Leave it to New Zealand to turn Secret Santa into a national pastime.
For the seventh year running, the country will transform thousands of Kiwis into anonymous gift givers. How did they manage to organize such holiday magic? It's all made possible through Twitter, with prospective Kris Kringles reviewing the tweets of the person they're matched with to figure out what kind of gift to send. Once wrapped, the presents are sent to a warehouse outside the city of Auckland and forwarded to their final destinations somewhere in New Zealand.
The nearly 2,000 people playing this year are already tweeting out gifting hints to their Secret Santas, with many both hilarious and heartfelt:
From humble beginnings
In its infancy, the entire campaign was run by a New Zealand pumpkin farmer.
"I had a conversation on Twitter and the topic of Secret Santa in the workplace came up; we discussed how cool it would be if there was a Secret Santa for people on Twitter," New Zealander Sam Elton-Walters recalled in a blog post. "That thought must have stuck in my head as next thing I know I am announcing that’s what I was going to do. There was no planning, or real thought put into it. It seemed like a good idea and I asked whoever wanted to take part to DM me their addresses and I would match them up with someone."
Before long, he had hundreds of people signing up to play, with the chaos of keeping up with everything leading to some presents being delivered in March. To keep the game in play without being crushed by its organizational demands, he handed over the operation to the New Zealand Post in 2013.
"I can’t think of a better company to be running NZ Secret Santa, and I get excited to take part every year, I hope you do too," he added.
Similar to previous years, all gifts sent late (after Dec. 4) will be donated to the children's cancer charity CanTeen.