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Secret sister gift ideas

Updated on September 17, 2014

What is a secret sister?

I have a Secret Sister. Every year we put our names in a bucket and draw the name of our "Sister". For the rest of the year, we find a monthly gift for our "Sister" and share them at our guild meeting. It is up to us to make sure that the rest of the Crafting and Quilt Guild knows when it's our "Sister's" birthday.

We have a monthly dollar amount that we are not to exceed and we can spend a little more for birthdays and Christmas. At the end of the year at our Christmas Guild meeting, we all fess up and we learn who our Secret Sister has been for the year.

We have about 20 people in our Cozy Cup Craft and Quilt Guild but not all of them are women. We also have a guy because last year we opened our membership to include crafts. Our newest member is a wonderful leather artist. Many in our group knit or crochet and one quilter also makes jewelry.

How to setup a Secret Sister Exchange

Each group is different so each will have different requirement. Secret Sisters or Pals are just a little treat that makes the group a fun place to be. I have been very fortunate in that my last three sisters have tickled me every month. Of course, I belong to a great group of people who appreciate each other and we enjoy our time together.

  1. Create a questionnaire that is tailored to your group. Ours includes the following questions:


    Favorite Color

    Favorite Animal

    Reading choices


    Favorite Food

    Favorite Cake

    Favorite Music

    Favorite Season

    Favorite Flower

    All of these tie into quilting or needlecrafts except for the cake. The cake is for birthdays and it's a little hard to sneak in a cake but we are pretty good at it.

  2. Mark the birthday on your calendar. In our group, there are only two times when we are allowed to exceed the $10.00 limit set for each month. Birthday's and Christmas have a $20.00 limit. It is also important to note what holidays are observed by your Secret Sister. Last year, I had a great time learning the Jewish holidays and finding gifts that celebrated her beliefs.
  3. We used matching paper bags our first year and all the gifts looked alike. For the past few years, we made matching fabric bags. The bags are reused each month so that the bag for the gift you received is used for the next month for your Secret Sister. We created tags that we attach to the bag to identity who the gift belongs too.
  4. Stick to the budget. It makes people uncomfortable when they see someone exceeding the limit. The limit makes it a level playing field for those with less money. The cost of handmade gifts may be more when you consider the time it takes to created a masterpiece. The choice is up to the giver but try to stay within the limits.
  5. Plan a time to reveal your Secret Sister is. We spend all year anticipating out Christmas Guild meeting when all will be revealed.

Secret Sister gift - January - BTW, when I bought this, all of it was on sale so I was under the limit.

SINGER 00218 Tape Measure, 60-Inch
SINGER 00218 Tape Measure, 60-Inch
This is what I gave my Secret Sister for January. Can you already see the theme? Her favorite color is pink.

Get to know your Secret Sister

If your Secret Sister is someone you don't know very well, the questionnaire is a big help. Others may be more well known and even go out of their way to make their wishes known. My Secret Sister stood up in our guild meeting and announced to the group that she wanted her Secret Sister to know that she didn't need any more yarn. Sitting there listening, I was a little off-put at first so I asked the person next to me ask what it was she really wanted. She stated that she is wanting to do a wall in her bedroom with crosses.

The more I thought about it, the better I liked it. I now have the whole year planned out and can get started on the gifts. Most of them I will make because those are the things she likes the best. I was very glad that I had not gotten her yarn. She makes and sells the most beautiful knitted and crocheted baby clothes.

Think beyond the questionnaire. I picked pink for the January gift and bought sewing supplies. She was delighted and so was I. The questionnaire is just a guide to stimulate the imagination. Listen when she talks. I know that she likes button jewelry and buttons in general. While looking at another site, I found a letter from the alphabet that was made with buttons and set in a photo frame. What if I took the same idea and make a cross with buttons and displayed it in a frame? Even better, what if I used pink buttons? For very little cost, I will be able to create something I know she will love.

Being a Secret Sister is actually more fun for the giver than it is for the receiver.

