How the Mumsnet Secret Santa works

christmas secret santa

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Please note that nominations and offers of donations have now closed for this year's Secret Santa.


From Monday 28 September to Thursday 15th October 2015 you can nominate a fellow Mumsnetter to receive a Christmas gift.

It can be anyone you like, and you can nominate for any reason; the only thing we specify is that the Mumsnetter you nominate must have been a member of the site for at least six months.

To nominate, go to the Mumsnet Secret Santa grotto.


At the same time as nominations begin coming in, we start asking for Mumsnetters to donate gifts. This part of the operation is open until Friday 6 November 2015

To find out about donating, go to the Mumsnet Secret Santa grotto.


Special Christmas codenames are assigned at the start to nominees and donors. Neither the team working on matching up nominees to donors nor the donor sending out the present will have anyone's name or username details, and only those who donate will see the address (and only the address - not the username) of the nominee with whom they've been matched. Security is our number one priority.

In case you were wondering, we erase all nominee details when Santa goes back to Lapland In the new year.

Mix and match

Nominations close on 16 October 2015, at which point Secret Santa's little helpers email all those nominated to let them know they've been picked (without saying who nominated them) and to ask if they'd like to take part. Nominees who accept are asked for various personal details:

  • their address (the crucial bit)
  • age/sex of their children (if they have them)
  • any personal info they'd be happy to share with us and their donor to help us in the matching process

On 30 October 2015 we stop accepting offers of presents and begin matching the offers with the nominees.

Sending presents out

Donors are emailed with their nominee's Secret Santa codename. The email also contains any information that the nominee was happy to share about themselves and/or their family. 

Donors will be directed to the Secret Santa grotto where, by the power of Greyskull (or something more technical than that) they'll be able to print out a personalised label featuring their matched nominee's Secret Santa codename and address to send out their gift.



Once all the emails to donors have been sent, a Thank You thread is started.

Those who have received gifts can post on this thread using their Secret Santa codename to identify themselves and say thank you to their donator for their gift.

This is the bit that makes most of us cry.

That said, it's worth knowing that it's not compulsory for recipients to post their thanks. Many of those who are nominated are, sadly, going through tough times - and, because of that, some may struggle either to get to the Thank You thread or to find the words to express their thanks.


Tracking parcels

If you're a logged-in donor/nominee you'll see a button popping up at the bottom left-hand side of any page when you visit Mumsnet. You'll see either "I've sent" or "I've received".

This will allow an MN donor to confirm their gift has been sent, and generate an automatic notification from MNHQ to their nominee that a parcel is on the way.
An MN nominee can then use the button to mark their gift as received and their donor will get an automatic email from MNHQ confirming their parcel has arrived.
There will still be an opportunity for the nominee to visit the Secret Santa Thank You thread to post their appreciation, but we hope this facility will remove some of the anxiety MNers have felt about the whereabouts of their parcels.
But please don't post on the boards to ask 'where's my parcel' or 'has my parcel been received', because these posts can cause bad feeling. Please contact MNHQ at and we'll look into things for you.

Like this? Try these: 

The Secret Santa grotto

Christmas 2015's top toys

Christmas craft ideas


Last updated: 11 months ago