I’ve just signed up to participate in redditgift’s 2014 Arbitrary Day Gift Exchange!
Last year, by the time I found out about redditgifts and the 2013 Christmas exchange, it was too late to sign up. Since then, I’ve been looking forward to a chance to participate in one. Appropriately enough, I arbitrarily ended up on reddit a couple of nights ago and saw a banner for the Arbitrary Gift Exchange.
“What is this gift exchange?” you may ask. Well, you can find more info here, but below are some highlights (the figures are from last year, but you get the idea):
redditgifts is a giant online gift exchange that started connecting internet stranger-friends around the world with one another in 2009. Last year we had 44,805 people participate in Secret Santa 2012.
Think about that for a second: 44,805 internet strangers from 130 different countries put their faith in one another and sent gifts around the world. Pretty awesome, right?
Participating is easy. It only takes a few minutes to sign up and create a profile. Once you do, you wait until matching day, when we run a big program that matches each person to someone else in a giant daisy chain. You’ll be given a person’s username, and you can stalk that person (in a friendly way) to find the perfect gift for them and mail it off. Someone else will be doing the same for you, and when you get it, you can post photos of your awesome gift online so we can all celebrate together.
There are a few different exchanges you can participate in, though reddit limits the number can sign up for at a time, to help prevent people from signing up for exchanges and not sending anything. When you sign up, you get to fill out a form with your likes & dislikes, favorite movies, tv shows, bucket list items, etc. that can be used by your “secret santa” to choose a gift for you.
reddit suggests a $20 minimum to spend on gifts, but ultimately it’s up to each “santa” to send their match something special. Since some people are flakes, and may not ever send a gift, some redditors sign up to be “rematches”, which means they will send a gift to someone whose santa didn’t come through (this is done for the fun of giving, since rematchers do not receive gifts in return).
Wayne Dyer talks about breaking down the word “universe” into “uni” (one) and “verse” (song). I love the idea of all of us in the universe singing and being part of One Song.
My personal reason for participating in the exchange, is that I continue to be amazed at the never-ending ways the internet has been able to connect humans with other humans as we engage in this One Song. I love the idea that someone I’ve never met is (hopefully) excited to choose and send a gift to me, a complete stranger. And I’m excited for the opportunity to put love, energy and creativity towards making another total stranger happy.
There’s one more reason that I’m excited to do this. For most of my life, between untreated ADHD, work, stress, and not knowing myself, this is the type of thing I’d either sign up for and flake and feel guilty for letting someone down or, once I gained some self-awareness, avoid because I knew myself well enough that it’s not something I would follow through on. I feel that I am finally at a place that I’m learning to be selective about what I commit to, and that I can trust myself to follow through on it once I do. This is an opportunity for me to feel good about myself for honoring a commitment and making someone happy.
If I needed another reason: redditgifts describes their mission as “to bring more happiness to the world”. You can learn more about their mission and how they got their start in this video of redditgifts founder Dan McComas (kickme444) at a TEDx event. (if the video doesn’t load or play, you can find it here)
Have you participated in something similar (or to one of redditgift‘s other exchanges)? What was your experience like?