Foodie Secret Santa

An initiative of Claire has been to gather willing food-blogger participants together and organise a ‘Secret Santa’ where we send a gift to three food bloggers.  Claire’s husband organises the draw and then sends you an email letting you know who your gift recipients are.

But first I had to make something.

Cherry Chutney

Cherry Chutney

I wanted to give gifts that hopefully would be useful on Christmas Day.  As ham and turkey are traditionally served, I gave each of my three recipients a jar of cherry chutney to serve with ham and a jar of cranberry sauce to serve with turkey.  Knowing this ‘Secret Santa’ was a ‘given’, all year I saved my jars to I’d be ready for the sauces I knew I wanted to make.

3-Ingredient Cranberry Sauce

3-Ingredient Cranberry Sauce

While I was well-prepared with my jars, I hadn’t taken into consideration their weight once the  jars were filled.  Maybe next year I’ll send feathers.  No matter, I was very happy with how both the cherry chutney and the cranberry sauce turned out.

What are the rules for a Secret Santa?  I thought it was that you had to keep who it is you are sending your gift to a complete secret but then reveal yourself as they unwrap the gift.  So that’s what I did with ‘Hotly Spiced’ all over everything and a personal Christmas card from me.

Was I the only one?

Because the three gifts I received were all mystery packages with no clue as to who sent them.  I would like to acknowledge them in this post but alas, I don’t have the skills for detective work.

The first gift to arrive in the post was from a ‘no-name’ but there was a clue given that the packaging revealed a logo.  Minor detective work told me it has come from Miss Foodie.  It’s a bag of toasted muesli that after all the feasting and after all the regretting of the over-indulgences, is a great way to kick-start some healthy habits.  I thought the gift was very nicely packaged.

Toasted Muesli

Toasted Muesli

The next parcel on my doorstep was some Sugared Pecan Balls.  I don’t even think Inspector Clueso would be able to work out who sent these.  Unfortunately they didn’t fair well in the post and arrived completely smashed.   There is nothing in the packet but crumbs which is such a shame as I love the sound of what they were meant to be.



The last parcel I received was a gorgeously packaged and festively packaged little box of biscotti.  Again, I don’t know who it’s from but I do love the Santa packaging.

Santa-styled packaging

Santa-styled packaging

It’s not really the fault of the sender that I don’t know who sent these because there was a card attached, it’s just when I took leave from my watch, it was chewed by my dog and now I can’t read the name on the card.  What were the odds!

The dog did it

The dog did it

I’m taking the biscotti to a carol’s night where it will be enjoyed with a relaxing beverage while I hold a candle and sing a carol.



I’m very grateful for all my gifts and have very much enjoyed being involved in the Foodie Secret Santa.  A big thanks to Claire for taking up the initiative and all her organising efforts.


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  1. Oh what a shame that the cookies were crushed. Still, I don’t suppose there will be any shortage of treats in the next week or two. Happy Christmas!

  2. I have just enjoyed reading your cherry chutney post and dreaming of making the chutney (I have dreams of making other chutneys too so who knows if any will grace my kitchen) – your christmas day sounds much like ours as kids but we lived opposite the church. And the secret santa sounds great – though I do love to know where these gifts come from partly because I am curious and partly to say thanks

  3. What a great idea but a fair bit of work just before Xmas!:)). Your parcels out must have cost a wee bit to send charlie:)

  4. Aww well hopefully the senders will see this and comment! Meanwhile, i would have loved to receive your cranberry goodies!

  5. Lovely gifts. And a bit more fun with the added mystery of “who sent.”

  6. Each of these gifts is thoughtful and fun, but without sounding like I am cozying up to you, I must say that Mum’s Cherry Chutney is the I loved the best.

  7. What a fun thing to do! You scored some really good stuff. Thanks for sharing with us. I’m taking off the rest of the year, so I want to wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  8. Wonderful food blogging idea for Christmas. What a shame about the pecan balls but all the gifts were lovely.

  9. What a fabulous idea! Love all the things you received. Those couriers are BRUTAL, I really think they go out of their way to beat up packages.

  10. What fun! Now you’ll have to think of something interesting to use with those cookie crumbs.

  11. What a fun holiday swap! I’d love to receive your cherry chutney and cranberry sauce–perfect for Christmas dinner. I hope the mystery is solved soon 🙂

  12. Oh, what fun – Charlie and the gifts you made looked so festive.

  13. I didn’t put my name on mine either because it said secret. I got those pecan balls and I received only dust. It’s that time of year. I know mine arrived as dust too. I haven’t figured out how to tell someone that the cranberry sauce leaked out of the jar and disintegrated much of the box containing it. Charlie the postie said, “This is rather in pieces.” (sorry) I washed off the leakage and photographed them so I’m good to go.

    I only received two boxes from the swap and since there are no names, I have no clue who didn’t send.

    We should do this in the winter not when it’s 38C/100F degrees and humid as can be.

    • I’m so sorry your cranberry sauce leaked! That’s shocking. I used all up all my elbow grease screwing on those lids. What a shame. Yes, the dust – it’s like the postie jumped up and down on the package before handing it to me.

  14. What fun! It looks like great gifts all around!

  15. Such a fun idea, Charlie and you went to so much trouble with your gifts, as did the others, I’m sure… I didn’t participate because to be brutally honest, I simply don’t have enough time, especially at this time of the year. Seasons eatings my dear.

  16. You’re very welcome Charlie! I had the same problem with my heavy gift. Next year I shall think it through a bit better. I might put that in the guidelines to be aware the heavier the gift the more it costs to send!

  17. Such a great idea of Claire’s! It’s always so nice to get something delicious in the mail 😀

  18. What a great idea and, I have to say, I would be thrilled to get your Cherry Chutney or Cranberry Sauce in the mail … YUM!!

  19. A Foodie Secret Santa is a great idea, Charlie, and your contributions are sure to be appreciated. I did chuckle when I saw what your dog did to the tag. She could have chewed countless other items, I’m sure, but she chose that tag. How very Max-like. 🙂

  20. I have never been sure of the protocol for Secret Santa gifts and whether to reveal yourself or not – but would certainly have been happy to receive your beautiful jars with or without a name to match them to. What a shame about your smashed balls but the other gifts sound lovely!

  21. Such a great idea that Claire has initiated. Time just got the better of me. Maybe next year. Charlie I am still laughing about the dog eating the card. Bwhahah what are the odds?

  22. Thank you so much for my gift! They will be put on the Christmas table to share with my friends and family.

  23. Charlie your gifts rock my socks 😀
    Such good ideas!

    Choc Chip Uru


  1. […] including Chivda (An Indian Street Snack) from Deepa, a savoury apple sauce from Taryn, and Cranberry Sauce and Cherry Chutney from Charlie Louie graced the table at Christmas (well the sauces did, the Chivda was all mine). Little jars […]

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