It's Just Nice

A lifestyle blog bringing you fashion, music, food, and everything else that's just nice about Bristol and beyond!

The John Lewis Secret Santa Challenge

Ok folks, I’m going to give you a little bit of warning on this one. If you’re somebody who doesn’t believe in getting excited about Christmas until December then you may want to tune out now, because as far as we’re concerned, once Halloween is over there’s only one thing to do – get excited about Christmas!

*pause for the haters to leave the page*

So if, like us, the prospect of Christmas being only 7 weeks away isn’t enough to crank your festive cheer up a notch, then this post should hopefully put it into overdrive.

When we received an invitation from the lovely team at John Lewis (you can take a look at the visual feast which is their Christmas decorations), asking if we wanted to take part in their secret Santa Challenge, we practically fell over ourselves to say yes. A chance to give and receive Christmas presents a whole month early you say? Yes please, and thank you very much John Lewis – count us in!

So how does it work then?

Step One

Next week the chaps at John Lewis will randomly select another blogger who’s also taking part in the challenge. We’ll then have 48 hours to research their blog, sussing out their tastes, what they like, what they loathe, and try and get an idea of which gift we think they’d like to receive.

Step Two

Once we’ve made a decision, we’ll tell the team at John Lewis which gift we’d like to send to our fellow blogger. There’s the option to add a personal message too – we’re thinking something along the lines of “Happy early Christmas – what a winner!”

Step Three

Finally, not that we’re the kind of people who give to receive, but here’s the good bit! Whilst we’ve been busy choosing a present for our chosen blogger, some other lovely member of the blogosphere will be doing exactly the same for us, meaning we’ll receive a gift too – how exciting!

So to get you in the mood, and to give you some inspiration (or not!), we thought we’d share some of our previous secret Santa stories!


I love secret Santa, and I’m always the one trying to organise it within my team at work. Unfortunately, I’m always the one trying to organise anything within my team at work, so for the past couples of years my suggestions of “Why don’t we do a secret Santa” seem to have been lost amongst my other suggestions of “Let’s do a wine tasting!” and “Let’s do team ‘Come Dine with me!”

However, the one year we did manage to sort ourselves out, I ended up with an absolute corker of a present, in the form of a matching cat print mug, coaster and biscuit tray set. I promise this isn’t sarcastic, because as anyone who works in an office will know, mugs are precious property. This meant that having my own, complete with matching mug AND biscuit tray was a right treat.

Unfortunately the cleaner broke the mug (I still haven’t forgiven her) but I still use the coaster – see?! I try not to eat biscuits at work, so the biscuit tray is busy doubling up as a paper clip holder…



I am also a fellow lover of a good secret Santa, however, trying to get it all organised can be like nailing custard to the walls…

Anyway, my story is from quite a few years ago and takes us back even before Uni, to when I worked at HSBC in Salisbury. I was a relevantly newish member of staff, having been there for about 8 weeks. This of course meant I was still in the midst of sussing everyone out and our team of about 30 strong were just getting to know me too. In the secret draw I got lumbered with our boss and Branch Manager… Great, my brand new boss. My choice this year had a lot riding on it….

This is where I would like to remind you all I was quite young when I worked there, and I didn’t necessary understand all of the office etiquette when it came to certain issues. With all of this in mind you might excuse my choice of gift….

My boss was a very ginger man. I don’t mean just a little bit auburn, I mean full on freckles and very ginger! For some unknown reason I thought this would be a good topic to go with and it lead me to buy him some dark brown hair dye and a little ginger troll – it’s meant to be a joke present after all!

Anyway, it was the night of our work party and before we all left the branch to go to dinner we all did our gifts together. This bit is meant to be jolly good fun, as everyone has a giggle at their little joke presents. This was until I handed my gift over…

I have never stunned a room as much as I did when he unwrapped it in front of everyone – all I can say is that the awkwardness was deafening! Apparently him having ginger hair is a sensitive issue and was not something members of staff ever joked about – I basically wanted to just die on the spot! Even to this day that amount of awkwardness still makes me cringe physically!

The moral…. Make sure you know your audience! Wish me luck in picking this year!



Pah! I love Cloe’s story so much! It’s got me holding my face in my hands as I read it. I actually used to collect trolls – there used to be whole shops just full of them! My favourite was a ballerina troll with a pink tu tu and orange hair, I’ve styled a few looks from that troll!

I digress…I too love a secret Santa, especially when you work with a bunch of awesome people who totally get that the answer is always “YES” to tea, and that drinking it out of a cup and saucer makes you feel fancy, so they get you this…


Recently I have been filling it with pistachios because, you know, pistachios are lush. I don’t let the cleaners touch this (or my little tea pot) and I hide them in my food drawer- which is an office drawer that you should use for paperwork but instead you have filled with apples (just me?!).

I think it’s pretty fair to say that we’re all very excited about this secret Santa challenge and ready to throw ourselves into it! I do feel a little bit sorry for whoever get’s us, purely because there are three of us and we all have our own personalities and tastes.

So now that you’ve read the good, the bad and the ugly of our past secret Santa experiences, we hope you’re feeling suitably festive and are looking forward to following our journey on the John Lewis Secret Santa Challenge!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but we’re thinking it might be worth offering Cloe a bit of supervision this year round after that story!


3 comments on “The John Lewis Secret Santa Challenge

  1. spoons1987
    November 8, 2013

    Enjoyed this blog post. I too am a Christmas fanatic. Had a Christmas tree up in my flat since mid September (it’s a long story). I’ve just posted on my blog about the challenge of Christmas shopping.

    • Meg Pope
      November 11, 2013

      Hurrah! A fellow Christmas lover (who doesn’t think we’re a maniac for being this excited, this early!) Couldn’t agree more with you on the subject of Christmas shopping – online all the way!

  2. Pingback: The John Lewis Secret Santa Challenge: Our Present! | It's Just Nice

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