Secret Santa 2012

edited November 2012 in Make Stuff!
Hello friends.

In 2009 story games had a Secret Santa gift exchange. You submit your name (& address) and in return you get someone else's name (& address). It becomes your super secret mission to deliver them a gift, delighting them and bringing our forum community closer together.

2012 has had its highs and lows. Our forum community is bigger now, and perhaps more fragmentary. Andy asked me if I'd like to step up and run another Secret Santa gift exchange for our community. "Sure," I thought. "But if that's to work, we'd need to launch right away." And then I dropped the ball for about four days. But here we are, now, together.

I'd like to formally invite you to participate in the 2012 Story Games Secret Santa.

To sign up, whisper me a message that includes:
Your Name
An Email Address You Can Be Reached At
Your Full Mailing Address
Three things you like (like: genres, hobbies, specific games, colours, etc), in case your Santa is stumped. Single words or short phrases.

Sign up by 6pm PST Friday (November 30th).
I'll then email everyone their Secret Santa target shortly after.
In order for the gift to reach its target in time for Christmas / The End of the World, you'll move promptly in choosing and mailing out a gift.

People from any country can participate. I'll try to have as many domestic/continental pairings as possible.

No love of santa/christmas required. You can recoin it Secret Stavropoulos in your head if you'd prefer a non-denominational name variant. (Because he's a generous, jolly fellow too.)

General Gift Guidelines:
Gifts can be purchased or handmade.
If purchased, gifts shouldn't exceed a twenty-five dollar price point.
Feel free to disregard the "things this person likes" - those are a tool, not a constraint.
Include a card or personal message of some sort!
Be lovely and thoughtful.


  • Joe, this is honestly very awesome of you to volunteer your time for this again. This has been a wonderful event in the past, and I'm glad to see it back.

    I had a very memorable one back in 2009 (I basically ran an ARG for three weeks using ten different servers/services for the sole enjoyment of @Eric_J_Boyd , who was a very good sport about it!), and I'm definitely going to participate in it this year.

    It's definitely been a weird year, with tons of new members joining, but at the same time feeling more fragmented and tense at times. Hopefully this will draw some folks (at least two, giver and receiver) together, as the end of the year (a festive time for most world cultures) draws near.

    Again, thanks for stepping in Joe. I always appreciate your enthusiasm!

    I'm totally in. I'd absolutely recommend the experience to others here, too, especially even if you consider yourself "just a lurker". Come share!

  • Looks like somebody is getting a game from me for Stavropoulosmass!
  • Stavropoulmas
  • edited November 2012
    I love this!
    Thanks for the thread, @Mcdaldno Claus!
  • I'm totally in! As long as I'm not breaking any rules by being out of country (far, far out of country)
  • That shouldn't be too much of a problem: There's always the option to choose electronic gifts and the like. Or just ship things using methods that take international rates into account (like in the US, the USPS "flat rate envelopes"), etc.
  • It's crazy how hard coming up with the list of three things is. :)
  • One of mine was technically two things:

    Unique/pretty playing cards and/or pairs of unique/pretty d6s (for *World games).

  • I'm totally in! As long as I'm not breaking any rules by being out of country (far, far out of country)
    Out of what country?
    Story Games does not exist in any one physical locale.

    We've got posters in Brazil, the United States, Canada, England, France, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Japan, and more.

    Someone will be excited to ship a secret gift to you.
  • edited November 2012
    It's crazy how hard coming up with the list of three things is. :)
    Your list is pretty good.

    Here are some examples if it's helpful for anyone. Things you might like:

    Green, blue, zines, weird candies, oceans, comp sci geekery, manga, death metal, Lady Blackbird, seapunk, Doctor Who, knick-knacks, golf, playing cards, local favourites, OSR (Old Skool Revolution), hip hop, Spiderman, Renaissance history, fancy accessories, jokes, baking.

    A good list will let your secret santa know more about you and what you like, without prescribing any specific present. Your secret santa should be able to look at your list for a minute, muse about it for a couple hours, then say, "Aha! I've got it!" Try to set yourself up to be surprised and delighted.
  • about twenty people signed up so far.
    still a couple days to get your name in.
  • Temped to do this, but I have really bad luck with Secret Santa. More often than not, I send something on, and don't get something back.
  • edited November 2012
    I've never done a secret Santa, but to avoid that sort of disappointment, I'm specifically programming myself with these expectations: I'm going to send something to someone because it's fun. Maybe they'll like it and maybe they'll just regift it -- it's all good. And if I get something from someone else, that'll be pretty fun too. And so much the better if I particularly like it!
  • Temped to do this, but I have really bad luck with Secret Santa. More often than not, I send something on, and don't get something back.
    That's an unfortunate thing to hear. My thoughts in response -

    1. I definitely can't guarantee any amount of follow-through on the part of participants. I can only do my organizing work and hope people have the time, memory, thoughtfulness and enthusiasm to follow through on their end of the bargain.

    2. Given the possibility that your santa might be a flake, only sign up if the giving sounds like fun in-and-of itself. Do it because the idea of connecting with another story games person sounds fun, and let go of the expectation of this being an exchange. (And then if you receive a gift in return - bonus! everything actually worked!)
  • Reciprocation sometimes doesn't happen (some folks get caught up unexpectedly, so there is sometimes "lateness" if "at-allness"), it's always a risk with these things.

    My advice to participants is, "try sending something within the 10 days of getting your assignment". Oh, remember, this isn't a Christian thing, so rather than expecting something before the 25th, consider it before "the end of the year" so you don't get too let down.

    In any case, if for some reason a participant here doesn't get something as the new years rolls around, I'll make sure you get something. :-)

    But let's all make an effort to be prompt with our giving!

