11th Annual Broke & Bookish Secret Santa & Christmas Card Exchange

Posted October 23, 2020 by Jana in Blog Event, Bookish Little Christmas / 12 Comments

I am SO EXCITED to kick-off one of my favorite holiday traditions! As many of you know, Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) and I used to host this event together, but I hosted it by myself in 2019 to give Jamie some time to breathe. She has since decided to step away permanently, so That Artsy Reader Girl is now the official and forever home of Broke & Bookish Secret Santa.

I have made some minor changes and additions to the event this year, so please read this entire post carefully even if you’re a #TBTBSanta veteran.

Starting this year, I’ve decided to add a Christmas cards only exchange to #TBTBSanta! I’m super excited about this, and think it’s going to allow so many more people the opportunity to receive happy mail this season. 


This exchange is open internationally and you must be 18 years old or older. You can sign up to send 1, 5, or 10 cards and will receive the same in return. Please note that this will not be divided up by countries, so you might be sending internationally. You are more than welcome to sign up for this exchange in addition to a Secret Santa package.

I will be emailing you your list of card recipients by November 10th.

If you want to sign up for the Christmas card exchange, please do so through the following links:

1 card
5 cards
10 cards


1. Mail your cards by December 4th (ASAP if you’re sending internationally). The USPS typically takes 3-7 days to deliver snail mail within the USA, and we all know they’re struggling more than usual this year.

2. Once you have sent out all your cards, please fill out this form.

3. Include some way for your card recipients to find/contact you online! If you only include your mailing address and name, they won’t be able to figure out who you are unless they write back… and since that is not a requirement of this event you might miss out on a new friend. A Twitter handle or email address would be perfect.

4. Include the hashtag #TBTBSanta somewhere on the envelope or in the card so your recipient knows you’re from this event.


1. For safety purposes, you must be 18 or older to participate.

2. Please only sign up if you are committed to sending off a package on time. Really think about whether or not you’ll have the time and the money to send a thoughtful gift to your recipient–one you’d be happy to receive yourself. I really don’t want to hunt you down for not sending your package, or for sending one that does not meet the guidelines for the event. I keep track of those who do not follow the rules, and those people will not be allowed to participate in the future.

3. Be as thorough as possible in your questionnaire (no amount of info is too much). Please utilize the event hashtag on Twitter (#TBTBSanta) to ask questions, or reach out to the contact your recipient provides if you need help or clarification on what to send.

4. There are Google forms linked below in the “things to do” section for you to fill out when you have sent your package and when you have received your package. These forms will also be included in the email I send out with your recipient’s information.

5. A note to people outside of the USA : Please understand that I can’t guarantee that you will be assigned someone who lives in your country. I try to work it out geographically, but it all depends on who signs up and which level of package they sign up to send.

Countries are divided up into mailing groups to help with shipping costs. If you live in one of the locations listed below, you will be placed in that mailing group and could be sending to any of the countries listed in that group. If you sign up for a package type that nobody else close to you has signed up for, you might be placed in a different mailing group. If you are unsure as to whether or not you can afford the shipping, please do a little research before you sign up. I will continually update this post with a list of countries where participants are from (and which mailing groups they are in) so you can see where you might potentially be sending your package.

Mailing Groups:

– Canada (all package types)
– Europe Mailing Group 1: UK (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) and Ireland (packages B and C)
– Europe Mailing Group 2: Mainland Europe (The Netherlands, France, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Poland) (packages B and C)
– Australia (package C)

6. I’m capping this event at 150 participants this year.

7. I can’t ensure that you will not be assigned to someone you’ve been assigned to before, or who you’ve been paired with in other swaps/gift-giving events. It’s too hard for me to juggle that while also trying to pair you with someone you have something in common with.

If a family member is signing up for the same package type that you are and you want to make sure you are not paired with them, please note that at the top of your signup before the questionnaire so I see it immediately.

