Okay, okay, I know it’s October, but when Debenhams got in touch to see if I wanted to join in with their blogger Secret Santa challenge, I started to get really excited about Christmas. You see, the best part about Christmas for me is giving to others; whether that’s gifts, food or time, and it’s what makes me so happy at this time of year. Just thinking about all the fun times ahead with my friends and family gives me a warm glow and stops me needing to put the heating on for another week or two!I love preparing for Christmas and the anticipation just keeps building during the run-up to December (my favourite month because it’s also my birthday!). Thankfully, I’m not alone in my child-like over-excitement; all my friends and family are big fans of the festive season too. There a no ‘bah humbugs’ in my life so I think I’ve chosen my pals wisely! So it’s not unusual for me to be adding yuletide events to my calendar as early as August and, you guessed it, I’ve already been shopping for a few festive bits ‘n’ bobs. So while it may seem rather early to start sending out Secret Santa gifts, I think that the Debenhams Christmas gifts challenge has come at just the right time for me.I was super-excited to find out who I would be buying for last week and squealed with delight when the email came through. It was time to shop! I was paired up with a talented blogger whose gorgeous blog impressed me no end; her foodie recipes look delicious, her photography is amazing and the design of her website is inspiring. I scrolled through pages of stunning food posts and tried to learn a little more about my giftee before starting to shop.With just a little bit of stalking (thank you instagram and twitter!) I learnt that my giftee is a vegan, the ultimate foodie, in her twenties and loves animals. She’s a published writer with a beautiful recipe book under her belt, and her photos showed me that the kitchen is her favourite place. So when I started browsing the selection of gifts online, I headed straight to the bakeware section. Knowing that my giftee is a vegan certainly helped because it allowed me to focus on something I hoped she would like – a fruit blender. I also picked up a range of prettily painted jars, ceramic sifter and floral measuring spoons, all of which reminded me of the delicate design of her blog logo. Of course, I’m sure there’s much more to my secret Santa than her cooking, so I browsed the shoe section to find a pretty pair of sparkly pumps ready for the party season. I was so excited about choosing gifts for my giftee that I totally forgot that someone out there was buying something for me too! So when a parcel arrived yesterday with my name on it, I was totally surprised and couldn’t wait to rip it open. I couldn’t believe just how “me” everything in my Secret Santa package was – someone had really done their homework!My Secret Santa had taken care to browse my blog and learn about me before shopping for some special gifts and it certainly paid off. She’d discovered that I loved cooking – she probably guessed that from my regular Pieday Friday blog posts, eh? – and had bought me a cute little recipe book full of my favourite things to make: cakes, biscuits and buns! The very thoughtful blogger who’d picked out my gifts has also taken inspiration from my kitchen makeover blog posts as she’d selected a floral apron and oven gloves in the exact colours of my newly-decorated kitchen; duck-egg blue and sunshine yellow, with splashes of pink. The fact that my old oven gloves were covered in caked-on cookie dough (I’d failed miserably at trying to remove the stains over the years!) and desperately needed replacing is something that my Secret Santa couldn’t possibly have known, unless she was really observant while looking through my kitchen photos! I was really surprised to find so many gifts in my parcel and you can imagine how excited I was when I tore open the paper on my final present and saw a Caravan Trail box! My fabulous gift-giver had spotted my love of caravans (not that I hide it particularly well…) and must have dug a little deeper to find photos of my Caravan Trail crockery collection. I don’t already have this range of floral mugs and they will fit into my collection seamlessly. I am super-impressed with my Secret Santa’s ability to suss me out and I’m touched that someone I’ve never met took so much time and effort to pick out gifts that she knew would make me happy. What a wonderful woman she must be – I’m going to track her down for a big virtual thank you hug. I only hope that my giftee is equally as pleased with the Christmas gifts I chose for her, fingers crossed. I loved joining in with this Secret Santa challenge and am feeling so festive right now – time for a candy cane hot chocolate methinks. Happy Christmas everyone!