Thursday, December 15, 2011

(Half) of My Experience with Reddit Secret Santa

Throughout the month of November, Reddit posted ads all throughout their website advertising their "Secret Santa." And, when they included a note about wanting it to beat the record for the world's largest Secret Santa, I decided to sign up, mostly out of curiosity.

After I got my match, however, I started perusing Reddit's r/secretsanta forum, I admittedly became a little nervous, almost to the point of regretting my decision to sign up. Why? Well, when you see people getting things like Bass GuitarsKindles, and Laptops, it's hard not to feel...small.

And honestly, I had a tough time thinking of something for my own Secret Santa, so honestly, I put it off for about a week. It was almost to the point where I forgot about it, actually. That is, until I received an email message announcing that my gifter had sent off the first part of my gift.

At this point, I once again started snooping around my own Secret Santa's profile. First off, I quickly figured out that my Secret Santa was a man working on his PhD in Chemistry, specifically physical chemistry. I despised my own Physical Chemistry class, so I once again felt the same intimidation I had felt before. What kind of gifts do you give a chemist...beakers? Honestly, that was my first thought - I'll give him a set of beakers! (Don't worry, that idea only lasted for about three seconds before I decided that somebody who has seemingly dedicated their whole life to chemistry probably has all the beakers they need.)

However, as I dug deeper into their comment history, I did begin to gather some steam - particularly, when I saw they they were pretty active on Reddit's Minecraft subreddit. Finally! I was beginning to gather some clues. Yeah, sure, it still didn't tell me a lot, but it gave me something to work with. And naturally, my first instinct was to type "Minecraft" into Amazon's search bar, just to see what would come up. Lo and behold, what did I find? Naturally, "The Periodic Table of Minecraft".

I ordered the shirt, send my SS a message requesting that he fill out this little questionnaire, and simply hoped for the best.

The shirt actually took awhile to arrive here - I was originally going to send the package itself to his house before sending an additional second package (because when people were getting Kindles and Laptops, sending just one item seemed pretty lame) with cookies or something, though quickly decided against that. And when he mentioned in his questionnaire that he liked 70% chocolate, I went out, bought a couple of bars (they were much cheaper than I expected), and included those. And when the shirt did come, I basically tore off the shipping label, opened the box, and threw in the chocolate. Oh, and tons of Whoppers, Pixie Sticks, and Tootsie Rolls/Pops, since we happened to have a ton of extras lying around the house.

I really wish I had taken a picture of the package before I sent it off, too, because it looked absolutely ridiculous. When it came time to actually seal the box shut, I was looking around for some tape. I was pretty sure we did not have any packing tape, and the closest alternative happened to be purple duct tape. Except, it was purple duct tape from Walmart, and when I pressed the tape over the box, the tape seemed...flimsy, to say the least. So, I put tape over the tape. Then I put tape over the corner edges of the box. And, at that point, so much of the top of the box was covered in purple that it seemed silly NOT to cover the box in purple duct tape. But, only the top of the box - none of the sides (what?). Looking back, why did I not dress the rest of the box in purple? It's not like I don't have plenty of purple duct tape.

Also, before sealing the box shut, I wrote a quick note to my SS, and when the note only took up about half of the page, well damn it all, that just didn't seem good enough, so I included a l33t (read: awful - who says "1337" anymore?) drawing. Thankfully, my SS DID take a picture of that (why didn't I take a picture of that, either?!).

I sent the package off on Monday, December 12th. At this point, all I could do was wait to hear something. 
To be one-hundred percent honest, I expected to hear nothing. However, today, when I logged into Reddit, I received a very nice Thank you from him, that admittedly, totally made my day.

I just wanted to thank you for the great secret santa gift it was heartily appreciated! This was my first reddit gift exchange so I didn't know what to expect but you exceeded all of my expectations! Not only did you find a way to combine chemistry and Minecraft (difficult) but I also loved the drawing of electron cafe! I may feature it on the blog if you don't mind.
Also I ate ~20 pixie sticks as soon as I opened the box... I swear I haven't had any of those since middle school or something like that.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday break, good luck with all your finals! (I feel your pain on the O-chem - bleh!).
~ electroncafe

Did I mention that this message made my day?

Also (now for the creepy part), he has a pretty sweet blog about science and chemistry that's worth checking out if you're into that sort of thing -

Also, here is a blog post that sums up Reddit's Secret Santa very nicely.

Merry Christmas!

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