Secret Pal Ideas from Author Chelly Wood

Need an idea for your secret pal's next gift? Here you go!

#Dinosaur DIY masks make a great gift for your favorite #science #teacher! @TetraVariations

Image of man wearing 3-dimensional mask of a Tyrannosaurus Rex made entirely of paper

T-rex mask is $7.50, which is very reasonable, but some masks are even less expensive!

If your secret pal or secret Santa buddy happens to teach science, boy are you in luck! While browsing Etsy, I ran across Tetra Variations, a shop where you can purchase a DIY origami-like mask that comes in a number of different dinosaur designs. When I saw this product, I immediately thought of the science teachers I work with. I’m sure you’re doing the same: thinking of the person you know who would walk around school all day wearing one of these dinosaudorable masks!

If you want to see what else Tetra Variations offers, visit the creator’s website. In addition to the dinosaur masks, the company also offers a Cleopatra headdress, a Trojan helmet, hand puppets, and more–all made with scissors, glue (or tape), and paper. They’re DIY kits. What an amazing gift for your secret pal!

Before posting this article, I contacted Matthew, who runs Tetra Variations, and found he was a school teacher, like you and me, who has founded a fun side-business, creating these wonderful masks. He maintains a Tumblr account in addition to his website and Etsy store. He was super friendly and professional to chat with.

So why not jump on the Jurassic bandwagon? Grab up your T-Rex or Pterodactyl mask and flaunt it proudly. We can’t have just the science teacher wearing these! How silly would that be? Heck, buy one for every member of your staff to wear on International Archaeology Day (October 17). Can you just imagine how much fun the kids and the teachers at your school will have, with everyone wearing a dinosaur mask for an event like that?

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Magnetic Clothes Pin Clips Make an Easy DIY #SecretPal #Gift @ #edchat

Image of flat wooden Christmas tree cut-outs glued to clothespins to form a clamp

Image: iClipart

Clothes pins are an inexpensive thing to buy at your local five and dime (or dollar store), and they’re so easy to decorate. Attach a piece of magnetic strip to one side, and you’ve got a decorative refrigerator magnet that holds paper notes and reminders.

What does your Secret Pal really love? Golf? Horses? Hershey’s Kisses? Slap a little paint on a clothespin and attach photographic images, clipart images, or three-dimensional representations of whatever your Secret Pal collects to the side of the clothespins opposite the magnet. Voila! It’s a clever little creation you can make in no time at all.

Here’s a list of objects you could use to decorate your magnetic clothes pins:


  • ribbons, buttons, and lace (for someone who sews)
  • pages from a book cut into shapes (for a librarian)
  • paint the clothespin like camouflage and attach a plastic green army guy toy (for veterans or National Guards)
  • stickers representing a person’s alma mater
  • doll-sized kitchen utensils (for someone who loves to cook)
  • colorful Washi Tape for a generic gift
  • silk flowers or fake plants (for a gardener or florist)
  • felt stuffed animals (for a veterinarian or daycare provider)

Didn’t find what you wanted in that list? Try looking in the scrapbooking section of your local craft store for small paper objects that can easily be attached to the clothespins. Your dollar store may also have some miniature goodies in the birthday decorations section, as well as the toys.

It’s also nice if you attach the clothespins to a cute little poem:

To your fridge

Attach this pin

Open its jaw

To stick messages in

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Cinco de Mayo Gift Ideas for Your Secret Pal

You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day, and you don’t have to be Mexican to enjoy Cinco de Mayo. There are lots of great gift ideas online for Cinco de Mayo, but here are half a dozen for you to consider, when planning a gift for your secret pal or office buddy:

Uno cards

Bean dip and a bag o’chips

Home-made salsa

Sombrero cupcakes

Sombrero cookies

Piñata cookies

A piñata pyramid (easy to construct)

Tiny traditional piñatas

Piñata cacti made from TP rolls

A mariachi band made from TP rolls and stuffed with goodies


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Administrative Professional Day #Gift Ideas

Vector image of a house key

Image: iClipart

#Administration #Secretary

What do you give your Administrative Professional (i.e. secretary) on Administrative Professional Day? It needs to be clever, eye-catching, and it should demonstrate how much you appreciate your secretary’s hard work.

A DIY gift is always nice. Why not use “You’re the key to our success” as your theme?

Include a poem:

To our success

You are the key

We’d be locked out

If it weren’t for thee

Your golden wisdom

Turns things around

You can handle

Every problem found

Happy Administrative Professionals Day!

