bah humbug

Posted on December 15, 2011


I’m not really a redditor (I’m not even really a blogger, for that matter) – in that I haven’t created a rage comic, or actually seen a narwhal baconing at midnight. I have, however, gotten a lot of pleasure from the rage and misfortunes of others, read stuff, upvoted mebbe a few times… ok fine, I’ve also perused r/nsfw on occasion (yeah, not linking that one). and I know most of you reading this have been exposed to some form or another of content via reddit. so in a way, we’re all redditors! and, until I’m able to create an appropriate rage comic to tell the story, this blog post will have to do.

[edit: a redditor pointed me to a more commonly used rage comic builder.]

I’d been hearing about the redditgifts secret santa for a couple of years now, and after seeing a few tweets about it this year, I decided to sign up. those of you who know me, know I’m all bah humbug about this holiday season nonsense, so you might wonder why…

because I like making people happy, that’s why.
and it turns out that other people do it for exactly that reason.

signing up required me to give them my postal address. I’ll be honest: I felt insecure giving my address to a stranger, and I almost quit the endeavor… but what is community without trust? I’ve heard the reddit community being described as a really great, caring, and involved community; people who look out for each other, nevermind what the rage comics and the snark that sometimes pervades their comments indicate. *

I signed up. and waited. and got a notification email for the person I was assigned to. a woman in NJ. ok. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I stalked her a little, found out she was into “dorky tattoos, candy, and dancing” (her words, not mine). she sounded like fun, but I wasn’t sure what to do with that information. and then I got busy, so didn’t think about it much, till later. **

a few days later, I was orangered. this was the exchange:

correspondence between secret santa and me.

and a few more days later:

screenshot of correspondence between secret santa and me.


screenshot of notification that my gift was shipped.

yet another few days later, my secret santa present!!

image of gifts.

his note said:

Hey Sava,

I did some stalking and found your Amazon wish list, while I wouldn’t be as presumptuous as to guess what books out of the list you want most I hope this gift while small will help you obtain some of those books. Here’s hoping this small gesture from an anonymous Redditor will bring you some joy when you get your mail in a few days. I’m also including the sticker so you will hopefully use it and a Socially Awkward Penguin can scream something about bacon and narwhals to you and give you something to submit either as a story or rage comic.

Wishing you the best

Your Secret Santa

this made me unbelievably happy. like stupidly so. the fact that someone thought of me, drew for me, researched and sent me – a total stranger and not much of a redditor – something… just melted me.

so… I sent my secret santa a message – I still had no idea who he was.

screenshot a thank you note from me to my secret santa.

he didn’t reply to my message, but he commented on my pic of the gift, and then… I had his username: ZetaAlorix. he was a real person! I could do some stalking for myself! I didn’t do much, to be honest. but the things I did find, made me want to track him down and give him the biggest, longest hug EVAR. ***

so, here’s what I found about him on reddit…

1. he posted a question because I didn’t really have much of a presence as a redditor.

screenshot of a question posted by my secret santa doubting my legitimacy.

2. a comment on a post about opening presents before christmas.

screenshot of my secret santa's comment about how we're both atheist but still exchanging presents.

3. and finally this… the thing that makes me want to do something special for him, his is the first comment, and a few responses further down as well.

sceenshot of a comment my secret santa made saying he was poor and the sacrifice he made to get me my gift.

if you look through some of the gifts in the redditgifts gallery, and some of the gifts that have won awards, you might think my gift is not much. but to me, it is worth more than the ipads, and mugs, and handmade whatevers that other people got. the thoughtfulness and sacrifice that ZetaAlorix made to bring happiness in my life – a time I needed some happiness – made my day, week, month, year, many years… I will not forget this.

dear dear ZetaAlorix, you have forever earned my affection and appreciation. love and fabulously good things will come to you, I promise.

one day, I hope I can give you this hug in person.



* I had been aware of reddit from before, but my interest in them was further piqued during my @communitp class with @kthread at NYU’s ITP. we had @hueypriest as a guest who talked about the reddit community.
** I sent my secret santee a really nice diary/journal thing from India. I hope she likes it!
*** I obtained permission to use our personal correspondence and his username for this post.