Give a Little Reddit Gift (Part 1 of 3)

Posted: July 3, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

By Tricia Lunt and Paul Gaszak, English Faculty

On April 6, 2013, fellow Turtle author Paul Gaszak and I attended the TEDx DePaulU Creators and Curators event at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. We heard ten talks, with one of the most interesting given by Dan McComas, creator of Reddit Gifts, which is an online, international gift exchange.

Inspired by the lecture, we decided to join the gift-giving fray for the celebration of Arbitrary Day, June 25th, which is one of Reddit Gifts’ two big holidays along with Christmas.

Signing up required both a Reddit account and a Reddit Gifts account. A profile is also created to provide some personal information about our tastes, likes, dislikes, and t-shirt size so our gifters could get a start on identifying what to give us.

Everyone who signs up is randomly assigned a gift recipient from somewhere around the globe. I was assigned a woman in Krakow, Poland and Paul was assigned a man in Mesa, Arizona. Two different people were assigned to give to us. So, lots of Arbitrary gifts were put in motion by the June 21st shipping deadline.

Here are our experiences with the process of picking out a gift:

Trish: When I signed up, I checked the “willing to ship internationally” box, and was thrilled to see that I would be giving to Monika in Krakow. Reddit Gifts encourages “non-creepy” stalking, which includes checking the recipient’s awesomeness-from-chicago-1372184891Reddit profile, doing basic Google searches, and maybe checking social media sites. However, Monika doesn’t show up very many places online, so I just scoured the profile she provided, and opted to send her the perfect lady gift: a new purse. A new purse is what every woman wants, but no woman needs. And I decided to I buy local items, since although the Internet offers a lot, it can’t capture the feel of Chicago neighborhoods. I wanted to send bits of Chicago to my recipient. The purse was one I wanted from one of my favorite shops, Wolfbait & B Girls, which is fabulous, and conveniently located in Logan Square. To the purse, I added a few small items. I bought a chapbook of silly stories written by some of the brilliantly funny young students from 826Chicago, the creative writing center in Wicker Park where I volunteer. I added a Chicago Flag  star pin for its iconic charm, and threw in a Chicago t-shirt for the souvenir effect, along with Chicago post cards because no one can have enough views of Chicago.

SharkPaul: My gift recipient had a wishlist built into Reddit Gifts, and he also had a detailed profile that made selecting a gift simultaneously easy and difficult. All people have diverse interests and just seeing a list of those interests doesn’t make for the easiest task. However, one idea jumped to mind immediately. My recipient is interested in marine biology, Batman Pintaquariums, sharks, and art, so I thought immediately that a gift from Chicago Shedd Aquarium would be appropriate. I sent him a multi-colored, mosaic art shark sculpture. It seemed odd and interesting, which is something I’m hoping for in my own gift. I don’t want or need something extravagant – I want something I wouldn’t think to buy for myself. In the event that he doesn’t like that gift, I also got him one of his wish list items: a Batman pint glass with an attachable cape. As a fellow Batman/superhero fan, I could get behind such a delightfully geeky gift.

—–

In Part 2, Paul and I discuss the many interesting facets of the Reddit Gifts idea and process as we wait for our gifts to be received and our own to arrive!

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Comments
  1. Arbitrary Day 2013 was my 5th reddit gift exchange since Christmas. They are so much fun. I have received books, posters, and my Han Solo life size deal. =)

    • That’s awesome, Blake! There are other smaller gift swaps in addition to Arbitrary Day and Christmas, right? Themed on different stuff? It sounds like you’ve had success during those as well. —Paul

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