Can money buy happiness? Well the truth is, it can — depending on how you spend it. What’s more, giving is spending too. Making the conscious decision to cover a friend’s meal or having the kindness to purchase that perfect gift for a family member is a warm feeling that brings out the best in us. It’s no surprise that we feel that way either: Research shows that spending money on others and maintaining that element of thoughtful generosity will make you far happier than splurging it on yourself.
As we enter the holiday season, it’s essential to reflect on this central theme of happiness. We even consider participating in gift giving as a means to spread joy. Pooling your efforts and time into an activity that makes someone else happy is a phenomenal way to define satisfaction, and you can bet that people would do the same for you, too. With the help of the internet, this idea reaches boundless potential as you can now connect with people from all corners of the world. When it comes to gift exchanges, there’s one event that takes the cake: Reddit Secret Santa.
Participating in Secret Santa is a wonderful tradition that many are well acquainted with, but if you aren’t familiar, the procedure is easy enough to celebrate for yourself. Gathering a group of friends, family or coworkers, you’ll get everyone to write their names down and shuffle them in a hat or a bag. Afterwards, everyone will pick out names, and, without telling anyone who they received, will purchase a gift for the person selected. The fun here is in the secrecy — you can look at things like their wish list to get the gist of what they want, but from there, it’s up to you to make the best of what you feel is a meaningful gift. You’ll finally meet at a designated time where everyone reveals who they’ve gotten along with the goodies, and that’s Secret Santa.
Seeing my reddit secret santa giftee be happy with my gift selection really makes me feel good.
— KaoticChristmas 🇨🇦🍁 (@Kaotic_Shadow) December 9, 2019
But how does that tradition translate in Reddit Secret Santa? To start things off, the exchange is unique because it likely won’t be with anyone you know. Instead, it uses that online connection I mentioned earlier and matches you with internet stranger-friends from anywhere around the world. If you trust in the system, then prepare to deliver a package where your giftee will reward you by posting your considerate gift in the gallery for all to see. The same can be said for you too of course, and you’ll be posting a picture of what you got through the exchange. In 2018, there were about 200,000 participants from 141 countries who shared the magic of giving happiness.
Participating through Reddit Secret Santa is simple enough; you’ll make an account on the site and patiently wait for the big day. Once it arrives, you’ll be given someone else’s username and someone else entirely will have you. From there, they’ll explore all the likes and dislikes you’ve written down, possibly stalk — in a friendly sort of way — your wish lists, try to understand you a bit better and deliver the perfect gift right to your home. The recommended gift price tag is around $20, but people have been very creative and some Santas have even gone above and beyond.
Remember, it’s about being thoughtful and forming an understanding with a completely random stranger. Just focus on the sort of gift that they’d be happy to unwrap, and think about the look on their face once they’ve seen how much effort you’ve put into it. As long as you can accomplish that great deed, then you’re a Santa in your own right. There have been so many instances of talent at work — people have gotten artists as Santas who’ve given them amazing sketches on their favorite franchise or even Santas that have put together elaborate puzzles to solve.
My reddit secret santa got me a chonky boye pic.twitter.com/1VLxUdegOC
— Evan's Bizzare Adventure (@SwoleShepherd) December 8, 2019
If you’re interested in some of the crazy awesome gifts over the years, then here are a few examples of selfless Santas who really built a connection:
— A redditor’s dream to go to Iceland and see the Northern Lights came true when their Secret Santa pulled through with a flight voucher.
— Santa noticed that their match was a vocal musician and made remarkable efforts to compose an original song to their liking.
— For a huge fan of “The Walking Dead,” their day only got better with a signed script on set.
Still not convinced that the whole exchange is a big deal? it’s also worth noting all the celebrities who decided to join in for the fun. Just to name a few, there’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, Snoop Dog, Shaq and even Bill Gates. Some really get into the spirit and go above and beyond to make their fans a lot happier, and often times they’ll end up personalizing the gift like how Arnold actually drew his match’s cat.
It’s not only the celebrities either, as there often are companies who put in care packages for someone special too, and Red Bull or Lego Land are two among many others that show up for the party. It goes without saying, but partaking in this activity means you might be on the receiving end of one of these fantastic gifters, and that’s an exciting thought to entertain.
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"I love to learn (I often come to Reddit just to discover new things). I know I’m lucky, because I’ve always had access to the tools I need. I’ve never had to learn in an under-resourced setting like a refugee camp. That’s why my #RedditSecretSanta’s gift means so much to me: she’s helping a young girl continue to learn in a refugee camp through International Rescue Committee. Thank you for your generosity in donating a year of school on my behalf. Happy holidays!" 🎁 – @thisisbillgates [Link in bio]
If you’re worried about not getting something in return, don’t sweat it too much. This is the largest annual online gift exchange in the world; you can trust in the exchange and be reassured by their reputation. Reddit Secret Santa has all sorts of ways to prevent fraud and to make sure everyone gets a gift, which manifests in layers of protection for potential participants, including reviews and a re-matching system.
The season for the one of the happiest holidays of the year is right around the corner, and, to embrace that, we cherish our time and have the opportunity to impact someone else in the process. You don’t need to have everything to give; it isn’t about that. By choosing to go through with Reddit Secret Santa, you’re accepting the terms of this thoughtful generosity. Making a stranger happy by really considering their feelings and tastes is the true objective, and once you see your gift in the gallery too, you’ll sure to be happy to have participated in spreading joy.