8. Please note that this is NOT a swap. You will not be sending to the same person who is sending to you.


(Although, let’s be honest. I’m not going to be pairing while I’m sleeping so if you sneak in on the morning of 11/6, I won’t mind. I will announce on Twitter when I begin pairings, and that will be the official close of sign-ups.)


To sign up, send an email to TBTBSecretSanta (at) gmail (dot) com answering the following questions. (NOTE: Please do not attach a document to your email. Just copy and paste your answers directly into the body of the email.)

  1. Full Name & Mailing Address (Exactly as it should appear on the mailing label)
  2. Please choose which gift you will be sending to your recipient (I will be grouping people accordingly, so you will be expected to send out what you choose here. Please note that ARCs have no monetary value and will, therefore, not count towards the item quantities listed here. Think of them as a fun bonus if you choose to include them.):
    A) 1 book and a small gift/goodie
    B) 1-2 books and a couple small gifts/goodies
    C) 2+ books and multiple small gifts/goodies
  3. Blog URL/YouTube channel: (If you’re not a blogger/YouTuber, put N/A)
  4. Social media handles/links: (Include any social media that will help your Santa get to know you. You MUST be active and not private on at least one social media platform, and preferably be on Twitter.)
  5. Are you planning to use the #TBTBSanta hashtag on Twitter during this event? (If you answer no, you will still be allowed to participate. This is just info for your Santa.)
  6. List of 10-15 books you’d like to read, or a link to a wishlist: (Please include old and new releases and please do not ask for books that have not been released yet. Make sure your Goodreads profile or Amazon wishlist is public at least for the time this event runs. Double check that your links work while logged out of your account. Please keep your wishlists separate if you participate in other swaps/secret people events.)
  7. Genres you read the most: (Specify YA, adult, etc. as well.)
  8. List of your bookish preferences: (a few favorite authors, things you will not read, if you prefer hardback or paperback, if you don’t care about book format at all, if you are okay receiving something not on your wishlist that your Santa thinks you would like, etc.)
  9. Food and other allergies:
  10. All the things about yourself: (Please tell your Secret Santa about yourself. The more they know about you, the better job they can do picking out your additional small gifts/goodies. For example: general info about yourself (job, age, school/major, family, pets, etc.), if you celebrate Christmas or not, your hobbies, your passions, music you love, smells or flavors you like/do not like, TV shows you watch, favorite movies, things you collect, fandoms you’re a part of, if you would love something native to where your Secret Santa lives, coffee/tea you like, candy/snacks you like, favorite colors, shoe/sock size, favorite patterns, your style/aesthetic, favorite animals, things you are obsessed with, etc. Also, if you have an e-reader and would be happy to receive ebooks or a gift card, mention that and include any email addresses associated with those accounts. The more info in this section, the better. I literally rejoice when I see a lot of words here.)
  11. Would you be able to send internationally if needed? (This question mainly applies to people in the USA, since I can’t guarantee that you will not be sending internationally if you live outside the USA.)
    Please answer with:
    A. Yes, I can.
    B. No, I cannot.
    C. Would prefer not to but will if needed (be careful with this one, as you could be shipping ANYWHERE)
    NA. I do not live in the USA, and understand that I might be sending internationally.
  12. Please confirm that you are 18 years old or older:
    a) Yes, I am.
    b) I am not.
  13. Have you participated in Broke & Bookish Secret Santa before, or is this your first time?:
  14. Please provide the contact information (name and Twitter handle/email address) of someone your Secret Santa can contact with questions about you: (This person does not have to know you well. They just have to be able to contact you with questions so I don’t have to relay information back and forth between you and your Santa. Please ask this person before you put their twitter handle or email address here so they are not confused. Please also ask this person to open their DMs on Twitter if you choose to include their Twitter handle as a way to contact them. If you have no idea who to ask to be your contact, post to the event hashtag and ask for volunteers. You’ll find one quickly and make a new friend at the same time!)
  15. Any questions, comments or additional things your Secret Santa (or I) should know.



