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Virtual Secret Santas – the Global Voices Way

GV Secret Santa

A secret message from one GV virtual secret Santa in Bangladesh to his “victim” in Germany

One of the sillier traditions of Christmas is to delight someone (anonymously) with surprises throughout the month of December.

Around 20 Global Voices authors and translators signed up to become a virtual “Secret Santas” this year for another GV'er. We had cheerful vibes traveling across the Internet from Egypt to Ethiopia, Pakistan to Brazil, Bangladesh to Germany.

But how do you keep someone virtually in suspense for a whole month, sending messages without revealing your identity? Here are a few tips from those who tried and succeeded!

Create a new email address and/or Twitter handle for Santa messages to your “victims”. Then think of both tangible and intangible things to send them. Surprise them with a playlist of songs, poems or an award certificate by email.

Give your victim witty hints of Santa's identity. Send them messages in different languages to throw them off your trail. Buy gifts from a local online retailer to mask your location. Send them a ringtone. A hand-drawn portrait. E-cards. Retweet their tweets.

And of course, there's always the option of sending a card or gift in the mail. But watch out for relying 100% on the international postal services, or you might see a message like this one:

Solaaaaa, my santaaaa forgot meeee

In the end, the whole thing has less to do with Christmas (which several Santas don't even celebrate) and all to do with inspiring friendship and community across borders and enjoying an opportunity to be creative.

From all who were not “forgotten” GV Santas got rave reviews:

My Santa was extremely witty and kept sending me cool hints about herself and where she comes from. Very very creative. Loved the entire experience :)

My Santa is the most amazing one I've ever had. Made me smile with thoughtful gifts and messages. Thing is… I still don't know who she/he is!!! Come out dear Santa! :)

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