St AndReuse Secret Santa delivers a Greener Christmas

Transition University St Andrews staff deliver free, personalised, second-hand gifts on a cargo bike for Christmas

Transition University St Andrews staff took to an electric cargo bike dressed as Father Christmas to The magic of Christmas has come early to St Andrews as members of Transition University St Andrews staff took to an electric cargo bike dressed as Father Christmas to deliver Secret Santa gifts across the town. The gifts were made up of things donated by people throughout the year to St AndReuse, a project that has seen more than 40 tonnes of discarded clothes and household goods distributed in and around St Andrews since 2009, saving over 200 tonnes of CO2e and £500,000 for people’s pockets.

During last year’s Covid restrictions Transition held their first (if not St Andrews first) town-wide St AndReuse Secret Santa. This year people across the university and local community took part choosing gifts for one another. This festive idea encourages people to sign up via the St AndReuse Facebook group or the Transition UStA website sharing 3 things about themselves to help their secret Santa make the right gift for them. Participants then drop by Transition’s St AndReuse store based in University Hall to look through the discarded items and personalize a present for their chosen recipient. The gifts were delivered on the organisation’s electric cargo bike for free by staff dressed as Santa.

As much as possible we wanted people to embrace their creativity and make a gift from the madness of second hand goodies donated to us by people decluttering or getting ready to leave town. A challenge, game and reward all at the same time – reusing second hand to bring about gifts of a greener Christmas,” said the projects coordinator, Sam Woolhead.

While Secret Santa is only for the winter period, StAndReuse is an all-year round activity run by Transition, the St Andrews Environmental Network and the University of St Andrews. Each year the project collects up to 6 tonnes of donated household goods from university halls. These items are then rehomed through pop-up giveaway events, weekly drop-in sessions and by supporting charities such as Fife Gingerbread with home starter packs.

St AndReuse is a town-wide project aiming to tackle waste and save people money with the sharing, swapping and reusing of pre-loved or second hand things. Except for our clothing swap and sales event everything we giveaway is entirely for free. The pandemic has really challenged our way of working but also forced us to be creative and explore new ways of reaching out to people. Our version of Secret Santa emerged so we could continue rehoming items and also put a smile on people’s faces.” explained Sam.

To find out more got to the website’s St AndReuse page: