I’ve enjoyed a fairly good reception in the Warhammer community on Instagram (and beyond!). I’ve met a great many new hobbyists who continue to inspire me daily, and share in a passion for our silly toy soldiers that motivates each other to new heights. I’ve had minis published on the GW webstore, won painting competitions, and pushed my comfort zone in terms of hobbying all because of the support and camaraderie that has been shown to me. And this was all in just a little over a year of “published” work via Instagram; here’s to the coming year(s)!
To repay this overwhelming support, I wanted to do something for you, the little people. As I sat on my ivory tower musing on how to appease the lowly throngs, it struck me. It was the holiday season, after all, and what better way than to host a Secret Santa for everyone! It would take some work, but with careful accounting, and a little organization, I should be able to pull it off easy, I thought. I quickly set about working on the most challenging part of any major social media project: finding the right hashtag! After much deliberation, the exceedingly clever and topical #hohohobbyvices came to fruition. I then knocked out an Instagram post detailing what American participants had to do (email me to provide name, address, armies played, etc) and waited.
I got more than just Americans.
Long story short, I received over fifty applicants, many more than anticipated, with a large international presence to boot! Seriously, I had paired people as far away as Sweden and Australia! [Note from the future: 2018’s event had over 200 participants, and will continue to grow annually!] People were all over this concept, and it spread like wildfire. I probably didn’t advertise it as well as I should have, but even getting the 50+ participants was humbling. I am proud to have touched the hobby community in such a way, and hope I can continue to be some small player in this grand scheme of ours.
So I compiled the information, made a spreadsheet of paired people, addresses, and other relevant information, and sent each person their secret partner. It was tricky making sure people 1) didn’t get paired with someone else across the world, to avoid $90 shipping rates, 2) didn’t get paired with a friend they personally knew, and 3) make sure everyone got paired (!!!). A funny comment on point number two, one pair got matched together by pure coincidence, and they live in the same city and didn’t previously know each other. Am I a matchmaker or what?!
After about a month, gifts started to roll in to their respective recipients, and I was overjoyed with their reaction. Amazing posts by friends and strangers alike about excellent gifts filled my news feed. People were asking if they could enter late (sadly I couldn’t accept anyone after we began!), I felt pretty bad about this. But, that means there’s a large desire to continue doing it, and continue I shall!
Everyone seemed to have gotten a wonderful gift, handwritten cards, personal touches, and generally awesome packages, I was bummed I forgot to include myself in the rotation (author’s note: I did receive a couple sweet freebies from concerned followers after the fact!). I got a lot of praise for the initiative, but honestly I just coordinated it, the actual participants are the real MVPs who researched their partners Instagram feeds or used my provided intel on participant interests, and picked out a gift that they’d really enjoy. I was very impressed with the end result, y’all.
If you missed out, be sure to check in around Thanksgiving 2018 on my Instagram account! And if you participated, thank you for making our community that much more awesome! I can’t ever thank y’all enough for being the lifeblood of this community; without you, the hobby would just be lifeless plastic.