Spreading Christmas cheer with Secret Santa 2017

10 minutes to read
Thank you Secret Santa - header

The annual Key Portfolio Secret Santa arrived this past December and our employees got involved by sending some genuinely thoughtful and lovely gifts to one another.

Participants were matched with each other randomly, bought or made an anonymous gift to send to their recipient and received one in return. The gift exchange was a great way to spread some Christmas cheer and help build connections amongst contractors who may not usually get the chance to take part in workplace traditions like this.

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Some examples of Secret Santa gifts received by employees

One participant, Mary, said that ‘I missed being part of the department Secret Santa so it was fun to do this’. Others agreed, with Dave adding that it was ‘good fun and nice to have colleagues to do Secret Santa with’ and Judy admitting ‘when you work as a supply teacher you miss out on these sort of events in school’.

Lucy, another participant, also let us know she’s signing up next year as ‘it’s a lovely idea and yes, I did feel left out of all the Christmas celebrations in the school that I was working in so this idea made me feel noticed and remembered which was ace’.

It was hard to choose, but here are some of our favourite gifts this year:

Rebecca's Collage

  • A supply teacher who loves scented candles and motivational notebooks received gifts that ‘couldn’t have been more perfect and thoughtful – it was the perfect present.’ ‘I’m now all prepared with my new notebook to keep me motivated throughout the year and my room smells divine with the gorgeous scented waxes.’ Rebecca

Joe Collage

  • An autism special needs support worker let his Santa know that he would love some ‘toys and activities for the kids, anything fun that maybe lights up.’ After receiving an LED light up box with letter and numbers, he sent us photos of this being used in his department and said that the ‘gift was perfect…I’d like something to go in our department so I’m going to give it to them so everyone can love it as much as I do!’ ‘Thanks again!’ – Joe

Judy Collage 2

  • As someone who enjoys crafts, ‘especially those that involve fabrics or wool’, one participant was delighted to receive a macrame kit (which they used to start a new project), socks, chocolate and lucky stone pendant that their Santa made especially for them. ‘The socks have been worn and a mat started with the macrame kit, a craft I haven’t done since the 1970’s!’ ‘Thank you very much Secret Santa’ – Judy

Botanical watercolour painting gift

  • One participant was given a ‘ beautiful botanical watercolour textbook and a pad of watercolour paper’ after letting them know she had recently started a painting course. ‘It was the most useful gift I received this Xmas and very much appreciated.’ – Steph

We think that two participants, in particular, highlighted the spirit of the gift exchange. Rachael let us know that she’ll be back again next year as ‘it is a wonderful idea and so exciting. Really brings back the magic of Christmas, just like a present from the real Santa.’ Glory agreed, adding that ‘it was great. Even though we’ve not met it felt like receiving a gift from a friend.’

We’ve collated thank-you notes from those who took part and have published all that we’ve received so far. You can look through these below (use the arrows to scroll):

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Thanks so much for the really thoughtful present of a botanical watercolour guidebook and a book of specialist paper so I can start painting straight away. Very gratefully received.


Dear secret Santa, thank you so much for my slippers, I love them and they’re lovely and warm. Also very very comfy like my feet are having a hug!


Thank you so much for an incredibly thoughtful and amazing present. It is really touching to know that someone I don’t know has taken the time to think about what would make a stranger happy. I made the coffee Christmas morning and it was so so lovely. Me and my husband finished the first bag by boxing day. The book is definitely my next read for the rest of Christmas week.

Rachael received two packs of gingerbread coffee and a book

Thank you, Secret Santa! The gifts were awesome and the children will love those stickers. I definitely will make good use of those postit and reminder notes too!!


Thank you so much for the very thoughtful and very Me gifts. I’m not one for the cinema but love a good book so Hidden Numbers was an ideal book. The chocolates made me smile too – I love any chocolate with nuts in it, how did you know?


Thank you so much for my Secret Santa present. It was a lovely thought and you read what I was interested in. I didn’t take part in the Secret Santa present swapping at the school I was at as I didn’t feel part of the team so your gift was very sweet. Thank you again.

Lucy received a scarf and some chocolate

Your book was a perfect gift choice for me! Thank you for your thoughtfulness. I shall indeed put my feet up and enjoy reading it. It’s a lovely thing to do! Nice to feel connected to someone else when you are not part of an established workplace.


Thank you Secret Santa for my gift. The hat came in very handy for the cold snap we’re experiencing at the moment. The shortbread biscuits, 🍪 are a favourite with my family, I’ve had to hide a few for myself.


Thank you very much for my silver and purple flower necklace, it is very pretty and so very me. Such a good choice! I will wear the necklace with my favourite dress and on special occasions. Thank you again.


My Secret Santa gift was perfect for me. The gift was well thought out and delivered in an amazing bag.

