Home For The Holidays + Clever ‘Secret Santa’ Gift Ideas

Now that we’ve been in our house for a little over one year, I feel like I’ve gotten a firm grasp over holiday decorating this time around. Although I loved last year’s Christmas setup very much, we’ve since accumulated less space in the living room with the addition of Levi & her things. Shockingly, we have less plants now than we started out with last October…it’s been a busy year to say the least. Needless to say, I decided to spend more time on the exterior decor and as a result, sadly opted to skip getting a Christmas tree this year because we truly have zero space in our home and our dog still eats EVERYTHING that hits the floor. The tree wouldn’t stand a chance unfortunately. Maybe next year when we replace our couch with something more size-appropriate – by then, we’ll have more available tree space + an almost 2-year-old pup that hopefully will avoid chewing any low hanging branches.

So here’s what I did with the exterior doorsteps of our home, as well as this year’s fireplace mantle reusing most of last year’s existing decorations (garland, indoor lights, etc.) I also decorated the entry table leading to our bedroom space, which proved to be a fun & worthwhile project in itself.

Miniature Trees, Spiral Topiaries, Wreath, Garland, Plaid & Striped Bows – all from Lowes’

Welcome Gingham Doormat | Winter Trees Doormat | Striped Rug Mat | Black Solar Lanterns | Vintage Sleigh Sign

Because we don’t have outdoor electric, I went a little nuts when I discovered these battery-operated string lights to wrap around all the greenery. I ended up buying ~15 boxes (each 33 ft long) in order to have lights strung along our driveway split rail fence. The only thing I’ll say is that you ought to place the battery packs for each light set in a ziplock bag to keep them from getting wet, as I’ve already had one of them short circuit when it’s protective bag wasn’t properly sealed & subsequently blew off one stormy night. But other than that, these battery string lights are pretty great! They come with remote controls, timer capability & 8 different light settings.

For the miniature trees – I wrapped them in these battery-operated fairy twinkle lights. I got both the yellow and white LED colors, and found the yellow was much easier on the eyes (white was way too bright.)

As I mentioned earlier, a majority of our Holiday decor for the inside is from last year’s setup – purchased at either HomeGoods or The Christmas Shoppe at Sickles Market.

One of the newest additions to the mix is the incorporation of all these flickering LED battery tea lights in the fireplace itself. Because ours is currently out of commission, nor would we comfortably have fires inside even if it was operational (would be way too hot), I got creative with the use of these various tea light sizes. I picked up two decorative bundles of birch logs to act as wood and placed one of the decorative lanterns (also LED battery-operated) on the grate inside and staggered all the rest among it. Turning all of them on/off isn’t the most fun part, but it’s totally worth it for how it looks once everything is flickering about. Super cozy vibes all around.

Now let’s get on to the clever “Secret Santa” gift ideas to consider if you’re still in the market for giving a more casual, yet meaningful present that’s easy on the wallet.

For the Coffee (or Tea) Lover — put together an assortment of artisan brews/blends for the receiver to try, along with a festive mug or two to enjoy them in. I found such cute, affordable and seasonal serveware at HomeGoods along with vintage-inspired ribbon to create a bow or two with. You can package these all up on a festive tray or baking bowl, something that can also be used in the kitchen over a gift box. If you want to add an accessory or two, I recommend these coffee scoops that double as clips for the bag as well as this battery-operated milk frother – perfect for the home or the office!

For the Sweet Tooth — there’s nothing better than homemade cookies, especially ones that are made with gourmet chocolate like Godiva! Of course, you can simply bake using original chips and gift the chocolates in addition. That’s always a nice touch in case the receiver isn’t the biggest fan of your cookie choice (although I don’t know many people who are against the OG Choc Chip.)

For the Knick-Knack Enthusiast — There are so many cute, funny things that take the ordinary a step above its status quo. For example, dressing up a nice bottle of wine (or champagne) in a seasonal “bottle outfit” to elevate the festive nature of its gifting. I also came across these adorable, personal letter boards that would make for great stocking name tags or cute ornaments – they came with several letters and symbols to interchange to his/her liking.

For the Sensory One — Nothing beats a holiday candle, especially a 3-wick jumbo one. FYI: I personally find the soy-blended candles burn the best (or anything from NEST Fragrances) in terms of actually smelling what you’ve struck a match to. In addition to the candle itself, a cute candle wick trimmer accessory would pair so nicely as well as prove very handy to allow for even burning. In case you didn’t know that trick…

You can also go the flame-free route with an equally-pleasing reed diffuser option. I like using these over candles at most times because I’m always nervous about open fire with curious pets in the house. I also worry I’ll forget to blow them out, therefore rarely lighting them at all to avoid panic. I’m sure you know there aren’t many reputable diffusers out there (sadly) but I’m VERY confident in this brand below — Antica Farmacista. I’ve been buying scented reed diffusers from them for years and always satisfied with my purchases. This holiday trio set is particularly exquisite to the olfactory senses. My personal fave is the White Spruce – legit smells like a Christmas Tree Farm.