posts
    • 6,373 Thanks
    Sea Shell
    • #5
    • 22nd Nov 19, 8:52 PM
    • #5
    • 22nd Nov 19, 8:52 PM
    Reminds me why I'm so glad I left work and don't have to get involved in this office "tradition" any more!!

    The cliques tell each other who's got who, you get the naff (sometimes offensive) tat, or you get the person you don't know from Adam!
    " That pound I saved yesterday, is a pound I don't have to earn tomorrow " JOB DONE!!
    This should now read "It's time to start digging up those Squirrelled Nuts"!!!
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 23rd Nov 19, 8:23 AM
    • 24,563 Posts
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    Pollycat
    • #6
    • 23rd Nov 19, 8:23 AM
    • #6
    • 23rd Nov 19, 8:23 AM
    A nice Baylis & Harding gift set from a charity shop is easily less than a fiver.

    Or five items from Poundshop - pens, chocolate, santa hat, smelly, calendar/diary.
    Originally posted by Owain Moneysaver
    Hmmm.
    Yes.
    That's because people who received B&H gift sets as their Secret Santa gift last year donate it to the nearest charity shop as soon as they are opened after Christmas.


    And the 5 items from Poundshop are just cheap tat and a waste of 5.00.
    • Sea Shell
    • By Sea Shell 23rd Nov 19, 8:38 AM
    • 3,171 Posts
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    Sea Shell
    • #7
    • 23rd Nov 19, 8:38 AM
    • #7
    • 23rd Nov 19, 8:38 AM
    You could always just put 5 in an envelope!!!

    To be honest, I'd have appreciated that more than some of the completely pointless/useless gifts I've received over the years, which have gone straight in the bin when I got home. Not even worthy of re-gifting or donating!
    " That pound I saved yesterday, is a pound I don't have to earn tomorrow " JOB DONE!!
    This should now read "It's time to start digging up those Squirrelled Nuts"!!!
    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 23rd Nov 19, 12:28 PM
    • 10,529 Posts
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    Owain Moneysaver
    • #8
    • 23rd Nov 19, 12:28 PM
    • #8
    • 23rd Nov 19, 12:28 PM
    Hmmm.
    Yes.
    That's because people who received B&H gift sets as their Secret Santa gift last year donate it to the nearest charity shop as soon as they are opened after Christmas.
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    But that one B&H gift set has probably been re-sold for Valentine's Day, Mother's/Father's Day, and a couple of birthdays before Christmas comes round again.

    It's raised far more for charity than its original selling price.
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 23rd Nov 19, 1:16 PM
    • 24,563 Posts
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    Pollycat
    • #9
    • 23rd Nov 19, 1:16 PM
    • #9
    • 23rd Nov 19, 1:16 PM
    But that one B&H gift set has probably been re-sold for Valentine's Day, Mother's/Father's Day, and a couple of birthdays before Christmas comes round again.

    It's raised far more for charity than its original selling price.
    Originally posted by Owain Moneysaver
    I didn't think - but do correct me if I'm wrong - Secret Santa was about raising money for charity...


    Am I the only one who thinks buying cheap tat for a Secret Santa gift is wrong?
    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 23rd Nov 19, 2:31 PM
    • 10,529 Posts
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    Owain Moneysaver
    Am I the only one who thinks buying cheap tat for a Secret Santa gift is wrong?
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    What else do you get for a fiver for someone you barely know and possibly don't like?
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 23rd Nov 19, 2:38 PM
    • 24,563 Posts
    • 66,031 Thanks
    Pollycat
    What else do you get for a fiver for

    someone you barely know and possibly don't like?
    Originally posted by Owain Moneysaver
    That's my point.

    If you can't commit to buying something other than 5 items of tat from Poundland, then opt out.
    And maybe this waste of time and money will die a death.

    I'm not an anti-gift giver.
    But the gifts I buy are carefully thought about and sourced.
    Even during the season of goodwill t'wards all men (and women) I would not want to buy tat for anyone (even someone I didn't like) and would not want to receive tat - or even a half-heartedly considered gift.
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 24th Nov 19, 8:31 AM
    • 20,641 Posts
    • 34,564 Thanks
    Spendless
    Secret Santa is good is some situations and pointless in others.

    Teenage daughter has 3 close friends. Though it looks like they've now abondoned the idea, it would make sense that in this case instead of each of them buying for all 3 friends, they did secret santa just bought for one. They could even up the budget for that one friend and it would still cost less eg

    Secret Santa for one budget 15, total cost 15

    rather than buy all 3 friends something for around a tenner each , total cost 30.

    Where she is doing Secret Santa is at college with her course mates. Though she really likes them, she's only known them since September we live outside the area so she doesn't socialise with them after college. Without secret santa I don't think she'd have wanted to buy any a gift this year. They have a 5 budget, because their teacher didn't think it was fair to suggest any more.

    The usual suggestions to find cheaper gifts are the likes of Home Bargains, B & M, Wilkos and poundshops. I'm a huge fan of TKMaxx and their savings on brand name items, but a 1-5 budget in there would be a struggle. If you know someone sometimes picks up a hot drink at one of the chain coffee shops you could get a gift voucher. I've bought a 5 costa one before for my son's stocking.
    • CAFCGirl
    • By CAFCGirl 24th Nov 19, 9:10 AM
    • 8,763 Posts
    • 19,670 Thanks
    CAFCGirl
    I'm involved in 3 this year that are all through choice.
    Some people may have a really tough time at Christmas for whatever reason so I see it as a chance to spread a little bit of joy.

