Online Secret Santa gift exchange attracts thousands

Tis the season for heart-melting tales of spontaneous goodwill among strangers, which, like the rest of our relationships, has gotten a lot more convenient since the advent of the Internet.

SEATTLE, Wash. — ’Tis the season for heart-melting tales of spontaneous goodwill among strangers, which, like the rest of our relationships, has gotten a lot more convenient since the advent of the Internet.

A few weeks ago, a seasonal discussion began on Reddit, where people post links and vote to move stories higher or lower in the site’s rankings.

Anyone interested in a Secret Santa gift exchange? Ho Ho YES, came the answer.

More than 4,500 Reddit members in 54 countries signed up. They were given a Reddit user name and mailing address, and sometimes a note from the recipient-to-be about likes and dislikes.

As gifts arrived and recipients posted photos and thank-you notes online, it became clear that Reddit has become, to these folks at least, much more than just a news site.

Erik Martin, a community manager at Reddit, said many Secret Santas appeared to have pored over the history of links and comments their recipient had posted on the site for clues that would yield the perfect gift idea.

Some took it a step further and did what Martin calls “a little friendly Internet stalking,” looking up addresses to get recipients’ real names and tracking down their friends on Facebook.

Judging by notes and photos posted by recipients, Secret Santas did good.

Many gift packages included items reflecting popular Internet topics such as bacon, narwhals and zombies. Many, many others involved handmade replicas of Reddit’s mascot — a little alien guy — rendered in blown glass, clay, metal, beadwork, felt, paint on canvas, carved soap, yarn and more.

The suggested amount to spend was $15, but some Santas went far beyond that. One Santa kicked of a fund drive on Reddit so that the recipient’s girlfriend could set aside emergency veterinary care money for her new service dog.

Another sent a volume of the teen-vampire series “Twilight,” which disappointed the recipient until he opened it up and discovered two movies and an iPhone — yes, a working iPhone — tucked into cut-out sections of the book.

Yet another seven sent $1,500 in $100 bills, with a note that said, “Merry Christmas, hopefully this will help with books next semester ;)”

Just Posted

Olympic ski run designer creates upgrades at Canyon Ski Resort

Jeff Ihaksi says free-style and alpine ski venues are Canada Winter Games-worthy

Updated: Collision expert backs version of crash of driver accused of manslaughter

Daniel Newsham accused of manslaughter in fatal 2016 collision

Red Deer artist highlights the dinosaur connection of Alberta birds

Jeff Powers is fascinated by winged creatures

Murder charges laid against woman from the Sunchild First Nation

The 25-year-old female victim was found dead on Dec. 12

All evacuation orders lifted in deadly California wildfire

PARADISE, Calif. — All evacuation orders have been lifted in Paradise more… Continue reading

Baylor ties pervade rape case that sparked uproar

DALLAS — The Texas judge who approved a plea deal allowing a… Continue reading

McDavid, Draisaitl with three points each to lead Oiles over Flyers

Oilers 4, Flyers 1 EDMONTON — Connor McDavid had two goals and… Continue reading

Tips to keep crime at bay this Christmas

RCMP offer tips for crime-free holiday ’Tis the season for joy and… Continue reading

All aflutter about our feathered friends

Christmas Bird Count will be held Dec. 23

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

WHL’s Thunderbirds, Silvertips open to NHL joining Seattle hockey market

TORONTO — The Seattle area’s major junior hockey teams aren’t worried about… Continue reading

Canadian freestyle skier Karker excited for Dew Tour’s modified superpipe

Rachael Karker has a renewed sense of confidence heading into her second… Continue reading

Most Read