  • Hey, an offer:

    Anyone who participates in Secret Santa but who doesn't receive their expected gift by January 5th or so... I've got a digital gift that I'll send to you.
  • I've had bad luck with swaps in the past, but I enjoy the stalking- er, giving. Count me in! (whispered with details)
  • Only other time I've done something like this on the internet was back on the Deliria forums (does anyone even remember that game?) and it ended up super sweet. I only hope I can pull off something half as cool for my target -er.... uh, my designee.
  • The final day for Secret Santa registry!
  • I can't wait to get started browsing for my giftee!
  • edited November 2012
    Bawwww. Totally didn't notice this thread till now. Oh well, perhaps next year if we do it again!

    Edit: wait, what tube is it PST right now. Well, I send my info, and if I'm good I'm good.
  • I had a window of time today in which I was planning to complete the Secret Santa database/assignments. However, my bus got held up at the American/Canadian border, and then subsequently broke down outside Bellingham. 3 hours lost, 1 adventure gained.

    As a result, I've not compiled the assignments yet. Tomorrow I'm at a wedding. In turn, this means I won't get to compiling & sending out assignments until Sunday morning. What does this mean?

    The deadline to participate in Secret Santa has been extended to Sunday Morning at 8am PST.
  • Hope the adventure was a positive one, enjoy the wedding, thanks for all the hard work (you've done and you are about to do).
  • Alright. Forty-four secret santa assignments shuffled and dealt.

    Everyone should have received an email giving them their assignment.
    If you didn't receive such an email, it means I did something Wrong, and you should let me know.

    Do not tell your secret santa assignment who you are!

    If you're going to get something physical to them by Christmas, you'll have to act fast. Friday might make a good personal deadline to set for yourself (adjusting for distance you need to ship).

    You're all great at this and everyone's going to do an amazing job.
  • I didn't get an email, though I might have missed the deadline.
  • So we identify ourselves in the personal message/card? Or do we make our best attempt at retaining anonymity? I'm been part of Secret Santa bits that worked both ways, so I ask to be certain!
  • You identify yourself as "Santa".
  • So we identify ourselves in the personal message/card? Or do we make our best attempt at retaining anonymity? I'm been part of Secret Santa bits that worked both ways, so I ask to be certain!
    I think either is fine, so long as the recipient doesn't know who you are *prior* to their gift arriving.

    Personally, I'd lean towards revealing your name, because it allows people to develop new connections to other forum members, and that gives our forum a sense of community. Graham's stoic anonymity is also fine.

    Update on Secret Santa Assignments

    I missed someone's name altogether, and then also a couple people interpreted the directions in interesting ways: sending me direct messages rather than whispers, which then got overlooked. So a final round of assignments will go out tonight. If you still haven't received an assignment by tomorrow morning, whisper me an impertinent message.
  • I did a typo and identified myself as "Satan"... Hopefully I will not scare my giftee :P
  • I got it. After the update I keep confusing whispers with DMs. Thanks!
  • Man, I am enjoying this exchange *so hard*.

    Thanks for making this happen, Joe.
  • Thanks for making this happen, Joe.
    It was Andy's idea. I just did all the work.

  • I have NO clue what to get my guy.
  • I have NO clue what to get my guy.
    *checks your person*

    Yeah. Ha ha. Good luck with that one.

    I mean, those are just suggestions. You can also follow your heart. Pick something you love and want to share.
  • Aw, man, way to raise the bar. I hear Mcdaldnos are THE hot item this year.
  • Don't forget to post pictures in this thread once you get your gift. I want to see what that Macdaldno in a box looks like!
  • And here I was hoping for a McDaldno in the mail...
  • Nevermind, guise. Joe suggested a different gift, and I took pity on him and went with that instead. Seriously though, we should all share him because he's in our (Monster)hearts, amirite?
  • edited December 2012
    (i feel weird about the direction this thread is moving in, but mostly it's still funny to me.)
  • edited December 2012
    You shouldn't. It's just people loving you, because you're a great game designer and, more importantly, an all-around swell guy.
  • *nods*

    Thanks, Joseph. I totally get that, and it makes me smile.

    I also feel a bit weird being talked about as a commodity, and the more extended the joke, the more extended the weird feeling. "Shouldn't" is a funny/problematic word in this light. So I threw in that bracketed comment to make sure the joke ended before it got bad-weird for me.

    And now I drop this topic altogether and allow this thread to return to its santarian agenda.
  • Aww, sorry for starting that, if it made you uncomfortable. I assure you I meant no harm.
  • /facepalm Sorry.
    I'll just go back to the 'can't decide what to send my giftee corner'.
  • What is the weeaboo anime kumbaya "feelings" noise? This is Secret Santa!

    And Secret Santa is ALL PHAT LOOTZ!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!1!!!!!eleven!!!!!!!!!!

  • BAM! Package is in the mail!
  • As is my guy's!
  • Oh GOD! You people are mailing already!?!
  • I'm attempting to get mine mailed. :)

    Story game mechanic idea: Secret Santa x Dixit x Alignment Moves == create cards with player/character names on them, around three per active player. At the beginning of a session, randomly distribute these cards to all players. (If a player gets their own card, they discard and draw another.) During the session, the player should attempt to make the game interesting for their target, without being too obvious. At the end of the session, the players vote (Guns 'n Cash style: simultaneous pointing) for who they think each person's target was, one at a time. (First everyone would vote for who my target was, then the next person's, etc.)

    If everyone votes correctly, everyone marks XP except for the person who couldn't obscure their target. If nobody votes correctly, same (too obscure). Otherwise, people that guess correctly and the person whose target was guessed both mark XP (the latter marks it twice).
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