Geeky Gifting: Reddit’s Secret Santa

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Wrapped presents are my favorite things. It is such a simple, amazing luxury to be able to unwrap something that someone has picked out just for you. The only thing that I enjoy more than unwrapping gifts is giving someone else a gift to unwrap. So, basically, even though I am Jewish, Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. (Topped only by Chanukah, birthdays, oh and every other gift-giving occasion.) However, with Christmas comes Secret Santa, my favorite of gift exchanges. White Elephant may be fun for some people, but I find it stressful to know that the lovely gift I’ve just received could be stolen from me, and I can never bring myself to taking anyone else’s gift. No, I prefer Secret Santa, where careful thought has been put into the gift.

That is why I joined Reddit’s Secret Santa Gift Exchange this year. Normally, I am not a huge fan of Reddit. A friend of mine has extolled their virtues to me continuously over the years, but having grown up in the era of 4chan, I have never really gotten back into the “joy” of message boards. Once in a while, I will stumble over to the gaming message boards to read up on trends I’m not actively following (everything to do with Pokemon, for instance). This year I finally decided to take the leap and join in with the festivities. During the previous holiday, I was employed at a daycare and all of the teachers participated in Secret Santa. This past year found me at a tiny law office where I am the only employee of three lawyers, so no Secret Santa-ing to be had.

Reddit was there and ready to have me. Started in 2009, the program broke the Guinness World Record for gift exchanges in its third year:

“What started out as just a Secret Santa exchange has become much, much more. First we added Arbitrary Day—the halfway point each year because one year is just too long to wait—but even that wasn’t enough. Now we host gift exchanges year round, and there’s something for everyone.” (

There are few rules and no price limits. They general method is: don’t be rude/a troll, send your gift on time, be happy! For those who are matched with a lackluster Santa (i.e.: they never receive a gift), there are Santas who sign up to send out a second (or third, or tenth) gift so that everyone who participated can enjoy the experience of unwrapping gifts.

As soon as I received my email with the information about my Santee, I began to look everywhere for the perfect gifts. I wanted them to be meaningful and heartfelt which is difficult when shopping for a complete stranger that you only know a few sentences about. However, all turned out well:

Al Rosenberg reddit Secret santa 2014

A week after my giftee received her book on meat butchering (a strange purchase for a vegetarian to make, my Amazon account is very confused), I received my gift. In my profile, I spoke of how much I love video games and geek culture, and mollyews of reddit really found the perfect gift for me:

Al Rosenberg Reddit Secret Santa 2014

It has led to my new WWAC profile picture, and I plan on wearing it all winter long (which, in Chicago, is for the rest of forever). I encourage others to join in on the Reddit Secret Santa gift exchange next year, and I plan on trying out some of the random gift exchanges they host throughout the year. My love of gifts knows no bounds.

Al Rosenberg

Al Rosenberg

Gay weirdo. Talk to them about tiny games, big books, trash, and all things illness.