Secret Sister gift - February - Button Cross

Secret Sister gift - March - Shabby Chic Cross

Secret Sister Gift - April - Teacup pincushion

Added the Cross for Easter - My Secret Sister received the cross and the teacup pincushion. "Paid in Full" says it all.

It's Easter and religion is a large part of my Secret Sister's life. This is where I found the inspiration for the cross and the tutorial.
It's Easter and religion is a large part of my Secret Sister's life. This is where I found the inspiration for the cross and the tutorial. | Source

Secret Sister Girft - May

Slaps forehead, I forgot to take a picture. I found (on sale) a box of blue thread manufactured between 1909 and 1938. The original box was still in good shape and there were twelve wooden spools of thread. She was quite tickled.

Secret Sister Gift June

Didn't get a picture but I had found and purchased some vintage floral napkins. These made a great gift for June although at the time, I purchased them for me to add to a quilt. Oh well, she loved them and it gives me a reason to visit antique stores when I go on vacation.

Thanks Catherine! - The Christmas gift from my 2010 Secret Sister

Catherine does the most beautiful work and is an accomplished quilter. She made me placemats and a table runner that has been our featured Christmas decoration for the last two years.

Secret Sister Gift July - I didn't take a picture

I had an hourglass shaped vase so I filled it with buttons. I had a fat quarter in her favorite pink color so I covered the top and tied it closed with pink ribbon. Another simple, easy, impressive gift that I knew she would love.

Secret Sister Gift August - Button pins

July was a busy month so when the August meeting rolled around, I was not prepared. I sent my husband out to get thumbtacks. I rounded up some buttons and used my E-6000 glue to make the button pins.

That didn't seem quite good enough so I found an inexpensive cork board and then just added some of the things I had around the house. I cut a picture out of one of my quilt magazines and finished it off with one of the flowers I had made. Needless to say, she was quite impressed. It is even more fun because she still hasn't figured out that it is me.

Thanks Kathy! - Christmas 2011 brought me this wonderful gift

This incredible hand crafted bag is not only beautiful, it is a mix of all my favorite things on the questionnaire. It's pink, includes lots of cat fabrics and I have wanted one for more than a year. It has pockets inside large enough to hold my Kindle and I can stuff a whole project in it to take with me. What a delightful gift!

Secret Sister Gift September - Sharing something I already had

I bought this for me a long time ago to use in my teardrop trailer. I never got around to having it framed but my Secret Sister loves all embroidered things. This is quite old and could almost be vintage. It was done by a child in the 1950s. I love it so I knew she would too. I was right!

Secret Sister Gift October and November - Found two coat hooks and a bookmark

To continue with the cross theme, I found two coat hooks and a bookmark from Hobby Lobby. They have an amazing selection of crosses so it was not difficult to find items that I knew would appeal to my Secret Sister.

Secret Sister Gift December - I got her!

Teresa had no idea that I was her secret sister. I have been a crafter for decades but very seldom showed my skills to the quilters. This was a very fun year knowing she would not figure out it was me. When I gave her the gift, she jumped up and hugged me. All in all, a very special year. This cross was made with greenery and bulbs bought at a craft store. A little hot glue and it becomes a special Christmas decoration.

Comments are always welcomed

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    • Jogalog profile image


      7 years ago

      Secret sisters is a great idea. I love the gift ideas for any woman too.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      7 years ago from Ljubljana

      I bet you have a lot of fun with Secret Sisters. I love the idea:)

    • SophiaStar LM profile image

      SophiaStar LM 

      8 years ago

      What a wonderful idea! A sweet way to get know and honor each other, lovely!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      It is a fun thing to do, I had a Secret Santa through blogging a couple of years in a row and used to do some of the many swaps that are organized on blogs too.

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image


      8 years ago

      I love the idea of Secret Sisters! We do a gift exchange every year with vaguely similar rules, but I like the idea of small, personal monthly exchanges... what a great way to lift one another's spirits!


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