Monday, December 20, 2010

Jim Saunders: "The World's Biggest Secret Santa?"

The fist banged loudly on my apartment door.

“Yoboseyo!” came the voice of the Korean mailman outside.

Yes! It had arrived!

I scrambled expectantly from my chair and hurried to click off the door lock before turning the handle to push the door open.

There it was.

A parcel wrapped in green paper covered with cute, white, christmas bears and red boughs of holly. Its size came in at just a bit bigger than a 400-page trashy-thriller paperback.

The mailman looked at me and looked down at the package as if to confirm the recipient. He pointed to my name written clearly in the Korean alphabet, Hangul.

“Jim son-doh-suh?” he enquired, wonderfully Koreanizing my distinctly western name.

“Yes, that's me!” I replied.


Jeju Island, South Korea, then, had received its gift involving some 14,959 people from 87 different countries.

But there was still fifty per cent to finish, going from me to elsewhere in the world.

And when that recipient received that gift, all would be done for Christmas.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is Reddit Secret Santa 2010.

The gift I got. It was mailed from inside Korea. But what is it?


Now I could take up the rest of the blog post with trying to explain what Reddit actually is. But apart from being pure awesomeness, it can mean something different to each and every one of its users. So I just decided to do the easy thing and search Wikipedia on your behalf. Enjoy a very standard definition:

Users (also called redditors) can browse and have the option to submit links to content on the Internet or submit "self" posts that contain original, user-submitted text. Other users may then vote the posted links "up" or "down" with the most successful links gaining prominence by reaching the front page. In addition, users can comment on the posted links and reply to other commentators consequently forming an online community.”

The most important words there for me are online community. That's what I feel I'm part of having been a member of Reddit for three-plus years now. And that online community is what made me want to finally take the plunge for the secret santa this year. Since I live on Korea's largest island, I thought best I send something unique (and costing about $15) USD from there.

These days, that “something unique” from Jeju could be related to the Jeju Olle walking trails which loop the island. After a quick trip to one of the trail centres I now had a 2011 calendar, postcards, neck scarf, guidebook and key chain.

So did my giftee enjoy my gift when he got it all the way over in Alabama? His response warmed my heart and made all the effort more than worth it:

I really like my secret santa gift! Although I do not know his reddit username, but would like to thank him for the gift. (I won't post his real name).

What makes it special is I had asked for something unique from areas/countries around the world and thats what I got!

I have never heard of Jeju olle before, but I do love hiking and travel and the guide really makes me want to go! Looks like a unique experience.

Thanks again secret santa and everyone reading, check out Jeju Olle South Korea, its beautiful! I will have to come back and upload more pictures of the beautiful places in Jeju Olle.”

Jeju Olle items successfully arrive in Alabama!

Oh and remember that gift the mailman delivered to me for my part in secret santa?

Well, just like me, you'll just have to wait until Dec. 25 to find out what's inside the wrapping.


I mean, it is a Christmas present!

Jim Saunders is the founder and the editor extraordinaire of JejuLife Magazine, a lifestyle magazine for foreigners living on Jeju Island, specifically and South Korea, generally...he is a journalist who has travelled throughout the world and settled on beautiful Jeju...Jim has a unique talent where he can make even the most mundane story so exciting it will have you sitting on the edge of your seat...not only is Jim a brilliant writer but also a very good friend, whom is very much missed over here in the land of snow and Tim Horton's double-doubles!


Ashelle said...

Oh fun!!! I'd die from curiosity having a gift for me all wrapped up just waiting... You are patient!

Anonymous said...

And here's what I got!

Jim Saunders said...

And here's what I got!

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