Reddit Declares War on Christmas, Ends Secret Santa

Reddit Declares War on Christmas, Ends Secret Santa
Screenshot: r/SecretSanta

No more presents from Bill Gates.


Yesterday, admins made the baffling and infuriating announcement that Reddit is shutting down the beloved Secret Santa platform Reddit Gifts after the 2021 holiday season. Christmas Reddit, under assault. All Stonks Day, every day, forever. Wrapping paper, smouldering atop on a single lump of Reddit coal.

Over the years, the related forum r/secretsanta has attracted over 200,000 members and celebrity surprises such as a cat drawing by Arnold Schwarzennegger, an autographed photo of Shaq, and annual thoughtful gift packages from Bill Gates containing items such as video games, a horse blanket, and 37 kg of books and toys.

“Why the fuck would you kill this,” a top comment reads. Reddit admins didn’t explain much in their announcement yesterday but acknowledged that “countless acts of love, heroism, compassion, support, growth and hilarity happened through Reddit Gifts, and those memories will live on in the hearts of our community.” Plus loads of free press. Why the fuck would you kill this? Reddit has not yet responded to Gizmodo’s request for comment.

Admins explained that Reddit is investing in platform-wide features, such as mod tools and security features. Perhaps it also has to do with the fact that Wall Street Bets now ranks as the third most active subreddit, followed by crypto tips forums CryptoMoonRocks and CryptoMoon. The admins’ links to Reddit updates point to, among other things, traffic insights for Wall Street Bets and doge head avatars for premium subscribers.

As the Independent has reported, interest in Secret Santa has waned slightly in recent years, down to around 100,000 participants, compared with Wall Street Bets’s 10.5 million members.

Reddit Secret Santa creator Dan McComas has stepped in to try to save the exchange. McComas created the then-volunteer-run forum in 2009 with a $US15 ($19) gift limit and turned it into its own exchange; as Wired reported that the time, thousands of user sign-ups turned into a lot of legwork, and McComas sent tens of thousands of individual and bulk customer service emails. Reddit bought the platform in 2011.

“So you took over someone elses [sic] project years ago, made some money off of it and then killed it,” a redditor wrote. Another: “Translation – we weren’t making enough money off this to be worth out time & effort.”

In a comment, McComas offered to take over from Reddit free of charge, even running their ads and allowing Reddit to pocket the profits. Reddit apparently didn’t take him up on that, so McComas launched r/newsecretsanta, with the first three employees returning as moderators, and now over 7,000 members. (At the time of this writing, it’s the fastest-growing subreddit.) He’s currently soliciting developers, AWS admins, designers, copywriters, and a “shitton of people willing to spread the word, bring more people in, make people happy :)”

Gizmodo has reached out to ask whether he’ll be accepting the donations we would cheerfully give and will update the post if we hear back.