A colleague of mine (Paul O'Fallon) sent this story to me today about a community of strangers who participated in the largest secret santa ever. Over 4,500 people signed up and 5,000 gifts were sent.
You can read about how it worked and see photos of some of the gifts in Anthony Cangiano's blog. I particularly liked this quote from his blog:
There is something extremely appealing about being assigned the task of finding a present for someone who is a total stranger. The usual dynamics of exchanging gifts are overhauled by removing a sense of awareness when it comes to what the receiver expects, their known likes and dislikes, and the expectation of getting something back in return.
In a way it's a novel, purer form of gift giving that I enthusiastically embraced for the first time in my life (I'm from Italy where Secret Santa initiatives are not customary). I subscribe to the theory that strangers are friends we haven't met yet, and I feel that showing generosity towards, and interest in, strangers is one small way to improve this world.
Have your community managers organized anything like this before? How did it go?
Well, that's a really interesting concept.