TOP SECRET SANTA GIFTS

For those of you who have participated in Secret Santa, White Elephant or Dirty Santa in the past, you know how fun they can be! For those of you who haven’t, below is a little explanation of both games. They are a fun, alternative way to do a gift exchange with family and/or coworkers. My family has done both in years past and loved every minute of it.

Dirty Santa

Dirty Santa is a family-friendly gift exchange game that has been a staple of holiday traditions for many years. The phrase was coined in the Southern states and is called “dirty” because the game involves “stealing” more desirable gifts while scheming to avoid the gag gifts that nobody wants. Rules vary depending on who you are playing with, but the general gist is the same. Each person begins with drawing a number. From there, the person with number one starts by opening a gift. The second person can either steal that gift or open one from the pile. My family has always allowed the #1 player to be the last one the to swap and/or steal after the last person has gone.

Secret Santa

Secret Santa is a game often used for office staffs or as a game for bigger families. Depending on your budget, I have listed gift ideas below that around $20! Good luck shopping and remember to have fun with it. Be intentional with your gifts, but remember not to break the bank.

☆ Wine Tumbler

For those wine connoisseurs in your life, a tumbler paired with a bottle of wine will a sight after gift. Personally, I would go down fighting for this gift if this was in the running for Dirty Santa. You can’t go wrong with a red or white wine, or you could go more bold with a rose. You could also fill the tumbler with some chocolates and you’ve just put out the best gift in the game. Preppy Pineapple Shop has customizable tumblers that are durable and also come with a straw.

☆ Blue Light Glasses

Know anybody that is consistanly on their computer or phone for business? Our constant connection to our smartphones, tablets, and laptops may contribute to headaches, sore eyes, and stiff necks — all symptoms of digital eyestrain. With the majority of our waking hours spent in front of a screen, paired with harmful blue-violet light from devices, it’s no surprise that our eyes are working harder than ever. Blue light glasses are helpful in that they help with protecting your eyes against those harmful lasting effects. Glasses have also made a comeback in the fashion world, so here is your answer. Urban Vogue Shop offers an oversized clear pair of blue light glasses that are unisex in my book.

☆ Fleece Blanket

Now is the time of year to cuddle up with a fleece blanket and a book by the fire. Fleece blankets are an inexpensive, yet practical gift for those homebodies in your life. Target, Kohl’s, and Walmart all have a great selection of fleece that are inexpensive, yet durable. Depending on the price of the blanket, you could also throw in a $5 or $10 gift card of choice to pair with the fleece.

☆ Soap/Body Care Package

Who doesn’t need body care products? Nourish is a soap company based out of Savannah, GA, but has a location in Greenville, SC and Hilton Head, SC that offers a wide array of soaps and handmade cosmetic products. Lush is another body care company that offers bath bombs, shampoo, and body gels that are amazing. Like I said before, check out other shops in your area or check online to see what else you can find.

☆ Whistling Tea Kettle

A tea kettle is great idea in that it suitable for many different uses. You can make tea, coffee, hot chocolate or boil water for your soup with a tea kettle. They have stood the test of time and can also be left out on your stovetop as a decoration. Think about throwing in a set of tea bags or hot chocolate to make it a complete set. World Market makes nicely made, but more budget friendly tea kettles.

☆ Coffee Mug & Grounds

Who doesn’t love coffee and mugs? I have a slight obsession to both – just ask my husband. My kitchen cabinet is spilling over with a lifetime supply of both. Most of us adults rely heavily on coffee to get through the day and would greatly appreciate this gift. Stop by any local coffee shop and check out their selection of coffee for sale. In terms of coffee mugs, Apparent Project sells my favorite mugs of all time. I found AP in Port-au-Prince, Haiti when I visited a few summers ago and stocked up on Christmas gifts for the entire family.

☆ Airpods Case

If you’re doing a more of Secret Santa type game and know who you’re buying for has a set of Airpods, a carrying case would be a great gift. As someone who just splurged on a pair for myself, I have been eyeing a few cases, but haven’t bought the bullet. This is definitely the cheaper alternative and would be greatly appreciated by all Airpod wearers. Check out April and Kiwi and Topgogo who both offer real cool, diverse options.

☆ Keychain

Since we have keys to just about everything of importance in our lives nowadays, a nicer keychain would be a great option for either game. This gift is very practical and could last many, many years. LoomChoi has over twenty different colored macrame keychains available and Unus Leather highlights more of the rustic, leather look.

☆ Candles & Lotion

We all know how delightful a good smelling house can be. Head to Bath & Body Works or find a local artist to pick out a few of the holiday scents. Now is the time that they are in full swing with Christmas scents, so there are hundreds of options to choose from in terms of login and candles. If you’re feeling really bold, you could make your own candle as well. If not, Sweet Water Decor and Zen Body Creations both have some of the best smelling candles and are some of the coolest I’ve seen. This gift will always be a big hit among family or coworkers.


Be mindful in your shopping this Christmas season, folks. We all know how hard 2020 has been mentally, financially and physically on everybody. As shopping for the holiday only gets ramped up, be cognizant of the many talented artists and creators around you. There are so many deserving “small” shops who often get overshadowed by the Fortune 500 companies, but deserve so much credit. As you do your shopping this year, check out Etsy, Facebook Marketplace or other small businesses in your area first. They pour hours of their time and talent into one-of-a-kind products. That is a win-win situation for me, folks.

