Secret Santa Report


Photo Credit: "Santa Goes Green" Cover illustration, originally uploaded by Elisa Chavarri.

This winter, the Irish Fireside tried something new. We held our first Secret Santa gift exchange.

42 Irish Firesiders signed up. Corey and I randomly distributed names, and gifts have been zipping around the country ever since.

Now, we’re checking in with everyone who signed up to find out what goodies arrived in their mailbox. If you were part of the exchange, feel free to leave a comment below or email a photo of your gift to corey (at)

We look forward to hearing about how you got in the holiday spirit via your Irish Fireside friends.

So we arrived at Corey’s parents today, and his mom sent me down their looooong driveway to get the mail. You should have seen her excitement that her Secret Santa gift arrived.

Here’s a picture of the book that the Owen Family sent her… Celtic Vampire Stories… cool. I’ve already snatched it from her and started reading it. I looked on Amazon, and it looks like there is another version with a different cover.

Send us pics of your gift, and we’ll post them here as well!

–Liam – 21-Dec-09

Milo (Michael Connolly) sent us this photo of his Secret Santa Gift from John S. of Virginia.

Click the photo to see it at full size.

Remember to send us your Secret Santa photos and reports. It’s great fun to see and read what everyone got!

— 23-Dec-09

Diana Goings sent us this photo of the ornament she got from her Secret Santa Kim H. from La Jolla, CA.

Notice the Celtic design around the Partridge in a Pear Tree.

BTW – did you know the Twelve Days of Christmas is rumored to have Irish roots. Irish Firesider Kat Behling did a little digging around and we posted what she found at

— 26-Dec-09

Author: Liam

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  1. Well, I put my little gift in the mail and am now standing by the mailbox to see what I receive. Wouldn’t it be funny if our names crossed and we each gave the same thing!

    This was a great idea and I am already looking forward to next year.

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  2. I received a daily calandar with irish photos and sayings. I can’t wait till the new year to start using this marvelous gift.

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  3. i received a WONDERFUL gift of two lovely teacups and irish tea, and an incredible celtic cross pendant. YAY!! i am mailing my gift out today – what fun this is! thanks, corey and liam!

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  4. Sent my present out the other day. Thanks, this was a great idea. I haven’t been in a secret santa since school.

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  5. I shipped mine out last week!

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  6. Shipped mine today! This was such a great idea! I would like to go ahead and put my vote in for a big YES for next year ๐Ÿ™‚

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  7. I already received a great thank you email for the gift I sent. Looks like it was a hit! Checking the mailbox every day hoping for my gift ๐Ÿ™‚

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  8. I almost needed resuscitating when I received the tweet about this post thinking I’d missed the deadline. Sorry Secret Santa, making your gift is more time consuming than I’d imagined, so I’ll be pushing up against next weekends due date, but I hope it will be worth it!

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  9. Random selection of names for Secret Santa – I think not. More like genius! I opened my gift to find a nice drawing of Bunratty Castle and a book called “Just The Way It Was” written by Thomas Gilrane. It so happens that Thomas grew up in Leitrim just 9 miles from where my grandfather grew up. Neighboring parishes of Ballinaglera and Oughteragh. I visited the area this summer, including the former property of my grandfather’s family. Reading this book will give me a wonderful sense for what life was like in that part of Ireland.

    Susan, thank you for the meaningful gift!

    More information about the book can be found at

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  10. With tomorrow being December 20th, I would have expected I would be reading all sorts of comments here about the great gifts people have received. I am very pleased to have my gift recipient one of the three that have reported back here and she is very happy with the gifts I sent her. It’s a good feeling to know you did good on gift selection.

    I hope to see many more reports of gifts received, surely out of 42, more folks must have received their gifts by now? Nothing yet at my end. Either the pony express mail is taking the back roads, or the santas are sleeping? Hum… Maybe Monday is the Magic day when they all will appear…

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  11. I received my gift earlier this week. I was so stoked to have an authentic Blarney Stone!!! I love having something that was actually from Ireland!!! Thank you , thank you, thank you Secret Santa!

    To my gift recipient, you don’t know who you are, I will be sending yours out tomorrow. It took a little longer to get together than I thought.

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  12. I almost forgot, thanks so much Corey and Liam for putting this together. You guys are the greatest!

