Stan’s Secret Santa begins at Manchester Museum

  • Manchester Museum launch Stan’s Secret Santa
  • The gift appeal encourages donations for people experiencing poverty and homelessness
  • Donations will be distributed just in time for Christmas

Feature image credit: Manchester Museum.

Manchester Museum’s beloved Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stan, has put his Santa hat on for a charity gift appeal.

Stan’s secret santa

Stan’s Secret Santa will run from Tuesday 5 December until Friday 8 December and aims to encourage donations for people experiencing homelessness and poverty across Manchester.

It is the second time Manchester Museum, part of the University of Manchester, has run the appeal after launching it in 2021.

This is the second time Stan has worn his Santa hat and Manchester Museum hopes it will encourage people to get involved with their appeal. Photo credit: Zoe Spencer.

Stanta claws

It was put on hold last year following a £15 million capital development project, Hello Future, but has been revived just in time for Christmas this year.

The gift appeal will support local charities Barnabus and Mustard Tree and visitors will be encouraged to visit Stan, donate gifts and take selfies with ‘Stanta Claws’.

Karen Brackenridge posing alongside Stan. Visitors will be encouraged to wear their own christmas hats and take pictures with Stan to raise awareness. Photo credit: Zoe Spencer.

Poverty and homelessness across Manchester

Karen Brackenridge at Manchester Museum spoke about her idea for Stan’s Secret Santa: “Stan’s Secret Santa first came about in 2018.

“Manchester Museum did some work with certain organisations, and I took notice of how bad homelessness is in Manchester.

“I asked if we could do a Stan Secret Santa- I just thought everyone could come through and we could do an appeal for donations.

“In lockdown everybody brought things in for one day and it was amazing

“This appeal now belongs to the museum and it’s not just about homelessness, but also poverty support in Manchester.”

Even the tinsel used to decorate the gift boxes is new, with price still left on, to emphasise the need for new, unwrapped Christmas gifts. Photo Credit: Zoe Spencer

Unwrapped Christmas gifts

Manchester Museum is appealing for donations of new, unwrapped Christmas gifts and new, seasonal food items, as well as wrapping paper and Christmas cards.

“Nothing is to be resold, its gifted, gifted, gifted,” said Karen. “It’s caring to share and sharing to care”.

Colourful lights have been installed to draw attention to Stan and to the Christmas gift appeal. Photo credit: Zoe Spencer.

All gifts donated by the public will be passed on to Barnabus and Mustard Tree who will distribute them in time for Christmas.

Esme Ward, Director of Manchester Museum, said: “Manchester Museum has been a landmark in the city for more than 130 years so we feel it’s really important to look out for people within our immediate community, especially those who may be vulnerable or struggling.

“Stan is also a bit of a Manchester celebrity so we’re delighted he’s bought into our values of care and inclusion, and chosen to support two local charities doing fantastic work in Barnabus and Mustard Tree.”

‘Incredibly grateful’

“Mustard Tree are greatly in need of donations all year round, but particularly during Christmas when parents are having to make impossible decisions around heating their homes or buying their children Christmas presents” said Jack Barton, Communications Manager at Mustard Tree.

“We’re incredibly grateful to the Manchester Museum team and visitors who have chosen to support us – thank you on behalf of everyone at Mustard Tree.” he added.

Carol Price, Fundraising Manager at Barnabus, said about the appeal: “We are so thankful that Manchester Museum have chosen to support Barnabus with their Stan’s Secret Santa appeal.

“This is such a brilliant idea encouraging the donation of gifts to support people rough sleeping and experiencing homelessness this Christmas and Winter. 

“It is such a memorable way for all the family to generously support Barnabus and have a festive selfie with their amazing T. rex ‘Stanta Claws’”.


The full list of desired donation items:


  • Festive cakes (Christmas cake slices, mince pies)
  • Chocolates (350g boxes or tubs)
  • Chocolate Santas
  •  Biscuits
  • Crisps
  • Pot noodles
  • Porridge pots
  • Cereal/breakfast bars
  • Coffee/tea/sugar
  • Long life milk
  • Pasta/rice
  • Individual bottles of water/juice


  • Thermal gloves
  • Hoodies/jumpers/coats
  • Jeans/joggers
  • Shoes/trainers/boots
  • New socks
  • New women’s bras and briefs
  • Novelty Christmas socks
  • Santa Hats