Tamara Simon's Weekly Blog
Business Insights for RTOs
from my favourite Movies, TV Shows and Books
(and some other bits and pieces)

Ditch Secret Santa… There’s Nothing Under $20 I Want!

These were the words scrawled upon a Brisbane billboard which promoted local ‘tweets’; and I have to admit, my first reaction was, ‘I’m appalled and how ungrateful’.

Yet the more I thought about it, the more I realised, to my sadness, that this is unfortunately the world we live in. 

A world dominated by people who must have the most expensive things, and are more focused on ‘what’s in it for me (WIIFM)’ rather than ‘what can I do for someone else?

M.A.D. (Make A Difference) Insights for RTOs

Christmas for me has always been a time of family and providing for those who need a helping hand so with this in mind, might I suggest an alternative to gift giving this Christmas including any work/family Secret Santa gifts.

In my book, The Five Little RTO Pigs, I write about being a M.A.D. RTO Pig or the Make A Difference RTO Pig which is really about how you and your team are bringing a bit of M.A.D.ness to others.

So rather than giving a materialistic gift to someone which they may only use a few times and probably don’t really need, here are 11 M.A.D. gift ideas which will truly Make A Difference.


$20 = Provide 3 meals a day to a person in need for up to two weeks

Dementia Australia Research Foundation

Dementia is the second leading cause of death of Australians, contributing to 5.4% of all deaths in males and 10.6% of all deaths in females each year.

St Vincent De Paul

$20 = present/non-perishable food under the Christmas Tree

Salvation Army

$20 = food package and present

Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal

$20 = up to 4 gifts to put under the tree

Oxfam Australia

$20 = chickens (from $10), seeds (from $10), water for a family (from $20)

The Smith Family

$52/month funds education support for a primary school child so join some Secret Santa gifts together.

Mummy’s Wish

$22 provides a special book to help explain Mum’s illness to kids

National Breast Cancer Foundation

$20 to fund research

McGrath Foundation

$20 donation will help McGrath Breast Care Nurses provide free support to patients and their families experiencing breast cancer.  $70 provides the practical and emotional support of a McGrath Breast Care Nurse for a patient and their family.


$25 = help provide care for all creatures, great and small.  This could include providing an unwanted dog with a bath, treats and an enrichment toy this Christmas.

What’s Next?

As you can see, $20 goes a long way to helping those in need so which one of these charities or one close to your heart will become your M.A.D Secret Santa gift this year?

And don’t forget about the animals who help people remain strong in tough times so please include some cans of cat/dog food and dry biscuits.

Charities will also be most grateful if you also include some rolls of wrapping paper and tape.

And here’s my final thought:

I came across this quote a few years ago and it’s blown up on my office wall, just in case I ever lose my way. 

It not only sums me up to a T but it’s the quote which ends my M.A.D. book chapter; and is a fitting way to end this article.

            “I slept and dreamed that life was happiness.

            Then I awoke and found out that life was service

            I served and I found out that in service, happiness is found.”

            Rabindranath Tagore – Nobel Laureate 1913

PS:  If you have found some tips and inspiration from this blog (and I hope you have), I’d love you to please share it amongst your RTO contacts and on your social media platforms.

Want some help from Tamara – Australia’s Only Dedicated RTO Business Coach?

If you would like some help to take you from STUCK to SOLUTIONS… SIMPLY from someone who’s been there, done that in RTO Land, please check out my coaching services on my website


Or contact me direct:

0438 262 727 or tamara@takeanotherlook.com.au