Recently, I noticed the first signs of the upcoming holiday shopping season. The first was that a local station was getting ready to go all in on Christmas music pretty soon. While the date varies, they, along with tons of other radio stations will soon be playing it all the time through Christmas Day. Stores are either putting holiday decorations and related merchandise out on the floor or have already done so.
The other sign was that on two of the hobby message boards I frequent, literally within minutes of each other, there were two Secret Santa threads started. Personally, I’ve really enjoyed participating in some of those gift exchanges. Essentially, you buy a hobby-related item for another person in the exchange and they do the same for you, with each package based on your interests.
Giving needs to be just as much fun as receiving during the holidays. A few years ago, in addition to all the nice items I received from a fellow participant, he also included some “I Love New York” items as throw-ins as he was from the New York area and wanted me to appreciate how great New York was. Well, unbeknownst to him, I grew up in the same place and those little throw-ins have meant as much to me than any of the other fine gifts I have received over the years.
Recently, I received a very nice email from Mike Levine who wrote: “I just want to thank you for mentioning my uncle Mike Gordon in one of your stories. I read your articles all the time. It was just a pleasure to hear about one of his stories.” You never know about how people are going to be touched by hobby-related kindnesses.
Many years ago when I was at Beckett, we had a very strict policy about free magazine subscriptions for employees. Since I was working on so many different magazines and writing columns for them, I did want my parents to see the articles in print. Well, one of my second cousins was stricken with cancer (thankfully he survived and is still with us and in fine health today) and wanted some of our magazines to read while he was sick. I explained to the person in charge of the subscriptions why I wanted to go over the limit and was told, “That’s not a problem. In situations such as that we’re always happy to help”. I was later told knowing those magazines were coming really gave my second cousin a reason to get through each day.
It’s those “little things” that make the hobby fun and the Secret Santa is designed to be just that.
So, what I would like to do this year –if we can generate enough interest from you– is to hold our own Secret Santa exchange through this column. We’ll set a spending limit and I’ll stay in contact with you to make sure it all goes smoothly. I think this would be a blast for 2014 and let’s see if we can spread the holiday spirit to more collectors. After all, wouldn’t you rather be exchanging gifts with fellow collectors—and getting something that you know will be fun to open—than exchanging with a family member who has no idea what to get you and vice versa?
If you are interested, please email me with what you collect and we’ll try to match you up with other people with similar interests. We’ll keep the offer open for a couple of weeks to give everyone time to get on board, but still enough time for you to do your shopping.
And by the way, if enough DFW area collectors want to contact me, we’ll find a place and do an in-person gift exchange.