Secret Santa Show and Tell

The Irish Fireside Secret Santas have been busy exchanging gifts this month. What a joy it’s been discovering how each person found a unique… and often personal… way to choose their gift.

Below you’ll find a few reports from our Secret Santa recipients… more will be added on December 31st (let me know if I missed anyone). If you’d like to join the fun and sign up for our next gift exchange, details are below.

Secret Santa Reports:

Stephanie Mahone: Suzette Minton Set me an awesome book called Vanishing Ireland! I love what great pictures and stories!  I love books about Ireland so much I actually have a huge bookshelf dedicated to them.  This book will make a great addition.  Thanks so much Suzette.  I can’t wait for March and our Lucky Leprechaun exchange.  This is always so much fun!

Jessie Voigts: I got my gift from Stephanie Mahone – really, really thoughtful – an incredible framed sunset photo, from Doolin. Stephanie noted that it was from her first trip to Ireland. What makes it MORE than special (and she didn’t know!) is that on our one night in Doolin, we had such rain that we didn’t get a sunset. So, it’s a double bonus. I love it! 🙂

Kathy Nelson: I would like to thank my Secret Santa, Laury Leeds, for the big Christmas bell full of Ferrero Roche chocolate treats. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photograph of it… it was open before we could get a pic!

Suzette Minton: I received a darling little Ireland desk calendar from my Secret Santa. I will enjoy the pictures of Ireland every day. My Secret Santa, Pam Ellingson reported that she will be going to Ireland in March with her daughter. I wish her a wonderful trip! We have been there 10 times in the last 10 years and can’t wait to go back. In the meantime, Irish Fireside provides my Irish “fixes” through the website and podcasts.

Marty Rodweller: I received a lovely gift of Irish hot chocolate and coasters from my Secret Santa, Brianna Collins. I love doing this.

Laury Leeds: Thank you Santa Sharon Szabo for the lovely Tree Ornament.

Sharon Szabo: My Secret Santa, Kerry Dexter sent me two CDs of Irish music. I can’t wait to listen to them both, since I love Irish music. One of them is Irish Immigrants’ songs, which is particularly meaningful to me since my great-grandparents were Irish immigrants to the US. What a great way to connect all us Celt-o-philes!

Shamrock ornament

Judy Arnold: My Secret Santa gift was definitely worth waiting for! Melissa Guerrero did a wonderful job of choosing something just right for me.

celtic ornament

Travis Nelson (of Engaging Ireland): Go raibh mile maith agat to my Secret Santa, Kim Hathaway, who sent me this great ornament! Pretty soon we

Irish Art Calendar

Bill Sweeney: Jessie Voigts and her family picked up a little artsy 2011 calendar on a recent trip to Ireland. They actually bought it in anticipation of Irish Fireside secret santa - now that is planning ahead! Thanks Jessie!

Celtic cross and angel ornaments

Ashley Daoust wrote an entire blog post about her gifts from Judy Arnold. I recommend you CLICK THE PHOTO above to read about her experience.

Irish Angel

Kim Hathaway: My Christmas angel from Cindy Johnson now joins my other Irish ornaments on the tree. Thank you, Cindy!


Carved Wooden Box - Irish Fireside Secret Santa 2010

Diana Goings: I received this great carved wooden box. It is the perfect place to keep my Lucky (pre-euro) Irish animal-themed coins. I saved one of each... the pig, fish, horse, wolfhound, bull, bird, rabbit, & chicken. I Love that box, Thank You Secret Santa Jim Larsen!

Just the Way It Was book

Annette Taratuta: My Secret Santa, Bill Sweeney, sent me a wonderful book. It is a memoir by Thomas Gilrane about life on a traditional farm in County Leitrim. It'll be the next book I read... which will be this week... I always dedicate some time between Christmas and New Years.

Ireland Photos

S.J. Velasquez: I received such a cool gift. My Secret Santa, Travis Nelson, sent me two beautiful landscape portraits. He and his wife are photographers and make regular trips to Ireland ( I can't wait to hang these in my apartment... they are absolutely perfect.

Irish Dancer doll

Raydra Hall: I received my gift from Rebecca McAvinchey. She runs an Irish dance and music web site with her husband and brother-in-law, who are from Tipperary ( She sent a very cute Riverdance doll. I've attached a photo of the two of us.

Ireland calendar

Kerry Dexter: Jessica Mullins sent me a fine calendar with photographs of Ireland and an Irish blessing for each month. She included a lovely note saying that photographs are among her favorite souvenirs of Ireland.

Shamrock Ornament

John Fahey: I found the perfect spot for on our tree for the Shamrock Ornament I received from Liam Hughes. When the package arrived, my wife was immediately jealous that she didn't participate.

Irish Dirt

Jessica Mullins: Today I received my fabulous Secret Santa gift from Kate Noland. My very own Official Irish Dirt! Very original and I couldn't be more excited!

towel and candy

Pam Ellingson: I received this beautiful Christmas towel and New Hampshire maple candy from my Secret Santa, Patti Wakefield.

Beckie Kirker Doors

Bit Devine: I was super excited to see my secret santa present arrive from Beckie Kirker. I was the lucky gal to whom Beckie sent the Door Poster. It is fantabulous!


Beckie Kirker wrote and entire blog post about her special gift from Karen B. I recommend you CLICK THE PHOTO above to read about her experience.

Author: Corey

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  1. This was so fun. Thanks again, fellas!

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  2. Hee hee! My gift was delayed by flooding in California so my Christmas joy is prolonged by several days. I did get a lovely thank-you note from the recipient of my little gift.

    Thanks to you both, Corey & Liam, for doing this!

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  3. I’m so impressed with the creativity and thought that went into these gifts! I was afraid to jump in and join in the fun but even though I’m a wee bit intimidated now by how great these gifts are – I think I’m going to have to get in the game and do the St. Patrick’s Day one and stop being such a chicken! lol Thanks for sharing these!

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  4. Note to self: pick up goodies in Ireland this coming fall so I will feel prepared to participate next Christmas!

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  5. I had so much fun with Secret Santa this year! I saw how much fun everyone had last year and decided to join this year! I recieved 3 beautiful cards with Celtic prints on the front of them. I will try and send a picture this weekend! Instead of using my cards, I may frame them to hang. Thank you to my secret Santa Joe Brown!

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  6. My delayed-by-flooding-in-California gift arrived today and it was worth waiting for!! Melissa sent me a lovely shamrock necklace. I sent a picture, but as I told Corey and Liam, I’m a better accountant (accountess) than photographer.

    I’m already thinking about Lucky Leprechaun gifts!

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  7. Suzette Minton Set me an awesome book called Vanishing Ireland! I love what great pictures and stories! I love books about Ireland so much I actually have a huge bookshelf dedicated to them. This book will make a great addition. Thanks so much Suzette and sorry for the late reply I was also enjoying the the snow in Cincinnati for the last couple weeks. It is my hometown as well! I can’t wait for March and our Lucky Leprechaun exchange. This is always so much fun!

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    • I’m happy to hear that Stephanie liked the book, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in things Irish. Great character studies of the older generation and how Ireland used to be in days gone by. Luck of the Irish that my Secret Santa ended up being from my hometown! Thanks, Guys, for putting this together!

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