Joy of Anonymous Gift Giving

Published 2010-12-26 on Farid Zakaria's Blog

Reddit Secret Santa

This year I partook in Reddit's annual SecretSanta program. From articles I've read online, this year's gift exchange included more than 17,000 redditors across 90 countries. When I first read about the gift exchange, my initial reaction was to signup. I couldn't even contemplate how my real life redditor friends didn't include themselves in it.

Giving is as good as receiving

What was the most surprising thing of the whole secretsanta gift exchange was the joy I got from giving someone their gift and finally reading that they enjoyed it! I'm not very good at Arts&Crafts and trying to stick within the budget limit (15-20$) was surprisingly difficult. I did end up purchasing a gift online for my giftee however I did perform adequate stalking in order to choose in my mind a gift he would love. When he finally posted about his gift and mentioned that he loved it, I was swelled with some pretty awesome emotions. I found out that my giftee was an audio engineer and decided to get him a book that came highly recommended from some audio engineers at the game studio I was currently interning at.

Here's my giftee with his gift:

I love this book. One of my profs was talking about it recently as a really good read. Thank you SS, you did a great job comment stalking as I did not give you likes/dislikes. I have been reading it for the past few hours, and it is awesome. Bonus points for contributing to my education and carrer.

Would be stalked again.

But receiving is the best!

Being in Vanouver for my last co-op, I decided to give my home address in Ontario as the location for my gifter to send his gift. This meant that I would have to wait until Christmas Eve to open my present! Turns out waiting until the appropriate time was the best choice as the present did not disappoint! Here is the message I had posted on /r/secretsanta:

Dear SecretSanta,

I had waited until today morning to open my gift and my secret santa did not le disappoint! =)

Being completely handicapped at any attempt at Arts&Crafts, I am super super super happy that I got such a sweet present! Only downside is waiting until next year to get the matching toque! ;)

More so than the scarf (which was super awesome), the really touching part of the gift was the attached note (I didn't take a picture of it). As a young man who doesn't normally get really emotional, I found the new strange feelings that the note brought up scary. It was scary how someone anonymous could warm the heart and make my day.

I'm RL friends with a lot of redditors but I was the only one to participate in the secret santa gift exchange. What a an amazing experience it was/has been.

The note goes on to mention that if I don't want creepy Redditors approaching me, then I should hide the envelope. I plan on wearing the envelope proudly all winter :)

ps: the box was misleading but the gift and note was super awesome.
pps: You have great penmanship.

Here's me with my amazing scarf!

I didn't put up a picture of the card and note that my SecretSanta gave me but they were just as heartwarming and amazing as the scarf. It is times like these that make me less cynical about the world and especially the internet.

I also might get a matching toque! :)