Mumsnet Secret Santa FAQs

So many of you lovely people take part in the Mumsnet Secret Santa that running it is now a pretty complex processThere's always the odd query or three - so we thought it might help to run through some of the most common questions

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

1. How do I nominate someone?

You'll find details of how to nominate someone for Secret Santa in our Secret Santa grotto.

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 support and advice they've given to others - or just their general all-round fabulosity. The only thing we specify is that your nominee has been a Mumsnetter for at least six months.

3. Can I nominate myself?

Sorry, no.

4. I want to donate. Which are the best gifts?

Vouchers are easiest for us, in terms of making matches, but really, anything goes: we've had all sorts of donations in the past, from Christmas trees, toys and hampers to regifted items and 'nice smellies'. Secondhand toys/clothes are fine, too, but they do need to be in very good nick. Please don't worry about spending lots of money: every gift, however small, is welcome.

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 offer to donate and then find that I can't?

That's totally fine. If at any time, and for whatever reason, you find yourself unable to donate, just let us know by dropping Santa an email and we'll take you off the donation list.

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

Yes! Any gift, large or small, is hugely appreciated.

Mumsnetters 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'd like to get a gift for someone specific, it's 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?

All donations are anonymous. You'll be assigned a Secret Santa codename if you donate or are nominated.

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

No. This whole process is anonymous; we obviously pass over address details to donors, but we don't 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). For more detailed information on how this part of the magic works, go to our How Secret Santa works page. 

10. How do I know if my parcel has arrived?

We've added a couple of simple buttons to the site for logged in donors/nominees labelled "I've sent" or "I've received". You'll spot them at the bottom left-hand side of any page on Mumsnet.

You can use the buttons as a donor to confirm that you've sent your gift (this will generate an automatic notification from MNHQ to your recipient to let them know that a parcel is on the way).
A 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; 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 while others may get more. Some may get one large gift; others may get a few smaller ones. It's all very 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 Secret Santa 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  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?

It's totally 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. 

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

Like this? Try these


The Secret Santa grotto


Top toys for Christmas


Christmas craft ideas


Last updated: 1 day ago