Best. Secret Santa. Ever.
If you’ve never heard of Reddit’s annual Secret Santa program, here’s the skinny: every December, participants join together to create a record-breaking Secret Santa program. You draw a name, and mail them a gift. You answer a few questions about what you like, and you get a gift. It’s that simple. And it gives you a chance to meet some nice people.
This year was the first year in which I participated (being relatively late to the Reddit scene). I was matched up to a great individual, a very active redditor, and did my best to live up to the hype (and, honestly, thought I did a pretty great job).
Then, my Secret Santa‘s gifts started arriving, and I realized that I was an amateur. A package arrived before Christmas, which was thoughtful and personalized. I also received a message from her that another was on its way, just a bit delayed. Naturally, I promptly forgot having received that message, and considered my Reddit Gifts trial a success.
Then, last week, this arrived:
Unbeknownst to me, my Secret Santa sent the following message directly to Brandon Sanderson, easily my favorite author for the past 8 years or so:
Mr. Sanderson,My name is [redacted] (though until Dec. 24,2013 that is classified information), and I am one of the over 100,000 participants in Redditgifts’s Secret Santa 2013 exchange. The gentleman to whom I am matched, Kurt, is a big fan of your work (whereas many folk list a number of authors as their favorites, you are the single, proud entry for Kurt), and in researching him, I came across your book Steelheart and finished it in a single day. Now, while I am nervous to get Kurt a book of yours (chances are, he already owns it), I was hoping I could include something a bit more personal.I think it would be very cool if you could send him a few words (maybe autograph? I am really not sure how these things work) via snail mail. I know you are likely busy (hopefully working on the sequel to Steelheart), and I will of course have other aspects of his gift, so there is no need to worry about the December 24th deadline, but I am sure he would love this, no matter when it arrives. His mailing address is [redacted].
Please feel free to contact me by email at [redacted] with any questions about this possibly irregular request.
Thank you for reading (and hopefully being able to oblige)
And, inside the package:
A signed 1st edition of ‘First Born’ (which happened to be the *only* Sanderson book of which I didn’t have a physical copy)A holo ‘Steelheart’ bookmark (the kind which he famously slips into copies of his books when he finds them in airports)Three signed bookmarksSeven beautifully-illustrated magnets featuring quotes from ‘the Way of Kings:’
“Life before death, strength before weakness, journey before destination.”
“Sometimes the prize is not worth the costs. The means by which we achieve victory are as important as the victory itself.”
“I will protect those who cannot protect themselves.”
“Jam should not have lore or mythology. It should be sweet, colorful, and delicious.”
“Strength does not make one capable of rule; it makes one capable of service.”
“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”
“A true scholar must not close her mind to any topic, no matter how certain she may feel.”
Holy. Effing. Crap.
Here’s what I took away from this experience:
- I will participate in every future Reddit Gift giving event which my wallet allows, until death takes me or death takes Reddit.
- I need to seriously step up my game for next Reddit Gift’s event. What a cocky rookie I was.
- My Reddit Secret Santa is January’s hero.
- Brandon Sanderson personally reads emails that fans send him (not shocking – he’s a really down-to-earth guy).
- Brandon’s assistants (particularly Kara) are thoughtful and generous.
- While it is better to give than to receive, receiving can be pretty freeking satisfying.