Secret Santa gift-giving game goes viral

December 20, 2011 6:49:09 PM PST
This holiday season, gift-giving has gone viral, in what's likely the largest Secret Santa exchange in history. A local man's idea has tens of thousands of people giving gifts to perfect strangers.

It's all part of an epic Secret Santa game that started when Dan McComas was surfing the website Reddit while he was at work.

"I had this fleeting thought of what would a Secret Santa be like on Reddit?" McComas said. "And within a couple hours, a few thousand people had expressed interest."

Two years later, McComas works for Reddit and his Secret Santa game is about to clinch the Guinness World Record for the largest ever, at just over 30,000 gifts.

"We've got people from countries that I honestly didn't know existed. It's just amazing," he said. "People spend a lot of time researching the person they're going to send a gift to. They'll go through their comments on Facebook or Reddit or Twitter."

"It's almost like detective work to figure out what they might like and what they won't," said Paige Mercurio, who's Secret Santa snooped just enough. "[I received] a nearly 5-foot long inflatable floating remote control shark, which is great. I'm a huge San Jose Sharks fan."

"The effort people put into this is just mind-blowing. I love it," said participant Julia Udell. "I'd like to think that it's because at a very basic level, it just feels really good to give to other people."

Some people go above and beyond.

"I've needed a laptop for the longest freaking time," said another participant. "I have no idea how this person found out I needed a laptop. I don't know. Oh my God."

"It's just doing nice things for people, making people happy," McComas said. "If we can do more of that, i think we've won."


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