1. It is recommended that you mail your package no later than December 10th (perhaps earlier if you are sending internationally). The earlier the better. For some people, what you’re sending might be the only thing they receive for Christmas. Whatever you choose to do, please ensure that their gift arrives to them before December 25th. If something comes up that causes you to be late, please email me and let me know. I don’t need all the details if it’s personal, but communication is super important in an exchange like this. I will always be empathetic, understanding, and respectful of your privacy. If I have to chase you down to find out why your recipient received nothing from you for Christmas, I will most likely ask you to not sign up next year. Exceptions will always be made if something catastrophic occurs, so if that happens please just talk to me when you are able so I can ensure that you and your recipient are ok.

2. Once you’ve sent your gift, please fill out this form.

3. Once you’ve received your gift, please fill out this form.

4. Be sure to thank your Secret Santa when you receive your gift. You can do this via social media or reach out to me for their email address. I know this should go without saying, but we’ve had some ungrateful people in the past who never reached out to their Santa to thank them or even acknowledged that they received their gift. That’s completely unacceptable, not to mention rude. Ungrateful people will be invited to not participate in this exchange in the future.

Another note on thank you’s… Please thank your Santa even if you do not plan to open your gift until Christmas Day (or any day other than the day you received it). Yes, you can’t personally thank them yet since you don’t know who they are, but please at least say you received it publicly on social media. Your Santa is likely stalking you, eager to know that their gift is safely in your hands and has not been stolen or lost. You can thank them again after you’ve opened your gift and discovered their identity.

5. If you have not received your package by January 4th please email me and I will attempt to contact your Secret Santa. Please understand that I will try my very best to work it out, but there is only so much I can do if someone decided to be a punk.

6. Please utilize the event hashtag #TBTBSanta to ask questions, post hints, thank your Santa, and share in your shopping/gifting/receiving/sending process! Show us what you got! It’s also really helpful to search your person’s handle with the hashtag and see all the questions they’ve answered and the gifts they received in previous years. 



1. Books can be new or used. Use your discretion as far as used books go, but please be kind and don’t send something you wouldn’t want to receive. They should be in very good condition. ARCs have no monetary value and should, therefore, only be included in addition to the number of books and goodies you committed to send.

2. When I say “goodies or small gifts”, I don’t mean free swag or promotional items. If you think your recipient would really love and appreciate these kinds of items, feel free to add them after you’ve put in some other thoughtful goodies. Please just make sure that those additional goodies are not all things anyone could have picked up at a book event or received from publishers in the mail.

3. Please do not send homemade or opened food items. Pre-packaged, store-bought foods are fine (and encouraged!). Any and all edible items (candy, teabags, etc.) must be wrapped/sealed in their original wrapping/packaging from the manufacturer. Sprinkling candy into the box like confetti is fine, it just needs to be individually wrapped to protect the health of your recipient.

4. Be thoughtful. 99% of the time the gifts are really sweet and thoughtful and what you would expect, but occasionally someone just throws random crap in a box and ships it off to fulfill their end. I’ve seen people receive expired face masks, for crying out loud. Don’t be like that. Gifts should be thoughtfully chosen based on your recipient’s questionnaire and wrapped nicely. There should be some sort of note or card included.

5. Please do not ship directly from Amazon or elsewhere (unless you talk to me first).

6. If you aren’t sure what kinds of things to add for the additional small gifts, peruse the #TBTBsanta thread on Twitter or Instagram to see pictures of packages from previous years. There are lots of good ideas!

Please ask any questions in the comments!!

TBTBSanta logo created with the help of Freepik

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12 responses to “11th Annual Broke & Bookish Secret Santa & Christmas Card Exchange

  1. Hey Jana, thanks so much for doing this again this year, I can’t wait to sign up! One question on the Christmas card exchange form: Do we put our Instagram/Twitter handle in the same space as the address, and then press enter to go to the next line, or is there somewhere else to put that additional link? I want to make sure I’m doing it right :) Thank you!
    Hannah recently posted…Let’s Talk Bookish: Diverse Books

    • Jana

      Hi Alexandra! Yes, the Christmas card exchange will happen again in 2021. :) IT was a big hit and people really loved it!