Ho Ho Ho! Chick Chat: Secret Santa Edition

We Chicks love a celebration, and usually, we don’t even need a reason to throw confetti and clink our glasses in cheers. However, with the most wonderful day of the year upon us, we decided to shout ’tis the season in the most jolly of ways: with a Secret Santa gift exchange! Read on to find out who gifted whom, and see if there’s anything that you want to add to your holiday wish list.


I was super happy when I pulled my sister-in-shoe-love in the Secret Santa grab! When I started thinking about what to get for Brooke, two words came to mind: Mom and baker. I’m sure you’ve gathered from her posts that Brooke is this awesome mom, and we have long shared a love of baking, specifically with our kids. So I themed my gift around that, with a touch of running in the mix. I found a t-shirt that that perfectly captured how I see Brooke, as a mother and an athlete. And as for baking, I sent her a my great-grandmother’s recipe for Sugar and Spice cookies, which are a Christmas staple in my house. I don’t give the recipe out to just anyone, since it’s been in my family for decades, I was happy to share it with a member of my Scoot a Doot family. Merry Christmas, B!

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I had a few ideas once I pulled Vic’s name but I hadn’t settled on anything specific. Early one morning, I was doing my daily “window” shop on the Anthro site (as one does) and came across this travel bag for fitness enthusiasts. Basically, the bag folds into a tiny pouch, taking up minimal room in your suitcase, and once you’ve run, yoga’d, hiked or whatever, you store your clothes and shoes in the bag for your return trip home. The lining of the bag keeps any stink or moisture from the rest of your suitcase. It took me about 30 seconds to decide that this was the perfect gift for Vic. She regularly travels for races (I got to see her for two of her three trips to Orlando this year and I’ll see her for at least two runcations next year) but doesn’t always get to do laundry on those trips. I hope she gets to use it a lot in 2014- come back and see me soon! Merry travels and Happy Christmas, Vic!



I was paired with the lovely Cam for our Secret Santa fest! I know I could have a blast here, as Cam is super-cool, laid-back and would be pleased with anything I sent her way. The pressure was off, so after consulting with another chickadee, I decided to get Cam something from Oiselle, the company I run for!

I love Oiselle and think everyone needs at least one item from the amazing Seattle-based company! So I picked a lovely indigo Runfinity scarf for Cam! (I really wanted to get her an orange one because Scoot chicks love orange – see our Scoot shirts – and Ragnar loves orange, and Cam loves Ragnar. Do you follow my rambling logic here? But alas, there were no orange scarves to be found… besides, indigo is far more versatile, right?!)

Anyhoo, I love scarves and wear them regularly in the winter so I knew Cam needed one too! Enjoy and Merry Christmas lady!!



I was given Meridith for secret Santa and I literally thought of about a hundred things I would have liked to give her. There were a lot of goodies in my various online carts but when I saw the Ragnar Pro Compression socks came in hot pink, well I knew they’d be perfect for my favorite future Ragnarian. 2014 is the year we shall Ragnar together!



Brooke introduced me to the Alex and Ani company back in September during our Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation running streak when she picked up on of the bangles for our top fundraiser, Megan. I was so impressed with their positive messages and great customer relations through social media (so important!); I love the idea of supporting them.

Jess and I share a love of words and when I saw this Alex and Ani bracelet, I knew it had to be hers. We’ve been through lots of together over the past three years and the message of this bangle What’s for you will not pass you and I feel like it really applies. She and I both have obsessive personalities and together I think we’ve learned that good things happen with time, persistence, and also patience. Finding that balance can sometimes be daunting and I think this quote is a good reminder in achieving that balance.

However, this whole message of what’s for you will not pass you is a bit ironic, as the USPS tracking on the priority package shows that it went from New Jersey to Virginia. Last I checked, Virginia isn’t exactly en route to California, land of Jess. So the bracelet hasn’t exactly PASSED Jess, it just hasn’t arrived yet. *taps foot impatiently* Fortunately, her birthday present made it there on time so you can check that out! I got her this super cute, Kate Spade wallet in Vivid Snapdragon, which I think is very close to the Patone Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid. Holla!

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For those who don’t know, Bec is a fabulous cook. I wish I could say that I’ve had the privelege of eating her food, but I’m certain I will someday. My stomach is counting on it!

Of course, when I pulled her name, the first thing I thought of was “cookbook!” But there are a bajillion (literally) cookbooks out there in the world, so I checked with some in-the-know friends and they pointed me to The Fresh 20. What I love about this one in particular is that it focuses on using organic, non-processed ingredients for easy, healthy, delicious meals. Plus, there are 20 ingredients in the entire book, so it’s not overwhelming.

Happy cooking, Bec! I will be at your front door at 5:30 tonight.


Do you Secret Santa? I’ve (Brooke) been doing a gift exchange with my best girls for ten years. This year, we decided to scrap the gift part and keep the food and cocktails. I can’t wait! What’s your favorite holiday party drink? Cheers!

All I want for Christmas

Editor’s Note: This is not another holiday gift guide. Or is it?

I used to love holiday shopping, heading out amidst the bustling crowds to find the perfect gift for a loved one.

I loved the challenge of the hunt, finding great deals while humming Christmas carols and wrapping each perfect prize in stunning packaging.

My joy on Christmas morning wasn’t about tearing open my own packages under the tree. I loved watching others open their gifts, to witness the joy on a loved one’s face when they unwrapped “the perfect gift.”

santaMe, J and Santa on Christmas Eve a few years back

Somewhere along the way, something changed. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to surprise my friends and family with gifts, particularly when they least expect it. Honestly, it’s such a great joy. But rather than buy my husband another kitchen gadget he doesn’t need, or get my father another book he won’t actually read (but will tell me he did), I’d rather spend time with my loved ones.

I’d rather travel to see them, or better yet, plan to travel somewhere together.

My sister and I stopped exchanging shortly after she moved to Australia. We gift each other when we get together, every few years. I still regularly buy food treats for my parents, as they no longer swap holiday gifts with each other.

I often find random prizes for Meri, and send them along a short time later. (Guess why? Shhh! I can’t keep a secret!) But for the past two Christmas seasons, Meri and I have given each other race entries — specifically entries to a destination race we then run together. In 2012, we headed to Florida for runDisney’s Princess Half Marathon, Meri’s first. And this year, we went to California, where we ran runDisney’s Tinkerbell Half Marathon. (Do we see a trend here?)

Last year, my hubs called a holiday gift-giving truce with his family a few weeks before Christmas. At first I was upset, as I’d already finished shopping for half of the family. Then, I realized, it wasn’t a bad idea.

We had started to focus too much on the gifts we open rather than the people we are blessed enough to have in our lives. In many cases, we were just exchanging gift cards, since we’d gotten busy or were at a loss of what to buy.

treeWhat do we put under the tree?

And often, we weren’t making time in our busy schedules to spend time together. So it all changed for 2013.

We’re not exchanging in my home. We don’t need more stuff. We’re going to enjoy each other, travel and experience life, together.

20131207-215953.jpgEnjoying the season at Rochester, NY’s holiday season kickoff last weekend

Do you love to shop at the holidays? What’s your gift-giving strategy?