The Art of Gift-Giving, Tumblr-Style

by Mariah Castillo

Guaranteed to be less awkward than your office Secret Santa.

Around this time last year, when I wasn’t stressing out over finals, I was stressing out about getting amazing gifts for my friends, and being someone who really shouldn’t be spending a lot of money, finding good gifts for them was hard!

Around this time as well, I signed up for a Secret Santa exchange for a fandom on Tumblr, and it was one of the most fun and fulfilling experiences I’ve had with the website.

Some people might be scratching their heads a little over a gift exchange on Tumblr. How exactly do you give and get gifts on a website?

Based on my experience, you get them digitally! Art, writing, gif sets, videos, and other virtual items are all free reign. You might not actually be able to hold your gift, but, as they say, it’s the thought that counts! It also saves you from spending too much money on making your gift. You most likely have a word processor, an art program, and/or a video editing program on your computer, and you can makes gif sets online. There are also online programs you can try out if you don’t have the programs you need. Don’t stress out too much!

From my experience, Tumblr Secret Santas generally follow a certain procedure.

  1. You send your wish list to the blog who’s running it. Include the kind of gift you want (writing, photo sets, art, gif sets, videos, etc.), the characters you’d like to see, and other details. The moderators of the Secret Santa blog usually have a blank wish list people can use as a guideline.
  2. The moderators send you the url of the person you will be making gifts for.
  3. By a certain date, you post your gift on your blog and tag the url of your giftee or submit it straight to their submissions box!
That’s not quite how it works…

I personally find these Tumblr Secret Santas more fulfilling than my previous experiences with gift giving during this season. As part of a fandom, I already have something in common with my giftee, meaning that I have a sort of connection with him/her. I also have to make something for a stranger out of scratch, and regardless of whether you’ve even talked to them, you still put your best effort in what you’re giving. The fact that you’re giving something you made is all the more satisfying.

Another Tumblr Secret Santa involves anonymously sending encouragement, asking about their day, or just overall being a sweet person daily to your assigned url, and on Christmas you reveal yourself. Anonymous messages have a bad reputation of spreading hate on Tumblr, and this Secret Santa is a way to show that anonymous messages can have their sweet side.

Of course, there are some Tumblr users who do mail people physical gifts. On Valentine’s Day I got an Avengers-themed card in my Altschul mailbox. Other people do giveaways on their own, but the winners are usually decided at random. In Tumblr Secret Santas, everyone gets something they’ll appreciate. In the gaps of time where I don’t have anything urgent to do or don’t want to study, I’ll be writing my fanfiction for the Avatar Secret Santa and Young Justice Secret Santa, as well as sending cutesy messages anonymously. It’s definitely the season to be jolly.

Follow The Nine Ways of Knowing on Tumblr here. We are not participating in any Secret Santas, but sometimes we post nice things. And we follow back!

Mariah Castillo is a sophomore at Barnard and the Food and New York Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Images courtesy of A.V. Club and someecards.

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