Aaaah… I’m a little nervous about putting it out there on here that I frequent Reddit. And who knows, I may create a separate account after posting this just to protect my own privacy there… However, I had to post this.
It all started last year before Christmas. I’d heard about Reddit’s Secret Santa gift exchange. I knew people who had participated in past gift exchanges, so I decided to give it a shot. I signed up for Secret Santa 2011.
I got a match, I sent my gifts, and got a very enthusiastic response. Dude was pretty stoked about the stuff I sent. I also did a re-match, sent to another person, I can’t recall exactly, but I think they were pretty excited too. I also received a really awesome package from my Secret Santa in Poland that included a pack of my absolute favourite pencil crayons from Lyra which I cannot seem to find in Canada :(. So I was pretty stoked.
That was just the beginning…
I participated in Book Exchange this year, and that was awesome. I sent a book my giftee had been wanting to read and some tea and she seemed quite pleased with all of it as well.
More recently I participated in Arbitrary Day. Arbitrary Day is June 25th, and its Reddit’s Summertime Secret Santa where we just give because we feel like giving.
My giftee’s response wasn’t quite as enthusiastic for Arbitrary day, but I still think he was stoked, I thoroughly enjoyed myself during the searching and purchasing part.
Most recently I participated in Gifts for Teachers. This is a bit different than most Reddit Gift Exchanges because it was mostly one sided.
It came up on reddit that a huge majority of teachers, most of whom are notoriously underpaid, spend a significant amount of their personal money on school supplies for their classroom every year. This happens for a variety of reasons, from students not having the financial resources to purchase what they need, to teachers not having the funding resources to supply their classrooms. I think there are tons of teachers who feel like they just can’t make class into a truly positive learning environment with the limited resources they are given. Teachers are some dedicated, passionate people yo, they are like, really amazing people. So in the end, teachers end up spending what they can out of their own pockets to improve their classroom environment however they can.
So Reddit Teacher exchange matched up all us “other” people with teachers who needed stuff. So I signed up for this. My cousin over at Mrs. W’s Non-Fiction Diction is a new teacher, I have friends with kids in school, I have friends who work in classrooms as aides, and I remember how difficult school was for me (although this may have been due to attitude problems on my part). So I am kind of attached to the idea of giving students a good school experience.
In school, my least favourite, and most difficult subject was always Math… SURPRISE! Reddit gifts matched me up with a grade 7 Math/Science teacher. Thats Karma for ya. Anyway, this teacher has been teaching for a long time (34 yrs), and from the digging I did it seems like she is still crazy passionate about her job. Just this year, she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer!!!! And she has been through all her treatments, pronounced healthy again, and is right back in the classroom teaching grade 7 again this fall! That is dedication!
I wanted to make sure that I got my gift sent out early for this exchange since I know school has started already, or is starting soon in a lot of places. So this time I went straight to her Amazon.com wishlist, ordered it all and had it shipped off as a gift. I felt a little bad that I didn’t make it more personal, because usually I hunt around a bit and try to find something really special to send. But I didn’t want to waste time on this one.
Yesterday, my teacher posted about receiving the gifts. This is the most enthusiastic response I’ve received yet in reddit gifts, and I was soooooooo happy to see the pictures. Even for little stuff that I thought was impersonal, her students were stoked to get and you can see the excitement in their faces. And, she also mentioned that they asked why I sent the stuff and she was able to explain to them that its just because I care. So she was able to show them another little life lesson about caring for other people which is awesome :).
So needless to say, Reddit Gifts has truly been an awesome experience for me, and I’m now a little bit addicted. I can’t wait for Secret Santa 2012.
So here is a link to the post my teacher put up with pictures of her class with the stuff I sent. Enjoy! And please consider participating in Reddit Gift exchanges yourself!\
Also PS, Reddit Gifts actually set a Guiness Record with Secret Santa 2011. Yah, we rock! 😀