Friday, 7 December 2012

The Secret Santa Competition


Christmas tree, Christmas catHow can I possibly NOT write about #MSMSecretSanta challenge? I mean, Frugaldom is taking part in the challenge! It has been so difficult trying not to talk, post or blog about anything that could possibly give away any of the secrets!

So here goes with the first of a couple of posts for today, as this is the day I finally get to put my Secret Santa gift together to send it out to my allocated 'partner' in all of this, Frugal Queen in Cornwall.

I guess the first thing you have to think about when exchanging gifts with a stranger is, let's try to get to know a bit about the other person. So, I went back to the start of her frugal journey to get up to speed on the Cornish frugal situation and then tried to put myself into that self-same situation, wondering what I would really like from a Secret Santa. £25 is a fairly hefty budget in any frugaler's eyes, so this was going to be like a major gift of indulgence and luxury.

There are so many things one could do with £25. For a start, it's more than my entire weekly grocery budget, so careful planning had to go into even the minutest detail. There couldn't be waste. Posting the gift means packaging it and sending it off by courier. Mine hasn't been collected from here yet, but Frugal Queen's has already arrived - and I love it! Thank you! It really ws like Christmas here yesterday! (Can't say what it is until next week.)

[At this point I should explain that we live in a fairly rural location, I have no car and the nearest post office is a 7 mile round trip on foot. There is no pavement or footpath once you get to the main 'A' road, and it's bitterly cold & slippery. Walking to the post office with the secret santa gift isn't an option, so mine is being couriered. It also means we are at the mercy of the van drivers, if they have sufficient time to reach us before evening then they will, but it may end up being Monday collection for Tuesday delivery. We can't really get guaranteed overnight delivery here.]

Back to the present (another pun)!
Packaging - minimal waste, so it's recycled in a very frugal way. Having been fortunate enough to have already received my parcel from Cornwall, I am doing a cheeky return, popping my gift to 'Froogs' in the packaging that arrived here, from there. The actual gift itself is inside the posh, reuseable chocolate box that I requesitioned, complete with these beautiful ribbons! (Sacrilege to even consider binning such a box!) I think we're allowed to show the parcels, just not divulge what's inside!

"But what's in the parcel?"

Well, we actually called a meeting about this in Frugaldom, because where I live isn't exactly known for its abundance of shops. We have two small grocery stores and a post office down in the village; that is it, as far as general shopping goes! (NOte to readers, I like it this way as the less I spend, the more I can afford.)

Frugaldom isn't on a bus route, so jumping on a bus and travelling the 20 miles or so into Stranraer or Newton Stewart, our nearest shopping towns, isn't a quick option, either. For starters, it's a mile walk to the main road to flag down the bus - hoping that it sees you and stops.

But we frugaling types from small communities do have a feather in our caps when it comes to gift buying and shopping locally... We have craft fayres and exhibitions, plus an abundance of very talented people!

So, my frugal gift from southwest Scotland to southwest England is not only a Secret Santa gift that I think Frugal Queen will absolutely adore, it is also what I consider to be a true represetation of the spirit of Galloway, and Scotland on the whole. (Minus the whisky made by our local distillery at Bladnoch, sorry.) The gift represents friendship and wanting to share the best of what we have to offer. This is a very user-friendly, non-alcoholic (sorry, again), luxury gift that will last all year round. It will be absolutely unique, in that it's not something you can buy in any mainstream store, and it will be absolutely frugal, in that there should be no waste - even the packaging is reuseable.

We all like to be able to keep warm through winter and cool through summer. When they talk about '50 Shades of Grey', I see life as fairly black and white, just like right and wrong, rich and poor or, even, trial and error. We all like to feel good about something and indulge ourselves now and again with a little luxury, we need a bit of fun in life to keep us smiling and, I guess most importantly, we need to be able to appreciate what we see, even if we sometimes forget to look for the littler things. As one frugal blogging lady (you know who you are) once said,
"Every time I look out of this window and see the trees, the park and the houses on the hillside, I spend just a moment being very grateful for what I have."
To 'Froogs',

I hope I have managed to find something to make you feel good and that you'll love your Secret Santa parcel as much as I loved putting it all together. Many thanks for being such a great partnering blogger in all of this and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas early, when this parcel arrives on your doorstep.

Best wishes from the other 'Froogs'

And finally, many thanks to for putting this fabulous challenge together and inviting me to become a part of it.



  1. I am utterly delighted that you like your present

    1. It really was like Christmas arriving early - a secret santa and a lovebomb! What more could a frugaler want? :) Your parcel is still sitting here awaiting collection - downside of rural living - but I'm sure he'll drop in to collect it between tonight and Monday, it's very much a case of 'when they're passing'. :) It's booked in with Hernes, via on their economy parcel service. Got the tracking number, so I'll let you know as soon as it's on its way. :)

    2. Update - courier company just collected on behalf of Hermes. :)

  2. can't wait to see what you got one another!!

  3. Gill, I shall be blogging about what I received in my secret santa gift on Monday, but Frugal Queen will have to wait a few more days, as hers probably won't arrive until mid week. (I used economy parcel delivery.)

  4. All exciting stuff, I can't wait to see what the contents of your parcels to each other are.

    I can't think of two people better matched to be each others 'secret santas'.

    Sue xx


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