Secret Pal Ideas from Author Chelly Wood

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

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!

Leave a comment »

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.

Leave a comment »

#Patterns and Tutorials for #Hanukkah #Crafts

Image of many chanukah objects including a dreidel, six-pointed star, menorah, etc.

Image: iClipart

I realize this is a “Secret Santa” website, but some families celebrate both Hanukkah (sometimes spelled Chanukah) and Christmas. So why not include a little list of ideas for Hanukkah crafts and gifts?

Here are some links to other websites I’ve found that offer tutorials, patterns, and ideas for Hanukkah gifts:

For anyone who doesn’t know, the first day of Hanukkah is December 17 this year (2014). The last day of Hanukkah is December 24.

Leave a comment »

#Patterns and Ideas for #Felt #ChristmasOrnaments to Sew

Image of 15 different Christmas ornament shapes

Image: iClipart

You don’t really have to know how to sew to create simple Christmas ornaments out of felt. A lot of times glue works just as well as stitches to hold it all together. And let’s face it, felt is an inexpensive and easy-to-find textile to work with. You can buy felt at WalMart, JoAnn’s Fabrics, Michael’s, and even some grocery stores.

Here are links to some of the cutest, most easy-to-make felt ornaments I’ve found on Pinterest:

And here’s a link to my Pinterest DIY/Crafts page, where you can download patterns to print for making various Christmas ornaments.

These make great gift toppers, but they can also be wonderful gifts on their own.


Leave a comment »