This year has been my third year participating in Reddit’s Secret Santa event. It has now become a fix part of my Christmas routine. What makes Secret Santa so special to me is the whole idea of gifting and getting gifts from complete strangers. You just write a little letter, answer a couple of questions (like “what are your hobbies” , “what was your year like”) and your Santa’s job is then to find something nice for you!
Secret Santa has multiple tiers. If you participate at a certain tier you get credits for that. When you first join, you start with 1 credit. This allows you to participate at the national tier. When you send a gift and your giftee confirms receiving it, you get the credit back and one extra. Once you have more credits, you can use them to participate at the continental level (2 credits) or going world-wide for 3 credits.
Every year, there are more than 100,000 participants. This year alone 111,214 people from 140 countries signed up.
Sadly, there seem to be some people who just join, get matched and then never send a gift themself. Out of these three years I got really nice presents this and in my first year. Last year something went wrong but I don’t think it was intentional. That being said, I’m sure some folks simply want to have a free gift and not do anything for it. Sometimes, this can also hurt people. For some this might be the only gift they get for Christmas.
Out of all these participants, 104,869 matches but only 98,442 shipped and out of these only 42,533 have posted gifts to the gallery as of 2020-12-25. This means that more than 50,000 gifts are still pending so it’s not clear if they even exist.
If someone sends a gift and the recipient does not confirm that they got it, the sender doesn’t get any credit. To prevent such cases, the sender can submit proof that they shipped something (e.g. through shipping receipts) but that process takes time.
At the other end of the spectrum if someone really didn’t send a gift, then the person will eventually get banned. Sadly, this doesn’t prevent them from doing harm. So at least I try to do my part by being a good Santa every year 🙂 That and getting a nice letter back from my giftee which is one of my personal highlights every year 😊