Needing ideas for Secret Santa exchange

Needing ideas for Secret Santa exchange

By Misty Fritz

The Write Team

CARLINVILLE (Oct. 26, 2017) – I’m a little bit of a winter holiday killjoy. Christmas has never been one of my favorite holidays; I imagine this is partially because it’s only four days after my birthday, which therefore sometimes gets a little lost in the holiday commotion, and partially because I’ve long been an atheist, so the religious aspect of it has never been nearly as important to me as the “spending time with loved ones” aspect, which is already covered by Thanksgiving and most other holidays. Lately, my distaste for the holiday also has something to do with how early Christmas decorations start showing up in stores — this year, they were popping up before October even rolled around, which I think is beyond ridiculous.

For me — someone who primarily celebrates Christmas because the rest of my family does, not because of my own attachment to the holiday — Christmas is basically just Thanksgiving plus presents, which has led some friends of mine to calling it Giftmas, a name I find rather apt. Shopping for presents for friends and family is pretty much my favorite part of the holiday season, especially if I can find something unusual that they’ll enjoy. White elephant gift exchanges are especially delightful.

For the last several years, I’ve been involved in at least one or two online Secret Santa exchanges with various groups of friends, acquaintances, and even strangers (such as last year, when I participated in an international exchange with other fans of a webcomic I read). With these, the participants are spread out across the country or even the world, and you get hints about your person’s preferences — such as their favorite colors, teams, fandoms, and so on — but not an itemized wishlist. The budget is usually fairly low, but still high enough to buy at least a couple items — typically $20 or $30.

Personally, I like to get a flat-rate box from the post office as soon as I find out who my person is, then start filling it up with little, inexpensive trinkets and treats I think they’d enjoy, in addition to one higher-priced item, such as a book, DVD or Funko Pop figurine. Last year, for example, in addition to a few kinds of candy, I remember including a keychain, small adult coloring book with colored pencils, fuzzy socks, and a wooden sign.

This year, I would also like to include something that is specific to Macoupin County, but I can’t decide what it should be. It needs to be available between now and the end of November, cost less than $20, fit in a medium flat-rate postal box with room to spare, and be able to travel to the west coast without getting damaged or going bad. If you have any recommendations, let me know at