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St. Patrick’s Day Poem for Secret Pals

Image of several cubical-shaped bottles of nail polish

Image: iClipart

Here’s a great gift idea for a secret pal who is female: offer her green and pink nail polish, package it in a clever way, and attach this little St. Patrick’s Day poem:

Here’s some polish

In green and rose

To paint your fingers

And decorate your toes

Your nails they glitters

Your nails they glows

When you file them often

Your beauty shows

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Valentine’s Day Poems for Secret Pals

Image of black dog inside a heart-shaped gift box with a parachute attached

Image: iClipart

It’s funny… I googled the heading for this post, and guess what came up… my own blog! I guess the universe is telling me to avoid cheating and write my own damned poem.

So here’s a Valentine’s Day poem for your secret pal:


A paper heart

Framed in lace

Chocolate candy

And a happy face

A big, red ribbon

A card for you

Your secret pal

Works at this zoo too

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#GroundhogDay #GiftBasket for your #SecretPal

Groundhog in top hat, dancing

Image: iClipart

February 2nd is Groundhog Day in the US, which I realize is a month away. But secret pals must plan ahead…

Very rarely do we give gifts for Groundhog Day, but what a fun observance to celebrate with your Secret Pal! And there are lots of ways to put together a quick gift basket. Just check out these possibilities:

Heck, pile a bunch of these things together in one big basket, tie it up with a ribbon, and you’ve got a Groundhog Day gift basket that even Punxsutawney Phil can’t resist!

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Merry Christmas to All You #SecretSantas Out There!

Xmas tree words_composition. Vintage styled illustration, EPS10.I always get lots of followers on my Secret Pal Teachers website during the holidays, but once Secret Santa season is over, my stats go down quite a bit. So as has been my habit in the past, I’ll only be posting once a month after the holiday season comes to a close. That way my faithful Secret Santa followers aren’t inundated with unwanted e-mails from their subscriptions to my blog.

No need to unsubscribe. I’ll keep posts fairly limited until next Christmas. Then, when your office or school starts another Secret Santa program next year, you’ll still be able to easily find this blog and all its great seasonal ideas.

Meanwhile, if you like to sew, my website offers great sewing tutorials. If you teach English or love to write, my English Emporium website offers free writerly tips and English-teacher worksheets. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to check out those venues. You can google my name, Chelly Wood, to find all the great stuff I offer for free online.

For those of you who do year-long “Secret Pal” gift exchanges at your office, this website will continue to offer you great gift ideas once a month. And of course, you can always search my archives for gifts, cards, poems, and more.

Here’s wishing everyone a merry Christmas and a happy 2015!

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Anyone up for a game? Here’s my “How to Reveal Your #SecretSanta #Game”!

It’s December 18, and a lot of office parties and Secret Santa groups are going to be ready to reveal their Secret Santas. So I thought I’d post my Secret Santa game for all to see and share.

As part of the party, have everyone bring a couple of old Christmas cards. Provide everyone with tape and scissors. Then have them make the following “Christmas Card box”:

Create a gift box from my easy pattern and your old Christmas cards!

What’s needed? Two Christmas cards, scissors, and tape… That’s all!

Next, have everyone put three hints about themselves on strips of paper and slip these inside an envelope with their name on the outside of the envelope. The hints should be things we might not know about each other. For example, one person might be able to say: a.) I’ve never flown in an airplane, b.) I’m allergic to kiwi fruit, and c.) for Halloween this year, I dressed up as a witch.

Make sure the envelope is very small — small enough to fit inside the box. Here’s a link to various envelope templates you can use (that template link is found on

Next, have the Secret Santa reveal party’s host take all the card boxes and envelopes into a separate room to put together the game. You’ll need to know which Secret Santa was assigned to whom, so bring your sign-up paperwork with you. Meanwhile your co-host can entertain everyone with another game while you prepare the reveal game.

Here’s what you do:

1.) Choose a random card box. (Not necessarily the one made by the person’s Secret Santa.) It needs to be random to avoid having the players guess their Secret Santas based on who brought which cards.

2.) Pick up an envelope and make a mental note (or sticky note) of the name on the outside of the envelope. Pull the hints out of the envelope and place the envelope name-side-down inside the card box. Tape the envelope in the box so the name cannot be seen.

3.) On top of the taped envelope, place the strips of paper which list the hints given by this Secret Santa. Set the lid back on top of the box.

4.) Look through your sign-up sheets to see who that person’s partner was, and write the partner’s name on the outside of the box.

5.) Complete steps 1-4 for each player. Return to the party and give each player the card box with his/her name on the outside.

6.) Players take turns opening their card box, reading the strips of paper, and guessing who their Secret Santa might be. Do not allow anyone to look at the name on the other side of their envelope until everybody has made a guess.

7.) Simultaneously, every player lifts the envelope from the bottom of their card box to see who their Secret Santa was.

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