A Few Mail-Friendly Christmas Gifts

It’s time for: Secret Santa: Revealed. That makes me laugh because I imagine some man with a deep serious voice introducing a show with that name after Dateline or something. Anyway, since a bunch of you have asked for the Secret Santa dirt (and I couldn’t wait to spill who I had and to learn who had me!) here it is:

I had… (drumroll? anyone? can I at least some table slapping or something?)… House Of Smiths! It was so much fun to pack up two little surprise care packages for her. The first one included two decorative frames from Michael’s that I personalized with some paint in the name of some Christmas cheer (they were both originally dark brown).

I thought the red and the green combo was cheerful and fun for a Christmas gift, so the round one got a few thin coats of the glossy red spray paint that I also used to paint my paper maché reindeer and the rectangular one had such a cool wood grain (it kind of looked zebra-ish to me) that I painted it glossy white and dragged a dry brush with some lime green paint over it to catch just the raised part of the grain, while the sides remain white (then I sealed it with some spray poly). When I was at Michael’s I also grabbed a little ceramic container that I doodled on with a few permanent sharpie markers and filled with toffee. Mmmm. I heard it was devoured pretty quickly over there too! So glad.

It was amazing to me how many commenters guessed that I had House Of Smiths right away (how’d you guys know!). My second little holiday care package was more of a clue, I think. I went with a paint theme. Haha. See… that’s a clue. I couldn’t resist these sweet tiny paint can containers in the food aisle of Michael’s so I decided to fill them to the brim with red and green M&Ms and write a little holiday message on a paint stick.

I even used paint chips from my weird leftover paint chip bin (yes I have one of those) to cut out little homemade “tree” tags for the top of each can. And in went another little dish of goodies (this time I went with the famed cookies from Ukrops – they’re the best!). Any yes, my scissors do say “no John cuts!” in Sharpie. He kept using my good scissors to do things like cut sticky tape. Now he’s banned.

So that’s what I gave my sweet bloggy buddy, Shelley. Is it weird that I had so much fun putting these little things together? Oh Christmas, I miss ya already.

As for who had me, it was Tanya at Save The Date For Cupcakes! I was completely surprised by the way (not just saying that – I honestly had no idea). I actually had a hunch it was someone else but the postmark on the package shot that down – and being that it just said NY it was vague enough to confuse me enough to keep the mystery going until the big ok-who-had-who email where we all spilled the beans.

I already shared my first surprise here (a gorgeous little silver box with three glittery personalized ornaments):

And my second surprise was just as sweet! A box of vintage Vanity Fair postcards with another pretty glittery ornament for the tree (feathery wings)! It’s so much fun to flip through my new postcard collection – and I actually think I have a great project that I can do with them so I can’t wait to see where that leads! You know I’ll keep you posted.

A big thanks to Mrs. Limestone for organizing this whole shebang and all the other Secret Santa cohorts like:

So much fun! Did any of you do any Secret Santa business this year? Did you know who had you the whole time or were you surprised? And how the heck did so many of you know that I had Shelley the second she revealed my frames? I thought it was so obscure and random that no one would know it was me! Haha.

Psst- Check out John’s weird little lighting obsession (and imagine what he’d look like in a Snuggie) here.


  1. says

    I actually have a deep rooted fear/hatred of Secret Santas from a bad experience in HS (how funny is that???), but this one looked like so much fun! And your postcards are gorgeous – I cant wait to see what you do with them!

  2. Gina says

    Ukrops….yum!! We lived in Richmond for several years while my husband did his residency there at MCV and their bakery was visited quite often!!
    Your gifts were great. Love that lime green frame especially!

  3. Becca says

    I do secret santa through one of the dog forums I’m on! I had no clue who had me until the moderator was updating everyone who hadn’t received their packages – she told me mine was coming a loooong way. Turns out, it was from Australia! I live in Syracuse NY :)

    The girl I ended up getting was a perfect match – not only were we the same age, one of each of our dogs shared a birthday, AND she was a HUGE Syracuse University basketball fan! Made sure to send along some SU goodies complete with doggy bandannas :) Oh and she lives in Florida and I also used to live in Florida!

    It’s funny, every time I do SS I end up having some crazy connection to my recipient.

  4. Jyl says

    This comment is completely unrelated to this post, I’m sorry.

    Perhaps you’ve seen that “Post the video of the #1 song during the week you were born” trend on Facebook. Well, my video was by Men At Work. And I realized something. John Petersik you look like a more attractive version (I say in a happily married way, Sorry Sherry!) of young Colin Hay! Check out Men At Work’s “Who Can it Be Now” video (Skip to 1:05 to see what I mean)


    Do you see it!?

    • says

      OH MY GOSH TOTALLY!!! I called over to John to watch it with me and seeing his face come towards me while this was playing was like watching him and his older twin. Now I know what he’ll look like in a decade or so. Cute! I’m down. He totally even makes the same dorky faces. Thankfully he doesn’t wear striped socks with no pants like that though…


  5. says

    We do SSanta at work and it’s our fave. I didn’t know who had me, but the person I had guessed me right away. I figured she would, and knew the presents I gave her would give my identity away, but I still wanted to give her those gifts. FUN!

  6. Nora says

    My mom has kitchen scissors I’m not allowed to touch anymore. She didn’t write on them, but I feel like there’s a sign above them that says. “No, Nora, no. Hands off.”

  7. Sara says

    I must have missed the first post about what you were giving to your Secret Santa, but I just wanted to say, I never, ever, ever, thought about spray painting a Michael’s frame. I need to open my mind a bit, because they have awesome frames, but they are mostly all BROWN! Great idea!

  8. Jen says

    What a fun idea to do a Blog World Secret Santa! Looks like you guys had a great time doing it, too.

    A quick suggestion on sticky scissors, btw. There’s a product you can get at Walmart and Dollar Stores called Goo Gone (I bet you could get it other places, too. Those are just where I know I’ve seen it before). It works like magic on sticky things! Just scrub the scissors until the sticky is all gone then soap them down and you’ll save your favorite pairs!

    Happy New Year!

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