Bookish Secret Santas are the Best

Posted December 22, 2017 by Amber in Bookish Things, Memes / 13 Comments


One of my new favorite things in the world is Bookish Secret Santas.

Seriously, as a book lover, it’s frustrating when people ask you “so what do you want for Christmas” and you’re always like: “Books.  Books.  Books.  Books.” and then you get a scarf and you’re like

And of COURSE you appreciate it, but a scarf is definitely not books.

That’s pretty much why I was head-over-heels thrilled when I was organizing my books on LibraryThing (they’re a less social, more organizepalooza version of Goodreads – good for libraries) and I saw the new blurb for the annual SantaThing!

In short:  SantaThing is Secret Santa but for people who want books.

Here’s how it goes:
  1. Sign up for SantaThing!  They ask for your address (so books can be mailed to you).  At this time you choose how many dollars (pounds, isk, whatever) you want of books sent to you, and you pay it.  This is how much you will get! 10/10 good.
  2. Fill out the little survey thing!  This is where you talk about what you like, what you want, point people to Goodreads and your blog, threaten death for trashy romances, and ashamedly admit that you haven’t updated all your books to show what you actually own.  And you pick your bookseller, so you can use a big place like Amazon or an indie bookseller like Powell’s.
  3. You pick out books for your Santee!  This is the deal – LibraryThing matches you with people with similar tastes.  My Santee this year was someone who enjoyed fantasy and YA, and will read thrillers and horror short story compilations.  I HAD SO MANY IDEAS.
  4. LibraryThing processes all transactions.  They make sure you’re within the dollar amount, adding and subtracting as necessary.  They also make sure you didn’t pick out something horrible, like someone accidentally getting me a non-fiction book about fungi native to Portugal.  They make sure that doesn’t happen.  It didn’t.
  5. You wait for your books & rejoice when they arrive.  Last year, I got my books on December 23rd – all the way from Oregon (I’m in New England).  I opened them Christmas morning and loved them all.
Reasons why I really like going through here:
  • They make sure you get your books – If your SecretSanta is the worst and doesn’t fill out your form, one of the staff members will.
  • They’re shipped directly from the booksellers, so you don’t have to wait for regular parcel post and possible bad packaging.
  • They make sure you don’t get terrible books you clearly won’t like.
  • They double check your library to make sure you aren’t getting a duplicate (if your library isn’t up to date… that’s on you).
  • They match you with a like-minded person so you don’t have to awkwardly dive into your least favorite genres for something someone else will like.

In 2016, I was really happy with the books chosen for me… even if, shamefully, I have only read one of them.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo  

Leigh Bardugo and N.K. Jemisin were both new authors to me at the time, and obviously now I’ve discovered the Grishaverse because of this wonderful Santa person.  Howl’s Moving Castle has been on my TBR for an eternity, so I was thrilled to get that one as well.

When I open my books from this year’s SantaThing, I will definitely do an unboxing so y’all can see!

So why am I talking about SantaThing now?

This year, it’s a bit too late to jump into a bookish Secret Santa.  Unless you want to gather your friends and do one locally where things don’t have to be shipped.  Then yes, absolutely do it.

But next year, starting in November, keep your eyes peeled for book-centric Secret Santas.  The Broke and the Bookish do a huge one that opens for signups near the end of October, and SantaThing opens for signups usually the last week of November.

Or, if you are feeling quite adventurous, you can reach out to others in the book blogging community and see if they are interested in doing one with you!

This week’s Book Blogger Hop asked:

Have you ever asked co-workers to give you a book or B&N gift card if they got your name for a Secret Santa gift exchange? If so, did you get whet you asked for?


Short answer: Yes, this is running advice for anyone who ever wants to buy me a gift ever.  Which means the last time I was given a book was in 2007.  Except for that one time my husband bought me Armada for my birthday.


Do you participate in any bookish SecretSantas?

What books are you hoping for this Christmas?

What is your favorite book that was gifted to you?

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13 responses to “Bookish Secret Santas are the Best

  1. I annoy every single person in my life by asking for books for Christmas HA. But…theybmake such good giffftssss. You’ll have books forever and you can re-read and they fill up you bookshelves and mostly scarves are itchy. Ahhh i’m actually currently reading Howel’s Moving Castle so I can’t wait to hear your thought on it!! Happy Holidays ❤!

    • Amber

      Honestly I have so many scarves, I don’t know what to do with them all. And I only have a couple I really like? Books = better.

      Ooo, what do you think of Howl’s Moving Castle so far?

  2. I’ve done Secret Santas, both with The Broke and the Bookish twice, and at work once. I’ve only gotten books for presents from TBTB; at work, we had to give each other gifts from our store lol. It would be nice to get books every time from every person, but I’m afraid that it won’t be a book that I like, and I’d have to give it away or something lol. That’s happened before (not going to say who!!).

    **I posted this twice because my first comment got cut off lol. If you can delete the first one, that’d be great. Thx!

    • Amber

      I hope you work somewhere that you like the products they carry! I’d hate to work at a sporting goods shop and have that be the rule, but be completely unathletic! Lol. You got THUG from TBTB this year, right? I hope you really like it!

      • Danielle

        Well where I work now, I buy a lot of their products but they’re not books lol. We do have notebooks though! And yes I did get THUG this year from TBTBSANTA! It’s SOO good so far! I’m surprised at how short the chapters are, I’m already several chapters in and I started last night.

        • Amber

          Oh good! I’m glad you’re enjoying it!!! 🙂 I haven’t heard a single bad thing about it, but it’s still awesome to hear someone loving it. 😀

          • Danielle

            Yeah this may be the first book where it’s mostly all positive reviews and comments. That’s a first! 👏🏾🙏🏾🙌🏾✊🏾