This year, reddit is looking to set an official Guinness World Record by hosting the biggest online game of Secret Santa ever. Last year's Secret Santa had over 17,000 participants from over 90 different countries, which was a record itself. But this year, they've got the Guinness people on board and are "working closely with them to ensure everything goes perfectly."
The reddit Secret Santa is run through the redditgifts platform, an international service for online, anonymous gift exchange. Their mission is "world domination through gift giving and kindness."
Here's how the service works: Once you sign up with redditgifts (reddit.com account required), you are matched up with another user for the specific gift exchange that is taking place. Including Secret Santa 2011, redditgifts has hosted 10 different gift exchanges - including two previous Secret Santas and two "Arbitrary Days." The Arbitrary Days are basically just summer Secret Santas. redditgifts also puts on specific gift exchanges, like for books or coffee mugs.
Gifters are encouraged to do a little "non-creepy" stalking of their match, to find out as much about them as they can online (through searches, following reddit activity, etc.). When people receive their gifts, they post photos of them on the site. Give a gift, get a gift. Rinse, repeat.
Here's some examples from the recent 2011 Trick or Treat gift exchange - a collection of zombie films, candy, action figures, etc. As you can see, the depth and variety of the gifts can vary. It's all dependent on how much the gifter puts into it.
Signups for Secret Santa 2011 opened up today, November 1st. Singups will end on November 25th, and users will be notified of their match. redditgifts asks that participants ship their gifts by December 12th.
Here's something a little different about this year's exchange -
In an effort to spread goodwill and holiday spirit across the world we have changed things up a bit in regards to who can sign up. Usually, you have to have a reddit account before signups begin in order to participate. This year we are allowing brand new accounts to participate. Brand new accounts will be matched with other brand new accounts. We hope that after you sign up you'll take a few minutes and think about who you know that might not know about reddit or redditgifts and invite them to participate! We'll have special awards and trophies for the people who invite others.
As of the writing of this article, there are already over 4,200 signups. That number is increasing rapidly. There could be an slight issue with signups this morning, as redditgifts has posted this to their Facebook page:
There is an issue with registration! We are working very hard to fix it right now. Thank you for your patience.
As soon as that resolves, will you sign up? What do you think about online, anonymous gift exchanges? Let us know in the comments.