The Mumsnet Secret Santa: a potted history

What's the Mumsnet Secret Santa all about - and how did it start?

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

Way back in 2006, a Mumsnetter called soapbox started a thread. She said:

"I'm distressed reading about those of you who are worried sick about Christmas and having no money to buy things for your children. Rather than sit on my ample backside and do nothing, I have the following proposal: those of you who have old toys/gifts which are in good condition, or who are willing to buy a new gift for a child, can register your contributions with me. Those of you who are down on your uppers, can send me your details... [Donors] will be matched up with those people who would like a bit of a hand with Christmas. Good idea or not?"

"Great idea!" was the loud reply - and so the Mumsnet Secret Santa was born.

A few weeks (and 1,500 emails later) a worn-out soapbox (now renamed Soapythelistmaker) finished matching up donors with recipients, and the first parcels were despatched.

As the parcels arrived and were opened, it was clear, from the posts on the Thank You thread, what a wonderful outpouring of generosity there'd been. 

The following Christmases, Mumsnetters littlelapin, SaintGeorge and NormaStanleyFletcher respectively took on the mammoth task of running the ever-growing appeal, matching up hundreds of donors and recipients, and organising the mass posting of presents.

After four years of this super-generous spreadsheet lunacy, MNHQ realised the appeal had grown so huge that it was too much for one woman with one modem to coordinate. So we moved the organisational/spreadsheety bits and pieces inhouse and we've been doing it from MN Towers ever since.

Secret Santa continues to grow every year - and continues to add something extra special to every Mumsnetter's Christmas. Thanks to all of you who've taken part - but extra special thanks to soapbox for starting such a wonderful thing in the first place.

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Last updated: 8 months ago