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Secret Santa
November 15, 2002 9:07 PM   Subscribe

Secret Santa. Previously mentioned here, a year ago. "Got your own Web site? Got an Amazon wishlist? If the answer to both of these is yes, and you like the idea of giving and receiving, you should definitely sign up." Well, it's that time of year again.
posted by crunchland (14 comments total)

 
It's a really neat idea, but what makes me think they own stock or have some other vested interest in Amazon's wellbeing?
posted by whatzit at 11:04 PM on November 15, 2002


I agree, it'd be nice if in the about section they explicitly state that they are not affiliated with amazon in anyway...
posted by phyrewerx at 12:01 AM on November 16, 2002


I participated in Secret Santa last year and it was a lot of fun. She sent me Wicked:
The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
and I sent her Willy Wonka on DVD. Gifts from strangers is a good thing. Giving gifts to strangers is pretty cool too.
posted by RoseovSharon at 3:17 AM on November 16, 2002


Oh just stop worrying about the possible associations. Just send somebody something. For Pete's sake.

Hell, I am going to do it. Tis the season to just do this stuff and not question. I hope I get a drill bit set! Whoo Hoo!!!
posted by lampshade at 8:43 AM on November 16, 2002



Oh and thanks for the link Crunch! It made my day.

Cheers!
posted by lampshade at 8:44 AM on November 16, 2002


Not too sound too much like an Bezos cheerleader, bu I think Amazon Wish lists are a completely under-rated online innovation... not in the "gimme, gimme, gimme" sense of the camgirl crowd, or even how easy gift-giving days are now because of them, for extended families and stuff.

What I think is so great about them is how much they tell you about a particular person in a non-invasive to privacy sort of way. Sure, you could read all the messages a person leaves on the internet and try to see through whatever online persona they may have adopted, or you could read what they write in their blog, or what-have-you, but the wishlist tells you what they're like inside that other online methods don't. It sort of tells you what a person aspires to be -- their hopes and dreams, and what their passions are. Whether they're greedy, or practical. Whether they play with toys, and what kind.

Maybe I attribute too much to them, but I always find it completely fascinating to read a person's wishlist, even if I have no intention of actually buying anything for them. It's sort of a guilty pleasure of mine.
posted by crunchland at 10:43 AM on November 16, 2002


crunchland: It sort of tells you what a person aspires to be -- their hopes and dreams, and what their passions are. Whether they're greedy, or practical. Whether they play with toys, and what kind.

I like reading others' wishlists too, and I agree you can learn their passions and hobbies that way, but how do you determine greed? Is it simply from the size of the list?

[grinch] I did the online secret santa last year and never got a gift from the stranger, though I sent one. It makes me a bit hesitant to do it again. [/grinch].
posted by jewishbuddha at 11:16 AM on November 16, 2002


Well, I guess I think it says something about a person if everything on their wishlist costs $200 or more... (on the other hand, it is a wishlist, and maybe they figure they can handle all the $15 goop, and go for the expensive booty.)
posted by crunchland at 11:28 AM on November 16, 2002


Fair enough. I was just curious. People are often dumbstruck when they find out that I have over 130 things on my list and attribute it to greed.

I think the list is a useful tool though. I have always spent loads on books, movies, and music. When I got laid off, it didn't take much time to figure out that I couldn't keep up with my old habits. My wishlist has allowed me to keep track of what I want. There are things on there I added over a year ago that I still want, but which I might not remember off the top of my head. I periodically go back and remove stuff that doesn't have the appeal it did originally.
posted by jewishbuddha at 11:37 AM on November 16, 2002


I took part last year and had forgotten all about it until this week. I've signed up again, as it's such a lovely simple idea. It makes a wonderful use of an existing feature of another site to do something completely new. And it leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy. What more do you want? Oh, it *looks* great too!
posted by fabius at 2:38 PM on November 16, 2002


[grinch] I did the online secret santa last year and never got a gift from the stranger, though I sent one. It makes me a bit hesitant to do it again. [/grinch].

me too - and I even sent an email to the person after our identities were revealed, just to say, hey by the way in case it got lost or something... He wrote back saying, oh sorry 'bout that & still never sent anything. Seems like they need a way to rate or disqualify people, or something... Or I guess, you just need to go into it charitably, happy to give someone something and see their website and not feel hurt or ignored if no one does the same for you. It was fun to choose something for the person I was assigned, and I was reminded of Neil Gaiman by his wishlist, which was cool :)
posted by mdn at 3:37 PM on November 16, 2002


There was also a unique use of Amazon wishlists being put to work at Nervousness.org. People post their wishlists, then everyone has a look to see if they have any of those books to share or trade. I sent out three books and received one (Foucault's Pendulum). Yeah, I gave away more than I got, but I didn't need those books anymore and it was a fun, feel good sorta project.

Sorry to hear about those of you who got dissed by your Secret Santa's. Very uncool.
posted by RoseovSharon at 5:13 PM on November 16, 2002


Heya - my name's Tom and I worked on Secret Santa with Cal and Denise. First things first, we're not in any way affiliated with Amazon.

Secondly, and more importantly, Christmas - and Secret Santa - is about giving people presents out of the goodness of your heart. Obviously we expect everyone to fulfil their obligations, and if they don't then they can be publically embarrassed on your site. But really the point is to give someone a gift - of whatever size you feel comfortable with without really thinking about what you'll get in return...

In fact, the way to most santa-honour is to give people larger presents than you think you will receive yourself and watch how happy they are... Or at least that's how it seems to me...
posted by barbelith at 4:28 AM on November 18, 2002


Today's the day the Secret Santa emails go out. I got my marching orders, and did my duty. Don't be a schmuck and disappoint the person you got.
posted by crunchland at 10:00 AM on December 10, 2002


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