Yes, that's right, it's Secret Santa time. Now, I've been involved with two Secret Santas, Boardgamegeek (3 years) and Dice Tower (2 years). I've had a blast with both, especially last year. See, last year, I was at home, so I had some more time to personalize things and get creative. I went so far as to have an SS e-mail account to go back and forth with my target. The thing I enjoyed most of all, was being able to send some almonds. My Dicetower target was a lot of fun, he really got into the guessing game and going back and forth with things. My BGG target wasn't in the same holiday mood, but to each their own.
Giving games to others is really the part of the process that excites me the most. Sure, I love getting new games, especially when I don't know what they are, but being able to provide a gaming gift to a fellow gamer is truly a joy. To that end, I've also signed up for the BGG Christmas Card Exchange, which is another fun way to spread the holiday cheer.
On the receiving end, I've had some mixed experiences, and no, this has nothing to do with the games I received.
The first year(2009) I got Dominion: Seaside and Acquire. Both are games/expansion I enjoy and still play today, but Santa didn't really do anything above and beyond. There was no taunting, no communication beyond. Now, I know some Santas like to be secretive, and that's all well and good, I just appreciate something a little more fun.
The next year (2010) was really a mix. I was in 2, DT and BGG. I got an e-mail from my DT Santa in mid-November saying that packages were on the way. I got them at Thanksgiving, along with a very nice Christmas card. I was able to correspond with my Santa a couple of times, and had a great time doing that. He went above and beyond in customizing Roll Through the Ages for me, and with additions of Incan Gold and No Thanks, he's definitely been the Santa who's provided the highest ranked games for me. That was the awesome part one. BGG was a lesson in patience. My first Santa had something come up and he wasn't able to follow through, same with my 2nd Santa. Well, the 3rd one made up for everything, and even though I was the last person to get games, I know that I was blessed by it, and that my Santa was blessed for being so very generous.
2011 was better. BGG still arrived late (Valentines day this time) but DT was early, so it balanced out, plus extended Christmas.
I've learned many lessons is patience and delayed gratification from Secret Santa. It would be easy to focus on the negative aspects, but when I've read the words of joy that come from my targets, it makes everything worth it. If I think about the smiles I've gotten from reading my targets posts, and the smiles I've gotten from getting my own games, they come out pretty even. But when I factor in the smiles my Santas have gotten from my posts, I know without a doubt that it is better to give than to receive.
With that, consider joining a secret santa. You can find the info for BGG at this link. For info on the Dicetower Secret Santa, you'll need to listen to episode 276.
You don't have much time, I think both are closing in early November, so sign-up now and make a fellow geek happy in the holiday season.
Also, a promise from me, games are staying wrapped until Christmas Eve this year.