Emma was very happy to receive a quilling set

Thank you for my Radley bag. I absolutely love it! I was thrilled when I opened up such a great Secret Santa gift on Christmas morning. Smile was on the box and I certainly did.


I loved my present. Thank you so much. I wore the socks on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the day after that! What a lovely idea. It really made me feel part of something. Thank you x

Lucy who received socks, bubble bath and earrings

This is Joe, the autism provision person who likes films, cooking and anything weird. I know I said (if I remember correctly, might not have done in which case you’re an amazing gift getter) that I like films so this gift is perfect! I also definitely said I’d like something to go in our department so I’m going to give it to them so everyone can love it as much as I do! Thanks again! Xx

Joe loved his LED light up box

A very thoughtful present…golf-themed mug and miniature golf club (my favourite sport). Not sure how well I’ll be able to strike the 20cm-long Wood, but I’ll give it a go!


Thank you very much Secret Santa. I really appreciated the gift especially the lucky keyring as my Secret Santa added these were considered lucky in her family and had been made for me. The socks have been worn and a mat started with the macrame kit, a craft I haven’t done since the 1970’s(!) and am enjoying revisiting and learning again.


A huge thank you to whoever was my Secret Santa!!! My gift couldn’t have been more perfect and thoughtful – it was the perfect present. I’m now all prepared with my new notebook to keep me motivated throughout the year and my room smells divine with the gorgeous scented waxes. Thank you again!


Dear Santa, thank you very much for my lovely presents, they arrived well in time and were waiting under the Christmas tree. And once opened they were exactly what the doctor ordered after a very busy time – nothing better than treating yourself to some R&R. Thank you very much x

Uta enjoyed her biscuits, perfume, hand cream and face cream

Thanks, I love it! It’s really thoughtful and will be really useful, Sam x

Sam enjoyed her overnight oats and lip balm

Thank u for my cows colouring book and wool. Very pleased to receive them all the way from Wales and got them just before Xmas so good timing


Thank you for my lovely gifts, they were really thoughtful.

Michelle was pleased to receive some beauty products

Thank you for the beautiful perfume. It was really lovely and thoughtful. It smelt amazing.


I would like to say a big thankyou to my Secret Santa, the gift was lovely thankyou And just what I like Best wishes from Heidi x

Heidi enjoyed her body wash and lotion set and box of Swiss assorted chocolates

Thank you my secret santa for the gift 🎁 . I really appreciate it.

Olu was pleased to receive some chocolate and apron and a cooking notebook

Thank you so much for my lovely gifts. The candle smells amazing! I hope you had a lovely Christmas and a happy new year!


Thank you for the Lake District walks book-will definitely be used next time we visit! Meanwhile I am enjoying the photographs.


To my secret Santa and everyone else. I hope you had a lovely Christmas and a happy new year. Thank you very much for my gift. I really enjoy using my body shop bubbles when I have time to relax. Thank you. Rosemary.x


Very thoughtful gift, made me smile thank you very much.

Rachael was happy to receive a pamper kit from her Santa

Thank you for my Secret Santa gift, I especially liked my tie. Just to my taste!

Ken was delighted to receive a Christmas tie and Belgian chocolate shells

The present was perfect and so me. Was more thoughtful than from people who know me well!

Ann-Marie loved her organic body wash and bubble bath

A big thank you, I will have a nice relax with my tea and some biscuits. Chilled. Once finished the pot will come in very handy for maybe a pencil pot or the such. Thank you.

Simon received a lovely decorated pot with tea inside

Thank you for the puzzle, this will force me to sit down and relax – something which I’m not good at.

Tim received a jigsaw puzzle

Such a thoughtful gift! Thank you.

Sonnuia loved her white fluffy snood

Thank you to my Secret Santa. I appreciate the Debenhams gift card, that was so thoughtful and the message in the card.


Thank you for taking the time to wrap it so beautifully and for the thoughtful gift.

Ricky was happy with his chocolates and new racket grip

Thank you!! It was just perfect! Can’t wait to start my book as soon as I finish the one I’m reading.

Leanne loved her puzzle, energy gels and her book

Thanks it was lovely to receive the mug and hot chocolate mix.


Thank you. I loved the gift and the note. The note was very thoughtful. I really liked the handmade earrings and eating the biscuits.


Thank you.

Zoë received a chalk strip organiser

Thank you Toyin for my lovely gifts!

Amy loved her two notebooks, bath bomb and quirky ‘shy’ hedgehog’, which really made her day

Thank you to my Secret Santa. Love my gift a pretty key charm with my name on (Susan), and a bookmark. Thank you for my gifts, I love them!


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Don’t worry if you haven’t had time to send a thank-you note yet. You can complete one now by completing our feedback form.