Mumsnet Secret Santa FAQs

Christmas angel decorationSo many of you take part in the Mumsnet Secret Santa (you lovely people, you) that running it is now a pretty complex process <waves wodge of spreadsheets>.

But, largely due to your goodwill (and seasonal lashings of MNHQ gin), we tend to get there in the end.

There's always the odd query or three along the way, though, so we thought it would be helpful to list the questions we're most frequently asked – and their answers.

If you can't find the answer you're looking for, scroll to the bottom to find a special Christmassy contact address to mail us on. 


1. How do I nominate someone?

You need to check out the details on the official Nomination thread.

2. What if I want to nominate someone who isn't really in financial need?

That's fine. Secret Santa is partly about helping those who'd struggle to provide their family with presents this Christmas, but it's also about recognising fellow Mumsnetters for the great help and support they've given to others or their general all-round fabulosity. The only thing we specify is that, whoever you nominate, they have to have been a Mumsnetter for at least six months to qualify for nomination.

3. Can I nominate myself?

Many Mumsnetters have raised concerns over self-nomination, so we're now going to say no to this (it's only been allowed in really exceptional circumstances in the past).

4. I want to donate. What's the best gift?

You can donate vouchers or actual presents. Vouchers are easier for us, in terms of making matches, but we have had all sorts of other donations in the past: Christmas trees, hampers, regifted items, new toys, and  'nice smellies' for adults. Secondhand toys/clothes are fine, too, but do really need to be in very good nick, please. Please don't worry about spending lots of money: every gift, however small, is very welcome.

But please, if you have something particular in mind, please specify clearly the details of your donation (eg 'new toy for a four-year-old boy' or a 'bundle of clothes for a six-month-old girl, nearly new'). Or, if you want to donate and are happy to wait to find out what's needed before you donate it, please say: 'voucher (any) or toys (any)'.

5. What if I change my mind and cannot donate?

That's completely fine. At any time during the Secret Santa, if you find yourself being unable to donate, for whatever reason, just let us know by dropping us an email at and we will take you off the donation list.

6. Is a box of chocolates or a £10 gift voucher enough?

Yes it most certainly is! Any gift, large or small is very welcome indeed - and hugely appreciated.

Mners can be amazingly generous, and if you're in the happy position of being able to donate a large gift then far be it from us to stand in your way [wink] - but just as a rule of thumb, most gifts come in at around the £10 mark. And of course, smaller gifts, homemade gifts and good-quality second-hand items are enormously welcome too. Every year, we see posts from people who are overwhelmed by receiving gifts that won't have cost very much, or didn't cost anything at all. It really is the thought that counts and we'd hate for anyone to feel pressured into spending what they can't afford

7. What if I want to donate something specific to a specific Mumsnetter?

If you would like to get a gift for someone specific then it is better to arrange it with them directly. As much as we would love to facilitate all of your Christmas wishes, we simply don't have the capacity <tries not to panic>.

8. Can I donate anonymously?

Of course. As long as we know who you are, so we can contact you!

9. If I'm nominated, will people know my real-life details?

No. This whole process is anonymous; we obviously have to pass over address details to donors but we do not pass over real-life or Talk names. We do give the option to share any information that may be useful in the matching process and we pass this on to the donor. If your anonymity is important to you, you may prefer to give minimal information here (such as just the ages and sexes of your children).

10. How do I know my parcel has arrived?

We now have an option to track parcels. We've added a couple of simple buttons for logged in donors/nominees labelled "I've sent" or "I've received". They are situated at the bottom lefthand side of any page on the Mumsnet site.

This will allow a 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.
A 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.
But, unfortunately, some people may not be able to confirm that they've received or despatched a parcel. Most recipients of Secret Santa parcels do post a heartfelt thank you when their parcel arrives, but it's not compulsory. Please do bear in mind that many of those who are nominated are, sadly, going through very tough times – and, because of that, some may struggle either to get to the confirmation button or the Thank You thread.
Please don't post on the boards to ask 'where's my parcel' or 'has my parcel been received' as these posts can cause bad feeling; please contact MNHQ at and we'll look into things for you.

11. What if I'm not thanked for my gift on the MN Thank You thread?

We realise it may be disappointing not to get a thank you after being so generous. But please bask in the cockle-warming knowledge that you've contributed to Secret Santa, made someone's Christmas a bit more special – and have earned mucho respect and thanks from MNHQ.

12. Would MN ever chase a nominee to see if a parcel has been delivered?

As a rule, no. Please see note about cockle-warming-basking in Question 11.

13. Do some people get two or more gifts?

So far, we've always received more donations than nominees. How fantastic is that? So, some people may get one gift; others may get more. Some may get one large gift; others may get a few smaller ones. It's all vair complicated but we hope you trust us to work it all out as fairly as possible, given all the different and particular personal circumstances of each nominee.

14. I offered to donate but do not appear to have received my match.

The Secret Santa is an administrative challenge, so the odd blip can occur. No one has ever been missed out so far but there's always a first time! Please email us at and we'll happily sort it out.

15. Can I donate if I don't live in this country?

Yes, please! In this situation, it would be great if you could donate vouchers that can be used online. Then no one has to worry about overseas posting charges/delivery times.

16. Can I nominate somebody who does not live in this country?

Most certainly. If you make that very clear in your nomination, this will give us a heads-up to be sure to match them with someone donating online vouchers as their gift. 

17. Do I have to wrap the gifts?

S'up to you. Some people do, some don't. Some include wrapping paper and extras and others don't. Some order online. If you do wrap the gifts, please do include a note to say what is inside if the gift is for someone other than the MNetter.

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Not found the answer to your question here? Then please email us at and we'll do our very best to help.



Last updated: 2 months ago