To end a turbulent year of radical ups and downs, December in St Andrews saw Transitions first (if not St Andrews first) town-wide Secret Santa! Linked to our St AndReuse project, the idea was for people to sign up sharing a sentence about themselves to help their secret Santa create the right gift for them. As much as possible we wanted people to embrace their creativity and make a gift from the madness of secondhand goodies donated to us from people decluttering or getting ready to leave town. A challenge, game and reward all at the same time – reusing secondhand to bring about gifts of a greener Christmas.

We had 15 people of all ages participate. Over the course of five days they each arranged with us to visit the sheds, pick out a random name, create their presents and drop them off with us so we can deliver them round town that Sunday (20 December).

Now for those of you that do not know the Transition team that well, we tend to go all in when it comes to making things fun! This time round, it meant going full Santa and delivering presents round town in the closest thing we have to reindeer and sleigh – our cargo bike! It was made extra fun with the help of our volunteer, Hannah McGinn, the self-declared elf for the day.

Santa waving down Scooniehill Road

In all honesty, for people that struggle with consumerism and waste Christmas is not the easiest time of year. For me, I for sure struggle with it. Last year I drove to Spain with a good mate of mine to live relatively off-grid over the festive period. However I feel that 2020 has helped me see the sparkle and hope it brings to people’s lives. And in the last month, I’ve come to really embrace it more so than I have in years.

Cycling round town, we had cars honk their horns, kids wave with glee and people break into involuntary big smiles. Of course the chats we had with people were a thing of pure magic. A special shout out to the bloke who questioned my big belly despite us cycling everywhere. What can I say, mince pies are the best! When we pulled up at the doors of our Secret Santa participants, well those smiles were another level of joy that we are greatful this end of year activity brought about. It is a shame we did not manage to catch everyone at their homes!

All in all, what a fun activity, a great week and a weird and wonderful Santa Sunday! Amazing effort by all the Secret Santas who took part and, who knows, maybe we will run another next year. MERRY CHRISTMAS!