Friday, December 23, 2011

Thanks to My Truly Secret Santa

Call me a Grinch: I have never participated in Secret Santa; I don't want to spend the time shopping for small gifts for someone I barely know and I really don't need any more clutter in my house. But this year, Santa found me anyway.

At the high school where I work, the teachers organize a "Secret Santa" program. The idea is, if you sign up, you are given the name of another employee and anonymously give them small presents for a week. On the fifth day, which was today, you stop by their classroom and give them their final gift.

Last week, much to my surprise, a small package appeared in my school mailbox with a card signed "your secret Secret Santa" It was a cute pair of Christmas socks. Later, another package: a tiny gift bag with a flowery memo pad. Finally this morning, when I walked into my classroom I saw on my desk a  large greeting card and a brown cardboard box. The card wished me a Happy Holiday and the box contained a cute scented candle.

Today, I emailed  with the Spanish teacher organizing this year's Secret Santa program. Were these gifts actually for me? Had the sender put them in the wrong mailbox and on the wrong desk? Perhaps this was all a mistake?

Nope, she told me during my hall duty. "I checked into it and this is from someone who is a wonderful person and wanted to give you gifts anonymously."

I don't know if my Secret Santa knows, but while I love teaching my students and like my supervisors a lot, I don't have many friends at work. The woman with whom I share a classroom is lovely as is a young lady who is an ESL teacher. A guidance counselor at the school has become a friend, too. But for the most part, the school still feels big and new and lonely and somewhat anonymous to me.

It is hard to put into words how very moved I am by this gesture. Did this person pick my name randomly? Apparently she doesn't want her identity revealed. How can I thank her? I am filled with a gratitude I don't know what to do with.

The only way she's giving me to express my thanks is for me to pass these gestures along. I've decided that next December, I will find a teacher or a neighbor or a parish member who is new, and somewhat shy, and be their truly Secret Santa.


  1. "The only way she's giving me to express my thanks is for me to pass these gestures along." That's what it's all about, isn't it? Not me, me, me like we see everywhere, but learning to give as we have been given to. Great post. I hope you find out who it was!

  2. Here's an idea...spend ten minutes a week, maybe half hour a week, getting to know the other employees a bit better. How did you end up here? Did you always know you wanted to be a teacher? What's the best/worst part of your job? What kind of family do you have?
    The "wonderful person" is trying to let you know you aren't so alone after all. You can pay her / back perhaps by allowing yourself to be vulnerable...maybe? I mean maybe there's another teacher there just crying for YOUR reaching never know.