My Happy Place

My Happy Place

Operation Sneaky Santa

We wish you a Merry Christmas!

It may seem like it’s not the time of year to think about Christmas, but if you are a parent to small children, this may be the perfect time to give it a bit of consideration. When my children were seven, five and three years my best friend and I did a wild and crazy thing: we created Sneaky Santa. That year…

  1. Our children had the best Christmas ever
  2. My friend and I faced January with tons of money and no debt
  3. Our houses were organized and clutter free

Granted, this works best when your children are young enough to not really know what is going on and to not yet ask for specific items for their Christmas gifts.  If, however, your children are small and you have a friend (or a group of friends) who has children in the same age brackets, being a Sneaky Santa really can make for a fun and economical Christmas.


Now that's a sock a boy can be proud to hang by the fireplace!

Months before Christmas each parent sneakily and stealthily wanders around the house looking for books, movies, video games and toys that her children no longer play with. They still have to be in excellent condition. When the children are not watching, the parent snatches up the item, cleans it, adds new batteries or finds all its accessories, and hides it in the Sneaky Santa Stash. Then she waits. If two weeks go by and no child mentions the item, it becomes the property of Santa. If a child asks for it, the parent simply gives it back. After the allotted time has passed, Sneaky Santa takes stock of the stash and sends an email to her friend listing in detail each item. Each parent examines the list and then they swap a movie for a movie, a book for a book,  a video game for a video game and a toy for a toy.  The challenge is to keep this stash hidden–and then swap the stashes–without the children finding out! Good luck with that part. I know this may sound like a crazy idea, but I promise it worked wonderfully for our families. I hope you have the same experience.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

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