Why Secret Santa Gift Exchanges Give Me Joy

Merriam-Webster defines “joy” as “a feeling of great happiness”. Those five words describe my emotion around Secret Santa gift exchanges. Although it is true that the holidays are better spent when the focus is on people and quality time rather than THINGS, I think there can be joy behind exchanging thoughtful gifts.

Way back when Katie invited me into the Bloggers Gonna Blog Facebook group, I thought it was “just another” community. No genuine interactions, just a hub of bloggers. I was W-R-O-N-G. This community has provided a safe haven for me to ask questions, offer feedback, build new friendships, and continue to learn and grow. #allthehappyfeelings

Christina and Georgie set up a Secret Santa gift exchange for all who wanted to participate, and my hand shot up high in the air. And then I typed “yes” to being interested in the exchange. The last time I was involved in a gift exchange was last year’s White Elephant, but that wasn’t nearly as personalized as I knew this one would be.

Why Secret Santa gift exchanges give me joy | Hello to Fit

My secret elf was Pragati from Simple Medicine. I’ve been reading Pragati’s posts for a while now, and love learning new recipes and tips for health and wellness on her site. That was a hint for you to go check her out.

Isn’t the wrapping awesome? Nothing gets a Christmas-lover in the spirit more than red, green, and gold wrapping/tissue paper.

Why Secret Santa gift exchanges give me joy | Hello to Fit

While it tends to be easy to purchase gifts for someone when you have a general idea of what they would like (fitness blogger would probably appreciate fitness-related items), Pragati went above and beyond. Remembering that I am engaged, she got me a beautiful little ring dish. Super useful for when I need to take off my ring without misplacing it somewhere (which would be Classic Jess).

Why Secret Santa gift exchanges give me joy | Hello to Fit

As a fitness professional, I usually avoid showing up to work with makeup. Sweating with makeup on, five days a week, is not the best thing for the skin. That being said, I anticipate moments and events where I can wear “normal” clothes and put on a little makeup! This bareMinerals eyecolor set is perfect for nights out with friends.

Why Secret Santa gift exchanges give me joy | Hello to Fit

Fitness enthusiasts love fitness gear. Pragati hit the nail on the head with this sweet tank and headband from Old Navy. I love the soft feel of the tank; it was fitted enough to conform, but loose enough to be forgiving. The headband had circular silicone pieces which helped keep it on my head.Why Secret Santa gift exchanges give me joy | Hello to Fit

Finding Joy in Secret Santa Gift Exchanges

Sure, you can argue that gift exchanges are just another way to succumb to the materialism that surrounds the holidays. I won’t argue back. But for me, this gift exchange was more than a quick-find-something-to-send-to-this-blogger activity. It was a chance to find meaningful items that will connect one person to another, all while being a little practical Winking smile. Gift exchanges allow communities to grow and for people to build networks and relationships with each other. They allow me to get the creative juices flowing, to hunt for the “perfect” package. All of that gives me joy!

Although we’re cutting it close for the Christmas season, there’s still time to either join a gift exchange group or create your own. The BGB (Bloggers Gonna Blog) gifts were to be less than $25, but you could set any number in order to cater to your friends and family.


Have you tried something new that other people should experience, too? How about tips or how-to’s? Every other week, link up with us in Try This Thursday as we explore new health and fitness topics!

Link up to 2 posts (current or archived) that feature something new you’ve tried or advice you’d like to share. Links must be related to health and fitness – workouts, exercise equipment, classes, products, food/drink, etc. Link back to the posts on your hosts’ (Hello to Fit and Petite Heartbeat) blogs by including the photo above.

Let’s chat!

  • Did/will you participate in a gift exchange this year?
  • On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most enjoyable), how much do you enjoy thinking of and shopping for gifts? 10!
  • Name two things that give you JOY
  • Who in your circle of friends/family is a creative gift-giver?

By Jess

Jess is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and yoga teacher. She enjoys sharing her passion and enthusiasm for health and fitness with friends, family, clients, and readers.