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  13. Oh, my I have been so blessed. Today I received 2 great gifts, one in the mail and one at my doorstep. I got my secret Santa gift. It is so nice, my favorite gift to give or receive is a book and that’s what I got. It is about Celtic vampire legends. I’m not sure of the contents but I surely will give it a try. Thank you Keith and family! My other gift is my son who happens to be Corey of Irishfireside and Liam. Let the games begin :>) Merry CHRISTmas to all!

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  14. Still waiting by the mailbox…. but the gift I sent out should have reached its recipient by now.

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  15. Netta, So fun to read your post and glad to hear that you have had a “Magic Monday”. Like you, I also work at a plant nursery during the summer, I looked at your nursery link last summer, it’s a beautiful tidy looking place you have. You are indeed Blessed to have Corey as a son, he and Liam touch the lives and lift the spirits of all of us in this “Global Irish Family” through their work. I have so enjoyed following their travels, interviews and articles here, at the Irish Fireside. Happy Holidays to you and your Family!

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  16. I got it! My Secret Santa Gift! I love my ornament that my Santa sent me. When I travel I always try to pick up a special Christmas ornament to remind me of my trip. Now I have an ornament to remind me of my Secret Santa.I also learned that there is an Irish superstition that you should hang a Christmas card of the Three Wise Men over your front door to bring health & happiness to your home. Thanks Anne, I never knew that!

    I hope my gift made it all the way from Pennsylvania to Texas (hint hint).

    Thanks Corey & Liam this was so much fun!

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  17. I received a neat little kit called “Build Your Own Stonehenge” (see it here: but I seem to have misplaced the envelope from my Secret Santa before I could send a Thank You note. Grrr. If I find it I’ll send a card; for now, Thank You, for your fun gift!

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  18. OK, I’m silly and forgetful but I found my Gifter! JAMES, thank you so much for the lovely gift. There’s a card with your (correct!) name on it winging it’s way to you!

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  19. I loved my gift! It was a clever book on the Irish Pubs of Chicago. Very resourceful since the gifter is from Ohio!! Thanks, I loved it so much, I bought another one on Amazon to give to my brother-in-law for xmas!

    Nice Job on the creativity scale! You hit a Bullseye Irish Santa!

    Merry xmas!


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  20. As I was riding the exercise bike this evening I heard a truck start up and looked out the window to see the UPS truck go by….so I sent my husband out to the porch and sure enough! There was my Secret Santa gift…the cutest Wacky Woolies mug! I’m trying to decide which of the wacky sheep I most resemble. And I think my husband is coveting the mug, because he keeps reminding me that I don’t drink coffee, as if red bush tea and hot chocolate don’t belong in mugs! Thanks, Philip! How appropriate to receive a Christmas gift from Bethlehem (PA)!

    Christmas Blessing to all the Firesiders!

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  21. Oops! This is what happens when I work from memory. THANKS, NEVILLE!!! I’m not sure where Philip came from.

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  22. I received my Celtic Cross ornament from John S. Thank you. It now has a prime spot on my tree. Great Pictures from your Father/son trip to Ireland also!

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  23. Still waiting for my Secret Santa…
    Meanwhile,today I ran across this recipe for home made Irish Creme. It looks pretty good, I thought maybe if I make some and put some out for Santa, this might be the beacon he needs to find my house:

    Bailey’sยฎ Original Irish Cream

    Bailey’s uses a special process to combine two otherwise incompatible ingredients: cream and whiskey. This secret technique keeps the cream from clumping and separating from the whiskey, and allows the liqueur to go for two years unrefrigerated without spoiling. But we won’t need to tap into any secret preparation techniques for our clone here since we’ll be storing the liqueur in the refrigerator. We will, however, replace cream with canned Sweetened Condensed milk. This gives us a properly sweetened finished product with the taste and texture of the deliciously famous Irish cream. Here now is an improved version of the Bailey’s clone recipe that appears in More Top Secret Recipes. This version has fewer ingredients, is easier to make, and tastes amazing.

    1 โ€“ 14 oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk (not evaporated milk)
    1 cup Irish whiskey
    2/3 cup granulated sugar
    1 Tablespoon Hershey’s chocolate syrup
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    ยฝ tsp instant coffee

    1. Combine all ingredients in a pitcher and mix well or shake until sugar is dissolved.
    2. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
    3. Shake before serving.
    4. Recipe makes 3 cups.

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  24. thanks for the thankyou card Wendy, just got it today. Enjoy your little trip int irish past as you build your own stonehenge.