Be the change you wish to see.

DIY CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

Christmas is right around the corner, folks! We are only forty days out from today. How crazy is that?! We all know how quickly that time will go. Currently, I have a Christmas playlist blasting through the house and plan to coerce my husband into watching The Santa Claus with me tonight.

We all know 2020 has been a hell of a year. It’s been tough, uncomfortable and not at all what we expected. The economy is in a recession, unemployment numbers skyrocketed overnight and businesses are having to shut down because of the circumstances. Are you on a budget but looking to add more decorations to your tree or in your home? I’ve got you covered! Below are some DIY decorations that are fun, family friendly and budget considerate.

Gingerbread Ornaments

I made these with my mom growing up and loved them! These gingerbread ornaments last years and smell heavenly. These also make great gifts for teachers, neighbors or your Sunday school teacher. This is the recipe that I follow, but feel free to find one that you like. I also added a dab of glue to help keep its shape. Don’t forget to poke a hole in the top to string it with some cute holiday ribbon!

Orange Garland

This garland makes for a beautiful decoration to hang from your hearth or above your bed. I prefer this over store made garland, anyhow. To get the optimal finish on your garland, follow The Ginger Home’s recipe or find one of your liking. This also makes for the best aroma when the oranges are done baking.

Pinecone Name Plates

These pinecone name plates make the cutest decor for a Christmas get-together for family or friends. Find a handful of pinecones outdoors or buy them from the store and spray paint them with a gold or silver spray paint. Cut down a piece of card stock or find your favorite piece of Christmas scrapbook paper and get started writing those names!

Pallet Christmas Trees

If you are into the “bigger scale” project, then this is your scene! My in-laws made my husband and I a set last year and stained them a dark chestnut color. String lights and hang ornaments on your Christmas Pallet tree and voilà! You can also paint them green to immolate more of a “real” tree if that’s the look you’re going for. Making smaller trees is also a great option for keeping them inside as well.

Wooden Sign Decor

With wooden signs, you have endless opportunities! If you have a Cricut or are artistically blessed, in which I am not, then there are so many options in terms of signs you can make. I also have Chalk Couture, which is a chalk-based transfer system that is fool proof. Chalk Couture came out with so many new Christmas designs this year, which has been really exciting to test out. Plan a trip to your local Michaels or Hobby Lobby to check out their wooden section. They have so many different options to choose from. Look at Pinterest for some inspiration if need be!

Stove-Top Potpourri

This isn’t necessarily a “decoration,” but stove-top potpourri is amazing to have simmering at home doing chores or relaxing on the couch curled up with that book you have been wanting to read. I have experimented with lots of varieties that all smell like you set foot onto a tree farm. You can also put ingredients into a mason jars that make for great gifts. This website has some great options you //.

QOTD: What is some of your favorite Christmas decorations, either store bought or handmade?

CHARLESTON HOPE

As we head into the Christmas season, there are so many opportunities to pay it forward. We all know 2020 has been hard enough without adding the added stresses of adding Christmas shopping to our list.

Charleston Hope is a non-profit based out of Charleston, South Carolina that works to enhance school culture and climate in high poverty, Title 1 schools by building on the strengths of both the students and teachers.

This non-profit is also near to my husband’s heart. He spent many hours behind the scenes packing gifts into the U-Haul to distribute to the elementary schools every Christmas and master grilling during summer events. He met Emily (Executive Director & Founder) early on in her journey with Charleston Hope and was involved as a board member for some time.

Charleston Hope also has two distinct programs that they implement throughout the year for children in their schools: Mitchell Elementary and Sanders-Clyde Elementary.

  • Step-In Girls Empowerment Program
    Step-In Girls program that empowers 4th and 5th grade girls to step-in to themselves, their community, and their future.
  • Classroom Mentor Program
    The Classroom Mentor Program is an academic mentoring program that pairs community members with students. Often times, community members will come in for lunch to sit with students or stay after school for homework assistance.

If you feel lead to give in a tangible way to Charleston Hope’s mission, I have listed some ways below.

Adopt a Classroom

Adopt a Classroom is Charleston Hope’s fundraiser that spreads love and joy during the holiday season students and teachers in their partnered schools and raises money for their year-round program. Check out the many ways to help with Adopt a Classroom here. One night before Christmas, thousands of volunteers come together in CofC’s TD Arena to wrap gifts for hundreds of students. It’s a great time of fellowship and a way to get into the Christmas spirit. Many people wear Santa hats and are decked out in green and red. They often times have food available and is a great time for the family.

Become a Monthly Donor

Monthly donors are the backbone of Charleston Hope’s organization. They allow us to focus more on programming and less on fundraising. You can become a monthly donor in just a few simple steps!

Host a Supply Drive

Teachers need some loving this holiday season too, y’all! They are pouring their souls into each and every one of their students everyday. Help Charleston Hope collect teacher’s most needed items for their Teacher’s Hope Closet! View how here!


If you feel lead to donate otherwise or to another organization closer to your heart, that is totally okay! If 2020 has taught me anything, it is that we must look out for each other. Everyone, and especially kids, are deserving of love. Many of these students in this area come from hard upbringings and are not expecting to get much this holiday season. For those of us who have the means to do so, think about giving back to the community in some way this season. You won’t regret it.

Donate here!