Tips to Make Yourself the best Secret Santa
T. Nomad
Netherlands
Den Bosch
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Season's Greetings, everyone.

Whether you're a Secret Santa, a Chanukah Harry, A Kwanzaa Kim, or even a (very late) Diwali Deepa; whether you're participating in one exchange or all 6 (that's how many I could think of right now), this geeklist has the skinny on how to transform yourself into a well-loved gift-giver.
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1. Board Game: I Need A Sign! [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
T. Nomad
Netherlands
Den Bosch
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It all starts with signing up. No, I don't mean leaving a pithy note on one of the many forums related to the exchanges. There's usually more to it than that.

In the case of Tom Vasel's international effort, it means going to the sign-up form:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/secretsanta


For the Wargamers' exchange, you must send a trade request to
Santa Grogs
APO/FPO
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The antipodean region is small & isolated. For the third year running, New Zealand and Australia have a regional Secret Santa alongside (not instead of) the big one. To participate, send a geekmail to
Stew Woods
Australia
Cygnet
Tasmania
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The kool kats over at RPGgeek are having an exchange of their own, as well. To join, shoot a geekmail over to
MSV Burns
United States
Olympia
Washington
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If you want to join the Xmas Card Exchange, you have to send your intention to
David Kahnt
United States
Youngstown
Ohio
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It's fun, it's healthy, it's good exercise. The kids will just love it. And we put a little sand inside to make the experience more pleasant.
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You know, they say there was a man who jumped from the forty-FIFTH floor? But that's another story...
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All you crafty types can join in the Print and Play Secret Santa. Just send a geekmail to
Andrew Tullsen
United States
VANCOUVER
WA
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48 hour turnaround time for Prototypes!
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You can't participate if you don't enter!
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2. Board Game: Mit List und Tücke [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:4956]
T. Nomad
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Den Bosch
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Your main resource as Santa is someone's wishlist.

Right now, if you merely click on your victim target recipient's wishlist link, you get a jumble of information you can't really use. jludlow has provided all of us with a valuable tool to see the really juicy details in the wishlist: the comments!


Alternatively, typing http://www.boardgamegeek.com/wishlist/[USER'SNAME] into the URL bar in your browser should have the same effect.
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3. Board Game: Double Quick [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:9485]
T. Nomad
Netherlands
Den Bosch
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Once you've got your victim target recipient's name, make sure you can find them (and their wishlist) easily by adding them to your quickbar. Just navigate to the page you want, mouse up to the quickbar, and click on the +!

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4. Board Game: Stalk-1 [Average Rating:5.95 Unranked]
T. Nomad
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Den Bosch
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A truly great Santa stalks their victim target recipient.
At least check their profile & their wishlist, but to go the extra mile, look into their other contributions (it's the 4th tab in their profile). Maybe you could learn something more about their tastes/wishes, and surprise them with a stocking stuffer they hadn't even thought to ask for!

(Their interests--next to contributions--are often a good source of non-game bonus-gift ideas.)

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5. Board Game: Temptation [Average Rating:3.67 Unranked]
T. Nomad
Netherlands
Den Bosch
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Use the BGG Santa account to taunt your victim target recipient.

Secret Santa
Canada
Quebec
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Ho ho ho, Jolly Santa here from the Great White North wishing you a Merry Christmas
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Ho ho ho! It tickles when you poke me like that. Don't make me put you on the naughty list!
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The password for the account is: password.

You might want to tell them to reply (to any geekmails you send as Santa) in their profile, as it can be a bit laborious to wade through thousands of messages in Santa's inbox come Nov-Dec.
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6. Board Game: Tycoon: The International Shipping Game [Average Rating:3.80 Unranked]
T. Nomad
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Den Bosch
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Don't spend all your pennies making shipping magnates and border taxmen rich! Most countries have game stores, many of them online. Use them instead of shipping from home.

If your victim target recipient is from a (non-EU) country where you don't speak the language, enlist the aid of another geek. Just click on their flag to find someone from their country. Those with geekbadges and avatars tend to spend the most time here, and are likely most willing to play translator-elf to your Kris Kringle.

Within the EU, there are lots of English-speaking staff at stores in other countries who can help you via email, as well as UK stores that ship to the rest of the continent.

kuhrusty deserves your thumbs and kudos for running a Secret Santas retailers' list:
Secret Santa Stores 2009
Wow! There are some generous offers here!
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7. Board Game: Let's Get Personal [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
T. Nomad
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Embellish your gifts with personal touches. Send a second package (smaller, if need be) from home, rather than only from the retailer.

Some people send holiday baking: be sure to include an ingredient list in case of allergies, and to triple-wrap those buttery biscuits, to protect the games.

Some send stocking stuffers for their recipient or family members: hand-me-down kids' books/baby clothes are popular, as are PnP games & gaming accessories like dice, dice bags, or some cool player aides. You can download those from right here on the 'geek!

If you do send from home, wrap. Be creative & environmentally aware (in our family we reuse colourful wallpaper/magazine pages), but by all means pretty it up!
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8. Board Game: If Wishes Were Fishes! [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:2399]
T. Nomad
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You also have responsibilities as a receiver. Your main one is to provide your Santa with a good selection of gifts from which to choose. That means:

- many (100 is better than 20) games
- in a range of prices and availability
- on your WISHlist
- ranked in order of desire
- marked for the specific exchange, if relevant



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9. Board Game: The Communication in Catan [Average Rating:7.70 Unranked]
T. Nomad
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Let your Santa know what you want.

The clearer you are about your wishes, the better. Use your profile to communicate with your Santa. You can:

- rank your most-wanted games
- include shipping information
- communicate important info about multiple Secret Santas




edited to add: if you're the type to get right to the point, you can tell Santa your #1-most-wished-for-game here, on marvac's great Dear Santa geeklist.
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10. Board Game: Generosity [Average Rating:5.42 Unranked]
 
T. Nomad
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Finally, participate in the spirit of giving. Researching, preparing and sending heartfelt, creative gifts will always make you feel better than receiving even the #1 game on your must-have list. So jump into the experience without reserve, and do whatever you can to make a fellow geek's holiday the best you can.
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11. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:131] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
Finland
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All reality is a game. Physics at its most fundamental, the very fabric of our universe, results directly from the interaction of certain fairly simple rules, and chance; the same description may be applied to the best, most elegant and both intellec
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and aesthetically satisfying games. By being unknowable, by resulting from events which, at the sub-atomic level, cannot be fully predicted, the future remains malleable, and retains the possibility of change, the hope of coming to prevail; victory.
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Tip #452 - Move to Finland, drive up to Rovaniemi, find http://www.santaclausvillage.info/eng/arctic_circle.htm, post the game from there.
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