Give or Gift Charity Secret Santa
Make your Secret Santa gift count this year by choosing to receive a charity donation instead of a gift.

Secret Santa gift giving can be a great way to keep costs down at Christmas, but it can also lead to a huge amount of money wasted on small gifts that end up unused or in the bin.

UK Money Bloggers, a network of leading personal finance and money saving bloggers, has partnered with BT MyDonate to offer you an alternative use for your present fund.

Instead of your Secret Santa guessing what to buy for you when they pick your name out of the hat, you can make it easier by asking for a donation to charity instead using #GiveOrGift.

We’re supporting six charities this year with the money raised evenly split between them. So a £5 donation plus Gift Aid will see each of the following receive just over £1:

  • The Trussell Trust (food poverty)
  • Shelter (housing and homelessness)
  • Citizens Advice (money and legal help)
  • Children in Need
  • Stand up to Cancer
  • DEC (humanitarian crisis)

Read more about the charities

With #GiveOrGift, the thought really does count.

How does #GiveOrGift work?

If you want to run #GiveOrGift at your workplace or with friends and family, download our Secret Santa pack.

Here you’ll find sign up sheets that allow the Secret Santa organiser to list everyone taking part. You then get to tick next to your name if you want your Santa to give to charity on your behalf, or if you’d like to receive a gift.

How do I donate?

If you’ve been allocated someone who wants you to give to charities on their behalf, simply donate the present fund at BT.com/GiveOrGift. You can print out a giving certificate so there’s something to handover on the day everyone exchanges presents.

How much should I donate?

Generally, a Secret Santa has a price cap of between £5 and £10, though it can be higher. It’s really whatever you decide as a team.

Sorry, go back a bit – how does Secret Santa work?

Generally, everyone taking part in Secret Santa puts their name in a hat. Everyone is then randomly allocated someone else’s name, and that’s who they need to buy a gift for. It’s “Secret Santa” as everyone keeps to themselves who they buy for. We’ve explained more in our #GiveOrGift Secret Santa pack.

What’s wrong with Secret Santa?

Secret Santa isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Among close friends it can be a fun and thoughtful way to exchange presents without breaking the bank. But it can also lead to people buying for someone they don’t really know, resulting in presents that don’t get used or thrown in the bin.

We think that’s a waste of money and we wanted to find an alternative way for that money to make a difference.

Can I only donate if I’m taking part in a Secret Santa?

No, if you’d like to ask other people for a donation instead of a gift, that’s fine. Just send them to BT.com/GiveOrGift to make their donation. They can print a #GiveOrGift certificate if they’d like to give you something when you exchange gifts. You can also donate directly yourself – perhaps instead of sending Christmas cards or just because you want to!

What else can I do?

It would be great if you can spread the word. Tell your friends and share this post on social media with the hashtag #GiveOrGift. You can follow UKMoneyBloggers and BT MyDonate on social too to keep track of the campaign.

What if I want a gift?

If you and your colleagues or friends are taking part in #GiveOrGift for Secret Santa and you would like your Santa to buy a present for you, just tick “Gift” on the #GiveOrGift sign up sheet. 

What is UK Money Bloggers?

UK Money Bloggers is a community of money saving, money making and personal finance bloggers. We work together through collaborations, events and campaigns to help our readers with their money matters. Check out our blog to learn more about the bloggers involved.

Why have you partnered with BT MyDonate?

BT MyDonate is a charity donation website with more than 4,000 charities listed. Unlike other similar sites, BT MyDonate doesn’t take a cut of your donation or charge charities a fee to be listed, meaning more of your money goes where you want it to go – something really important to us as money bloggers.

BT MyDonate is run by BT, which put its profits into running the website.

To make your donation, head over to BT.com/GiveOrGift