Secret Santa

My Secret Santa is awesome

Secret Santa

I’ve read that more than a hundred UAE residents have signed up for the UAE Secret Santa. Strangers are being paired, one is a Secret Santa who buys a gift for his/her Santee. Wouldn’t it be fun? I will be someone’s Secret Santa while I am a Santee to someone. Get it?

Participants are required to make a wish list and I did list some of my favorite things. A wish is a wish so I wrote some things that are way beyond the minimum price requirement because, it is after all, a wish. Most of the communication between Secret Santas and Santees are done via Twitter with the help of @uaesecretsanta which I must say, have done a GREAT job at organizing this fun event, connecting people and giving the holidays that extra spark of excitement. 

The gifts are to be sent out before December 31st. I sent out mine before Christmas and was received by my Santee with joy (whew!). Now I was waiting in anticipation for any sign from my Secret Santa. Yesterday, I got a message from Twitter that someone from the organizers is going to deliver it for me and we arranged a date…Christmas day!

I got a call from someone from the UAE Secret Santa Society (heh, I like the sound of THAT) right when I was taking a nap (no, a food coma actually), so I missed plenty of calls. Sorry!! I brought two equally excited kids out to meet someone outside our apartment building. There were 3 gift bags inside the car, I mean, SLEIGH so I asked, “So, you’ll be busy delivering other gifts after this?”

UAE Secret Santa

To which the reply came…”No, they’re ALL YOURS!”

What? All three beautiful gift bags, MINE?! To be honest, expected to get either of the newly released books from Paulo Coelho or Nicholas Sparks as they were on top of my list. But then I got BOTH books…and then MORE.

secret santa

I think it is safe to say that I have been good this year? Well actually, very good if we are going to judge by the Christmas stash I got!

From a stranger.


EDITED (after awakening): It was so selfish of me to say and declare, “Oh, I’ve been so good, that’s why I got these wonderful gifts!”. And I want to apologize for that. My Secret Santa is NOT my mother, father or husband, I am pretty sure of that so he/she has no idea if I had been really good (and if I were, that did not give me the license to be gifted this grand, right?). The ultimate reason why I got all these gifts (almost all + more of what’s in my wish list!) is because my Secret Santa is good. That is the most accurate way to say it.

P.S. I still don’t know who my Secret Santa is.

I am still turning the gifts one by one to see any hint from where they came from. My Secret Santa was very generous and I am so moved! My favorite things, including Lindt chocolates (there are actually 5 boxes but my son got one and ran away with it so there are only 4 boxes in the photo)! 

UAE Secret Santa

My Secret Santa also supports my goal of a fitter 2015! I included gloves I needed to use for lifting weights in my wish list. The dumbbells from the workouts I’ve been doing are giving me callouses in my hands, especially below my ring finger! Then a heart rate monitor I’ve been wanting to have for the longest time! But hey, my Secret Santa is WISE and knows for sure that all work and no play makes Grace a dull girl so he/she threw in some chocs (no less than LINDT). Well played, Santa, well played!

gift boxes

Even the boxes were all sparkly and colorful! I love everything and can’t help but scream and scream as I opened the ones wrapped in paper inside the boxes. The children helped me with this exciting task too.

opening gifts from secret santa

It’s so sweet to get things you really wanted, the thought really counted and this one is very well thought of! And again, very, very generous too. I mean, VERY.

So, I can go on and on and make you jealous but I need some investigation to do. WHO is my Secret Santa? I have turned each of the things to see a little note or a hint and have found none, as of yet. I may not be able to sleep tonight because I may not ever know who he/she is! If he/she wanted to be known, he/she would’ve used a delivery company to get my presents to me! But he/she used someone to deliver it to me personally…hmmm. Sneaky.

snow globe

Anyway, I am THANKFUL. My daughter asked me, “WHY, what did you do and you got all these good stuff?”

I’d like to think that I’ve done something good to someone, somewhere, some time – there could never be any other explanation why I deserved this. That was what I told my girl. I always believed that if you have done something good, it will come back to you. Karma, good or bad comes in circles. Maybe. Most probably. 

So, Secret Santa, I know you are reading this (you have been stalking my blog and my social media channels pretty well to know what tickles my fancy!). Thank you very much, you made me really happy. I thought surprises were overrated but nah, this was a really, really good one! Merry Christmas to you if you are celebrating!

Top photo credit

Beach time

Back to the everyday grind

happy happy

Hello again, friends! Sorry for the long blog hiatus – we had a few days of holidays for the Islamic celebration of Eid Al-Adha. Holidays would mean I am at home and when I am at home, it’s not a holiday. You know what I mean?

I had 4 days of off from work and with the husband having odd hours of work schedule for this busy season of shopping (he works at a mall), it’s just me and the kids. It’s a pity he has to work until 3 am. I could not imagine being able to do the same!

Anyway, the children are just too happy to be able to finally go out and play. Just feel the fresh grass under their little feet.

feet on grass

Or bask in the sun.

bask in the sun

Those simple joys.

We also went to the beach so we woke up early on the first day of Eid. Actually, someone was really excited and slept with her swimming costume on! We left the house at 8:00 am, even then I thought we were already ‘late’. This is not a regular Friday (our off here) but the first day of Eid holidays and ALL will be headed to the beach now that the Dubai weather is entering gorgeous on the thermometer. Jumeirah Beach Park opens at 8 am but at 8:30 when we arrived, there were already 6 or 7 vehicles queuing to enter the park.

run run at jbp

The children are just too happy to be roaming around free and they can run as much as they can.

And when we got to the beach? They don’t want to ever come out, especially Benjamin!

Beach time

We had a great family time at the beach and at the park, completely avoided the crowded malls, that were open for 24 hours, by the way for the two days of Eid. Now it’s back to work, school, traffic and our daily grind. When is the next long vacation?


Lastly, so sorry for waiting! The winner of the $50 towards a custom hand-drawn watercolor giveaway from Noomiedoodles is…entry #24 (drawn at random by Rafflecopter): Elizabeth H.! Congratulations, Elizabeth. Enjoy your prize! And thank you everyone for entering.

A Dubai holiday that could be free!

Talk about the law of attraction! A close friend of mine have been toying on the idea of spending her Easter holidays in Dubai for a while but worried about the costs. I was like, wouldn’t it be nice if you could come for free, somehow? She has been saving up for this trip and a few work overtimes here and there, she says she’s ready! I am excited. I haven’t seen her in a very long time and she is one of my best buddies in high school.

I helped her plan her vacation around from plane tickets to tours, to hotels – no need actually since she’ll be staying with me! I guess this is one of the perks when you have a friend on  your travel destination! I would be more than happy to accommodate her although we both might not be getting enough sleep and spend the late nights talking, talking and talking! We’ve got like, 20 years of catching up to do!

Anyway – back to traveling for free. My favorite radio station here has announced a really awesome contest where you could win a free trip to Dubai for a friend (or family)! All that’s needed to do is send an SMS and if you’re picked, they would fly your friend (or family member) from anywhere in the world to Dubai, spend 3 glorious days under the sun and staying at a posh hotel, all expenses paid! The contest runs for 4 weeks and they will be picking one winner everday.

You know me, I’d get sms’ing!!