If I don't get started on Christmas soon, it's going to pass me by this year. Thinking about it while driving to and from a meeting today, I was remembering the Secret Santa events I've been involved in in the past, either organising or just taking part. I do recall them being great fun with lots of merriment.
Do you like my picture? It is a Santa in one of the windows of Selfridges in London's Oxford Street, taken when I was there in December 2008.
When I was teaching adult literacy I always had a hotch potch of learners that included some from very disadvantaged families. For the last class before the holiday, I always arranged a little Christmas party with fruit juice and bucks fizz, snacks and crackers with paper hats. During this, we'd hold our Secret Santa, with me putting in extra little presents myself on the quiet for those who couldn't afford to contribute.
If I remember rightly, we set a limit of £4 for each of the Secret Santa gifts, and in those days that was sufficient to get some cute little things to wrap up. And of course the point of a Secret Santa is that noone else knows what you buy, and you don't know who bought the gift you get. We jumbled them all into a sack and each person put in an arm and felt around, pulling out one present to unwrap and take home. You could usually tell which one you had contributed from the feel of them, so that you wouldn't pick your own.
Money doesn't go as far these days, but you can still find inexpensive Secret Santa gifts to raise a laugh. You can even order them without braving the winter weather for your shopping. You just need to go online and view the sometimes somewhat risqué suggestions for men and women, or the less suggestive but sometimes a little rude ones for boys and girls.
I feel like getting a Secret Santa group together again this year. We all need a bit of light relief at the moment.