345/366 – Secret Santa Online

One good part about the internet is the fact that it has this great way of exponentially expanding some of things that would normally be very narrow in scope due to simple locality of participants. And as the internet and its technology gets more advanced, its ability to expand traditions and occasions gets larger. This holiday, of course, is no exception.

Secret Santa has been a long-cherished tradition of gift-giving (and sometimes awkwardneess) between office co-workers, friends, and family. Meant to guarantee everyone a gift while at the same time allowing you to get to know at least one other person, Secret Santa and its ninja gift-giving has been around for a while as a nice little ice breaker and a fun way to be generous during the holiday season. Those are things that the internet is well-suited to doing, especially with the way that it has the ability to connect strangers with one another.

Reddit has a way of advancing this a ton by allowing complete strangers in the vast and expansive Reddit community to secret santa with one another, resulting in a lot of shared posting about great secret santa gifts from redditors and a bunch of friendships forged between complete strangers. Others use Twitch as a medium, or Skype, or Slack, or any other place where there’s a regular gathering of people online to exchange gifts and conduct secret drawings of people soon to receive something cool from people they regularly hang around with. Either way, it enables people who are used to some of their friends being online to participate in something that’s normally meant for people who actually see each other every day.

This evolution of secret santa into the online sphere honestly is not the only holiday that can be celebrated digitally, and as the tech keeps advancing, the more likely it is that the internet will be able to be able to simulate what’s normally offline to be a part of being online as well. Some people might think this sort of dilutes the value of the holiday, but I think of it as more of a morphing of what it is currently to something that you integrate as much of what people use in their daily lives, and that’s what tech and the internet are to many people. Anything that can combine some of what you consider to be normal and regular and thus make into something more has to be worth it, and thankfully, we’ll have many more youtube, facebook, twitter, and reddit fueled secret santas for years to come.

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