Tis the season for Secret Santa's. Love them or hate them, schools, offices, community groups, and more are embarking on the holiday tradition. Secret Santa's can be difficult or awkward at times, especially if you don't know the person you have selected. Other times, it is a perfect fit, and everyone walks away ecstatic.

We just did our Secret Santa here at Townsquare, and everyone seemed ecstatic over their presents. I'm really excited about my gift: a $25 gift card to Darkside Records in Poughkeepsie. I used to gig there prior to the pandemic, so I have a lot of good memories over there. I also bought a bunch of movies and CD's from there, too. A buddy of mine has been bugging me that we need to take a trip over there. Now I have a really good excuse! Thanks Alison! :)

The Secret Santa got me thinking about gift exchanges of the past, and one moment from high school was really unique.

My Most Memorable Secret Santa Gift

Back in high school, a group of friends wanted to hold our own little Secret Santa. When it came time to exchange the presents, I received my chocolate along with one or two other small things, but the final part was what stuck out the most. With the gift was a miniature of Burl Ives' Sam the Snowman from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. 

Conor Walsh
Conor Walsh







The iconic character has been gracing our television screens since 1964, and filling our hearts with Christmas cheer each year; however, this was a very specific present. Earlier that month, I was in a Christmas performance at school where I was dressed up as Sam the Snowman. I repurposed an inflatable Stay Puft Marshmallow Man costume, added a vest, bought an appropriate hat, and wore fake white facial hair reminiscent of the character.

Conor Walsh
Conor Walsh







Seeing the little plush was like seeing a "mini-me" in a way. It was a sweet gift, and it was certainly a highlight of that season. It just goes to show that you don't have to go too expensive or over the top to come up with a thoughtful gift. Sometimes all it takes is just paying attention to the little things.

So, Hudson Valley, what have been some of your most memorable Secret Santa gifts?

2022 Holiday Happenings in the Hudson Valley

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and the Hudson Valley is the perfect place to be! From beautifully decorated mansions to illuminated light shows, gather friends and family to check out some great holiday festivities. Join the fun, get to make memories and even more traditions. Check out this guide for what is happening this winter in the Hudson Valley.

My Top 14 Alternative Christmas Songs

Some are humorous, while others are quite meaningful. Regardless, these are 13 Christmas tracks you won't always hear on the radio, but will sure get you rocking this holiday season!

Hudson Valley's Ranking for the Best Kind of Christmas Cookie

We asked, and you answered! These are the Top 10 kinds of cookies Hudson valley residents say they enjoy the most around the holidays!