As You a Santa in Disguise? Adopt a Heart or Letter and Make a Difference!



Would you like to make someone’s holiday season a little merrier? Do you have some extra time or money to spend on a child or family in need? Would you like to make a child’s wish come true?


Although the holiday season is often viewed as a time of joy, gathering and hope, for many of our Sonoma County neighbors, the upcoming holiday can provide great stress as parents try to make ends meet, especially in a difficult COVID environment.

If you’d like to make a difference in the life of an individual, child or family, Sonoma County’s Secret Santa Program is a great place to start!


What is Secret Santa?

It’s simple! Sonoma County’s Secret Santa is a nonprofit gift-giving program, providing gifts and holiday cheer to those less fortunate in our community.

Secret Santa has been bringing joy to people throughout Sonoma County for over 30 years, ensuring that children, teens, adults, and seniors who would not otherwise receive a holiday gift have reason to celebrate and experience the compassion and generosity of their community.


How It All Began…

The GIVING TREE began in 1988 at the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County with gift wishes for individuals on Red Heart Ornaments displayed on trees around Sonoma County. KZST started the SECRET SANTA program in 1990 with Brent Farris sharing letters on air from individuals and families with their needs.

While both groups were successful in finding individuals in the community to give generously, something was missing. In 2008, The Giving Tree and Secret Santa joined forces with encouragement from Bill Friedman, and working together they found a better way to meet growing needs during the holidays.


How it works…

Sonoma County Secret Santa works with over 125 county agencies, schools, and community nonprofit organizations to fill over 38,576 wishes each year. Each wish ($25-$40 item) is placed on a Red Heart and these hearts are displayed throughout Sonoma County businesses for the public to adopt. Agencies and individuals also submit over 1,024 Letters to Santa. These letters include larger requests and are vetted and read on air at KZST, or published on the Secret Santa website to be adopted. With the help of our HUGE volunteer base, we strive to fulfill every single gift request received.


How you can help…

The primary focus of the Secret Santa teams is to increase community involvement in the program – from volunteers, to heart gift and letter adopters, to business sponsors.  We also are expanding our volunteer team to ensure that things run as smoothly as possible for the agencies that depend upon Secret Santa to help their clients. Here are some ways you can participate:

  • CLICK to Adopt a Heart or Adopt a Letter. You’ll find some wonderful opportunities to provide holiday cheer from providing fixings for a holiday dinner to buying a pair of jeans for a teen!


Want to spread the word to friends, co-workers, neighbors or family?


• Host an office or club gift exchange (in person or virtually) using Hearts or Letters

  • Have a Birthday in November or December? Send out Hearts with invitations and collect gifts.

  • Holiday Office Parties: ask staff and families to adopt a heart or letter in lieu of gifts for each other.

  • Family Holidays: adopt one or more letters and have family members take a portion of the letter. Set up a gift registry at a favorite store to make coordinating and shopping easy.

  • Socialize your Heart! Share the joy and spirit of the program on social media. Use hashtags: #SonomaCountySecretSanta or #AdoptAHeart to be a part of the conversation.


There are other ways to volunteer your time!


  • Volunteer: We coordinate over 7,000 volunteer hours, from transporting to gift wrapping. Signing up is easy: contact secretsanta@cvnl.org or 707-890-8880. We will match you with an opportunity.


“Together” is what Sonoma County is all about. And “Together” we can make a difference!


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