    I have done things this year and previous such as:
    Homemade body scrubs in hats with a nicely printed label and tag with ingredients, directions for use etc.
    Lip balms (tiny hard from wilko were 3 for 12) with melted coconut oi, smudge of Olive Oil and a drop of essential oil)
    Crocheted body puffs, face pads and channels with 100% cotton,new from charity shop.
    Loom knitted hats and fingerless mittens (yarn from places like b&m)
    Terracotta plant pots - marbled using old ice cream tub, 3\4 full of water and drops of old nail varnish. Dip plant pot in and the varnish adheres to the pot. Can then varnish with some watered down PVA glue or spray varnish
    Books found from charity shops or The Works, especially non fiction like recipe books, mindfulness, poetry dependant on recipient, fabric bookmark made with fabric scraps and sewing machine.
    Soup bowl caddies on sewing machine
    Scratchcards for just fun and you never know!
    Fluffy socks
    Pocket diaries and calendars
    Adult colouring books, set of pencils and stress toys
    DVD and some microwave popcorn if there's a film I think they'd enjoy.
    One income, home educating family life
    Fashion On The Ration Coupons 2019 46\66
    Fashion On The Ration Coupons 2020 0/66
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 24th Nov 19, 9:38 AM
    • 24,563 Posts
    • 66,031 Thanks
    Pollycat
    I'm involved in 3 this year that are all through choice.
    Some people may have a really tough time at Christmas for whatever reason so I see it as a chance to spread a little bit of joy.

    I have done things this year and previous such as:
    Homemade body scrubs in hats with a nicely printed label and tag with ingredients, directions for use etc.
    Lip balms (tiny hard from wilko were 3 for 12) with melted coconut oi, smudge of Olive Oil and a drop of essential oil)
    Crocheted body puffs, face pads and channels with 100% cotton,new from charity shop.
    Loom knitted hats and fingerless mittens (yarn from places like b&m)
    Terracotta plant pots - marbled using old ice cream tub, 3\4 full of water and drops of old nail varnish. Dip plant pot in and the varnish adheres to the pot. Can then varnish with some watered down PVA glue or spray varnish
    Books found from charity shops or The Works, especially non fiction like recipe books, mindfulness, poetry dependant on recipient, fabric bookmark made with fabric scraps and sewing machine.
    Soup bowl caddies on sewing machine
    Scratchcards for just fun and you never know!
    Fluffy socks
    Pocket diaries and calendars
    Adult colouring books, set of pencils and stress toys
    DVD and some microwave popcorn if there's a film I think they'd enjoy.
    Originally posted by CAFCGirl
    These are really thoughtful gifts - and I'm sure that they'll all be gratefully received.

    And if the recipients put the same amount of thought into buying your gifts that's great.
    Secret Santa can work.
    But 5 items from Poundland...
    • DigForVictory
    • By DigForVictory 24th Nov 19, 9:45 AM
    • 10,628 Posts
    • 38,278 Thanks
    DigForVictory
    I have a default gift of a nice mug with chocolates in.

    The budget steers where I get the chocolate & I do research the recipient's chocolate related preferences/prejudices/anti-palm-oil/type 1 diabetes etc, but the nice mugs are all charity shop finds of a reputable & recognized make, like Denby or Cath Kidson.

    I can then 'bling' it with tissue or cellophane (cadged off an Interflora florist, they always have cellophane that's gone out of requirements) or just wrap in in mysterious copier paper...
    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 24th Nov 19, 11:58 AM
    • 10,529 Posts
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    Owain Moneysaver
    But 5 items from Poundland...
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    It's better than one item from Poundland, which is what I received.
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 24th Nov 19, 12:19 PM
    • 24,563 Posts
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    Pollycat
    It's better than one item from Poundland, which is what I received.
    Originally posted by Owain Moneysaver
    That's a matter of opinion.
    Personally, I'd prefer to receive zero items from Poundland.
    1 item would be better than 5 items of tat - imho.

    I'm at a total loss why anyone would subscribe to Secret Santa with the intention of spending 1 - unless that was the spending limit put on it.
    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 24th Nov 19, 4:40 PM
    • 10,529 Posts
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    Owain Moneysaver
    This wasn't actually a Secret Santa. This was a proper gift.
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • fannyadams
    • By fannyadams 24th Nov 19, 5:21 PM
    • 1,653 Posts
    • 2,511 Thanks
    fannyadams
    For men buying for ladies, HWTHMBO has secret santa at his work. Go to Amazon (other tax paying suppliers are available and we often use 123pricecheck.com to find the thing cheaper once we know the ISBN) and put the ladies name in the search bar and look for a book with her name in the title. There's a series about fairies that has quite a number of unusual ladies names in the titles and ladies seem to like this 'thoughtful gift' (plus they are children's books so rarely break the budget of 5).
    just in case you need to know:
    HWTHMBO - He Who Thinks He Must Be Obeyed
    DS#1 - my teenaged son
    DS#2 - my other teenaged son
    Barkin Things - my two retired greyhounds
    • bhjm
    • By bhjm 24th Nov 19, 8:33 PM
    • 202 Posts
    • 79 Thanks
    bhjm
    my Team decided against secrect Santa - we set up a piggy bank and everyone who wants can contribute.
    The money will be given to a local charity.

    fixed
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