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  25. Well my gift is in the mail and I have a confirmation that it is expected today. I hope my secret recipient is happy when it does come. It is coming from Ireland by way of Rome I think! So it may be late but was ordered early. It was a custom make so they say!!

    I too did not see mine, but as busy as I was I am not offended! I will be just as happy to get an surprise Irish themed gift next week!!

    Merry Christmas To all at the Fireside!


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  26. Thank you Brianna C!
    I unwrapped a lovely celtic cross pin and a book that I have wanted to read (YEA!) McCarthy’s Bar.
    Great Gifts !

    Bill S-I am so touch by how much my gift means to you.Thanks for getting in touch with my FIL.

    Merry Christmas All
    Susan G

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  27. Thank you, Melissa, for the St Patrick’s pin and the shamrock pendant! Both are lovely, and I will enjoy having them very much. If you’d like me to mail some snow out to LA, please let me know. I scooped a whole lot of it off of my driveway this morning, with more to come. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  28. Hi Judy Arnold,
    I guess I should have signed the card, My name is Marge & I work @ Donegal Square in Bethlehem. The store is owned by Neville, but I was your Secret Santa. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Merry Christmas!!!!

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  29. To go along with today’s featured article (the Twelve Days Of Christmas), I received a Beautiful Partridge in a Peartree Ornament from my Secret Santa.

    Thank you Kim for your thoughful gift and for sharing the story of your Irish family!

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  30. Hi, Marge….when a card from Texas arrives addressed to Neville, just snatch it out of his hand and tell him it’s for you! I love the little mug, and when my daughter brings over her digital camera (mine is on the fritz) I’ll send Corey a picture of me and it (it and me?).

    I’ve already tried some hot chocolate with a peppermint stick stirrer in the mug and it was delicious. Thank you so much!

    And belated Christmas blessings,

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  31. My gift arrived yesterday. A Peek in an Irish Kitchen. I beleive it was personnaly assembled with cute little Irish sayings and beautiful Irish scenery. It also contained some wonderful recipies!!

    The problem is I still dont’ know my secret Santa, but that is ok they are from Sherevesport LA and made a lovely gift. Thank you so much!

    This has been great fun! Thanks so much Corey for your work to make a great Christmas for us all!!

    Kim in La Jolla

    PS I wish I could send you all in the east some sunshine from La Jolla. We are now a block from Wind and Sea Beach and it is gorgeous and warm. Particulary, I want to send some to Bill Sweeny as I have family in Norwalk and Stratford and know that you got alot of Snow!! Good Luck with that and send a note about where you are in Norwalk!!!

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  32. Kim in La Jolla,

    I live fairly close to you! (OK in East County but I work in LJ, does that count?) Send some sunshine inland, would you? It’s been cloudy and cool for the last couple of days. Still, nothing to complain about when compared to our fellow Irish Firesiders in the East!

    Stay warm and dry all of you and may you have a safe and Happy New Year’s!


    Wendy in Santee

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  33. Kim, I don’t know how to respond directly and hesitate to use this forum but … I live near Cranbury School in Norwalk.

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  34. Greetings! I received a wonderful gift Karen L. It is a beautiful calender titled, “Illustrations of Ireland 2010 by Roisin O’Shea”. I love the calendar and will be displaying it proudly in my office at work. I also received a cool Irish key-chain to add to my collection. Karen also included a great Irish card with a warm note inside. I really appreciate the gift and the thought that went into it. Thanks Karen!

    Also, Would love to hear if Patrick O’Keeffe received his gift..Hopefully UPS got it right!

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  35. Still waiting for my Irish Secret Santa. Hopefully will come any day now.

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  36. My giftee has not reported in, either, Jeff.

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  37. I rec’d a beautiful handmade keychain from my Chicago Irish Santa. It’s leather with a Celtic design on it and beads like a dreamcatcher. Thanks for staying up late Patti to make it!

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  38. I know I’m commenting really late but I just wanted to thank Netta from Michigan for the lovely gift of a handmade garland for the door (complete with clover-shaped bells!) and for two packages of Irish dirt! ๐Ÿ™‚ The garland has been hanging on my door all season and my family is enjoying it very much. The gift was perfect. Thanks to Corey and Liam too!

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  39. Hi! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve
    worked hard on. Any tips?

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  40. I received a beautiful Irish wool scarf. I love it!

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