(Photo Credit: William Warby/Flickr)
One story that went viral this month involved a Reddit user who signed up for the forum’s Secret Santa Gift Exchange, the largest virtual gift-swap in the world, according to the site, and discovered that her Secret Santa was, none other than, Microsoft’s chairman, Bill Gates. And you’ll never guess what gifts he sent.
Rachel, the 24-year-old Reddit user (NY1227) and recipient of Gates’ not-so-secret gifts, originally had a “wishlist full of makeup, nailpolish, glittery things,” but her Secret Santa had something else in mind. Rachel was tickled pink when she opened the seven-pound, overnighted box that contained a stuffed cow, a travel book, and a card that explained the significance of the presents. Gates indicated that the stuffed cow signified the generous donation of a cow to a needy family through Heifer International, in Rachel’s name, which will provide the family with “income and dairy products.” The meaning behind the travel book, Journeys of a Lifetime, was to inspire Rachel to live our her desire to see the world, which she had expressed in the details of her wishlist on Reddit’s Secret Santa Gift Exchange. Thank goodness she didn’t ask for a new iPhone – that would have been super awkward.
Another company that is spreading the gift of giving this holiday season is MINI USA, with its MINI Gift Swap, a nationwide Secret Santa deal amongst its loyal customers. The point is to get MINI owners across the US to sign up, randomly get paired up with another car owner, and send him or her a $10 gift before December 31. Upon receiving a present from Secret Santa, recipients are asked to share a picture of themselves holding their gifts on social media and include #MINIGiftSwap in their posts. This is yet another example of how social media brings strangers together and encourages them to connect through a shared interest – in this case, their tiny MINI cars.
Not only is using social media a great way for brands and people to easily connect and engage, but it’s also a perfect way to spread holiday cheer to complete strangers through Secret Santa gift swaps taking the world by storm. Giving to others, especially during the holidays, is so gratifying, and it’s a perfect way to reflect on the lessons learned this year and prepare for what’s to come in the year ahead.
If you want a more low-key and personal Secret Santa experience next year (because, unfortunately, it’s too late this year), then check out SneakySanta.com, a site that helps family, friends, and co-workers organize groups and share gifts with … secretly. This is a great way for employees to celebrate the holidays and boost morale with a bit of gift giving.
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Did you participate in a Secret Santa gift exchange on social media this year? If so, share your experience with our community on Twitter or in the comments section below.