The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

thumb CambridgeNearly 40,000 participants in 114 countries engage in Secret Santa program

From Pogs, tea and chocolates, to horror movies — Cambridge Broxterman never knows what she's going to find in her mailbox.

Although she has participated in several of Reddit's secret gift-giving programs like "Arbitrary Day" or "Trick-or-Treat," Broxterman still never fails to feel surprised when she opens her mail and finds a gift.

"It's sad," Broxterman says, laughing. "It's the biggest part of (secret gift-giving), and I forget that I actually get a present."

This year marked Reddit's third Secret Santa event. To date, more than 38,000 presents have been shipped world-wide, and so far, more than 12,000 have been received.

Reddit is a social media site where users can share links and discuss everything from technology to atheism, as well as participating in the aforementioned secret gift-giving events.

Upon receiving their gifts, users are required to post online and write about what they received. They are also encouraged to research their match on Reddit and elsewhere on the web, to help personalize their gift by getting to know more about the giver.

This year, Broxterman, also known by her username, anotherworkingstiff, received ear buds, a wordy RubIx Cube, and Pogs.

Broxterman says she was pleasantly surprised.

"How the hell did they come up with all this?" she asks.

The aspiring mortician points out she hasn't really posted clues that she was into Pogs, a popular game which rose and fell in popularity in the 1990s.

Pogs2Here's what Broxtrum recieved from her secret santa this year
Photo courtesy of Cambridge Broxterman

"They saw that I was a hipster, and what do hipsters like? Pogs and things from the '90s."

She suspects her "gifter" came from Frisco, Texas, due to the shipping label on the package.

The rules

Reddit's Secret Santa does have some rules to follow. There is a lot of emphasis on being "non creepy" when researching a secret-gifting match on the Internet.

In addition, users are not allowed to embarrass or humiliate their match, as stated in rule No. 8: "Do not troll. For real."

Camping and gay coloring books

Calgary's Marshall Evetts, 34, was matched up with a gay male from Ottawa. He sent him a bar of soap with the words "Gay Bar" inscribed. Evetts added the idea was taken from the movie "Fight Club."

Besides the soap, Evetts also included a gay-themed coloring book, and a coffee mug with brass knuckles in place of a handle.

Evetts' gift hasn't arrived yet. His Reddit profile lists interests such as camping and dirt biking. He hopes to get camping gear for Christmas.

He found out about Secret Santa from a friend and said, "Let's do it, should be fun."

"It's always nice to give something you know, even if I didn't get something, it's still fun for me."

For those who missed the boat, Reddit also has other secret gift-giving events throughout the year, including Arbitrary Day in May, and Coffee Mugs and Tea Cups in September.

Shopping for a stranger

Broxterman didn't have many clues to research her match, mainly because the giftee didn't say much on his profile, and hasn't posted much on Reddit. All she knew was that the giftee comes from Wisconsin, and is fond of badgers.

Honey-Badger-Dont-CareA typical meme created by anonymous internet users,
Photo courtesy of knowyourmeme.com

This prompted Broxterman to order a t-shirt from eBay based in the Internet meme "Honey Badger," with the caption "Honey Badger doesn't care."

The net worth of all presents shipped so far is now more than $2.4 million.

When asked about what she likes most about Secret Santa, she says "I love picking out presents for people."

 

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