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  • rachel @ athleticavocado

    December 10, 2015 at 7:17 am

    Looks like you’ve got a lot of awesome goodies! I can’t wait to go home and open mine!
    rachel @ athleticavocado recently posted…Paleo Cranberry White Chocolate Gingerbread Mug Cake with a Lemon GlazeMy Profile

  • Susie @ SuzLyfe

    December 10, 2015 at 8:01 am

    I love secret santas as well, but I will say that I had a terrible experience with one where the person critiqued my gift (to them) to my face! They said that it looked “cheap.” Well, actually, no, that wasn’t cheap and also it benefited a charity so just who is a Scrooge now?
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Reader Support, Healthy Living, and other Suz ThoughtsMy Profile

  • Annmarie

    December 10, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Aw, this is awesome! I love gift exchanges, they are so much fun and a great way to get to know someone a little better! 🙂
    Annmarie recently posted…Fit To Perform: Functional Style For Functional TrainingMy Profile

  • Gretchen | Gretchruns

    December 10, 2015 at 9:03 am

    Wow!! What a great gift Pragati got you. Now I feel like I slacked a bit with my Secret Santa! I hope she still likes it 🙂

  • Pragati // Simple Medicine

    December 10, 2015 at 9:28 am

    Yay!!! I’m so happy you liked your Secret Santa package 🙂 You were so much fun to shop for! Happy Holidays, friend! So happy to have met you through my blogging journey!

  • Daisy @ Fit Wanderlust Runner

    December 10, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Aww what a great gift! I sadly did not participate in a gift exgange. At my old job we used to do one every year and I always participated.
    Daisy @ Fit Wanderlust Runner recently posted…Happy Thanksgiving! The Many Reasons I am Thankful ForMy Profile

  • Jen @ Pretty Little Grub

    December 10, 2015 at 9:50 am

    I love secret santa exchanges. Seeing what someone comes up for you and shopping for them is so fun. You got some great gifts from yours.
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #50My Profile

  • Liz @ THe Clean Eating Couple

    December 10, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Wow this is seriously SUCH a good Secret Santa gift!! Going to look up that eyeshadow company… Looks awesome!
    Liz @ THe Clean Eating Couple recently posted…Holiday Gift GuideMy Profile

  • Brittany

    December 10, 2015 at 10:57 am

    AHH this is so cool!! I love the idea of a blogger secret santa!! I am doing one with my work, and tonight is our holiday party!
    Brittany recently posted…Early Morning ConfessionsMy Profile

  • Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie

    December 10, 2015 at 11:21 am

    I love how personalized Pragati made your gifts! So fun. I absolutely love the #BGBCommunity and these fun exchanges!
    Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie recently posted…What I learned training for a half marathonMy Profile

  • Erin @ Erin’s Inside Job

    December 10, 2015 at 11:36 am

    I love secret santas too. When Lindsay at Lean Green Bean used to have her Foodie Pen Pals every month it was so much fun bc I got to meet someone new and get a box full of delicious foods!
    Erin @ Erin’s Inside Job recently posted…The Importance of Learning to Critique Your StoryMy Profile

  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

    December 10, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    So cute! I love gift exchanges with friends!
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Chocolate Candy Cane Crunch CookiesMy Profile

  • Kristen

    December 10, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Wow those are some killer gifts! She did such a good job getting you the perfect things. What is this Bloggers Gonna Blog group? It sounds amazing!
    Kristen recently posted…One Word to Describe the HolidaysMy Profile

  • Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner

    December 10, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    I love doing the secret santa exchanges too! We are doing one with the skirt sports ambassadors and I am excited to see how it turns out this week. Happy Holidays!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Jingle All The Way-The Husband ProjectMy Profile

  • GiGi Eats

    December 10, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    I am going to a secret Santa party on Tuesday… I could gift EVERYONE going – with all the product I receive in the mail from companies! LOL! #thanksblogging 😉
    GiGi Eats recently posted…WTF DO YOU WANT?!My Profile

  • Rachel

    December 12, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Love this! I can’t wait to share mine 🙂 SO exciting to get goodies in the mail.
    Rachel recently posted…Sweet Potato, Kale & Chicken StewMy Profile

  • Jenn – a traveling Wife

    December 14, 2015 at 8:45 am

    I’m not going to lie, secret Santa gift exchanges stress me out! I am not one of those people that are ‘gifted’ with purchasing presents. But I get that people really enjoy the relationship building that goes along with these exchanges or swaps. 🙂
    Jenn – a traveling Wife recently posted…Ginger Mint Tea – Two WaysMy Profile

  • Margaret @ youngandrungry

    December 18, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    My jaw dropped when I saw how amazing this gift is! Pragati is awesome! I couldn’t agree more that BGB is so much more than a blogging boost group! I actually feel comfortable engaging with people where as I never say anything in any of my other groups!
    Margaret @ youngandrungry recently posted…BGB Secret Santa + My Favorite Simple DinnerMy Profile

    1. Jess

      December 27, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      Haha isn’t she?! Yes, same here. It’s just on a smaller scale (although growing very rapidly) and everyone is SO nice.

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