Last year’s EMULSIVE Secret Santa event was an unabated success, with 783 players in 46 countries participating to spread the analogue photography joy. To everyone who participated, thank you so much.

Preregistration for this year’s event was opened at 9am EST on August 1st and at the time of writing, there are over 230 people already registered. We’re well on our way to make this year’s event bigger than ever.

Full details of this years event will be out in a couple of weeks when we formally open registrations. In the meantime, if you want to join, you should either

  • Check your email for an invite from Elfster (if you’ve played in previous years), or…
  • Subscribe to the EMULSIVE newsletter using form in the sidebar, or this link.



A word on 2017…

As with any event of this nature and size, and in the interest of full disclosure, 2017’s event wasn’t without its problems.

There were 14 no-shows that I’m aware of and although these have either already been dealt with (or are being dealt with), it makes the need for the extra registration steps we introduced last year even more apparent.

I doubt there will ever be an event like this without any of these issues but I’m keen to keep pushing hard to bring the number of no-shows – those Bad Santas – to an absolute minimum.

If you participated in 2017’s event and have yet to receive a gift, please drop me a line via the contact page.

All that said, those 14 no-shows represent only 2% of 2017’s total player count – less than any of the previous events. We’re aiming to make that number even smaller this year.



Looking to 2018

This year’s event brings with it a few updates and tweaks that we’ll be talking about once formal registration opens. We’re making it easier for people who want to send more than one gift to get involved, and also making some tweaks to the way that event sponsorship works.

Otherwise, the format remains the same. It’s old-hat to established players but for everyone else, the premise for EMULSIVE Secret Santa couldn’t be simpler:

It’s all about giving (and receiving) the gift of film photography.

Commit to sending a fellow lover of film photography a gift – with a value of at least US$20 – be it film, a box camera, or perhaps something bigger. Of course, all forms of analogue photography gifts are permitted, be it wet/dry plates, instant, or something else.

We’re also implementing a voluntary maximum gift value guideline of $100. You can choose to ignore that and go wild but that’s totally your call.

EMULSIVE Secret Santa is about the act as much as the gift. Take your time, write a card, get creative with wrapping and throw in a few local sweets and a few of your prints. We’re celebrating photography and community, so throwing a few dusty rolls in a cardboard box isn’t what we’re after here.



Event timeline

Preregistration is open from August 1st 2018 and formal registrations will begin later on this month.

The registration window is open until Sunday November 4th 2018. The draw to select matches and sponsor prize winners will be made on Tuesday November 6th 2018 – this is to take into account issues we had with international matching last year.

The draw is taking place a week and a half earlier this year and I’m asking that everyone gets their gift sent out by Monday December 3rd 2017 at the very latest. That gives your gift approximately three weeks to arrive at its destination



Matching and gifting

Once the draw is made, you’ll be matched up with one player who to send a gift to and someone else will be matched to send a gift to you. In a nutshell, here’s how the matching works:

EMULSIVE Secret Santa - How it works

It get’s a little more complicated with international matching, etc., but the main thing to remember is that you are not exchanging gifts with the same person: the person you are sending a gift to is not the person sending you a gift!

Additionally, depending on your RSVP, this person you are matched to send a gift to may be in a different country to you. Please be aware that if you chose not to ship internationally but are the only person in your country to join the event, you will be matched to send a gift to someone in another country.

You might be interested in...

We’ll be publishing more hints, tips and information about matching and gifting over the coming weeks.



IMPORTANT: Don’t be one of those people

EMULSIVE Santa is organised in good faith and while you can decide to remain anonymous, your actions reflect on yourself, EMULSIVE and the good name of the analogue photography community.

In short, this is not a time to rid yourself of broken gear or useless film that you no longer want. If you don’t intend on sending anything, don’t play.

It’s definitely not the time to be a freeloader.

Speaking of which, remember those 14 Bad Santas I mentioned above? Despite repeated attempts at communication via email and social media, the following players from 2017’s event have been banned from participating in this and future events organised by EMULSIVE and last year’s sponsors:

Congratulations to Baptiste P, Sadie B, Calvin N, Stefan M, Javier S, Lyder N, Anton V, Noelle P, Paul J, Jomel I, Paul P, Thomas D, Sarah M and Alessandro D for having joined this “elite” group.

Whilst on the subject, a huge, huge thanks to Adib, Gemma, Matthew, Kikie, Brent, Aislinn, Richard, Joshua, Alaric, Bo, James, Paolo, Steve and Neil for stepping in to fill the blanks and pick up where the above did not.

Thank you so much.



How to get involved

Right now, the event is only open for preregistration. If you played in previous years events, or subscribe to the EMULSIVE newsletter, you will have received an invite already.

There will be updates via the newsletter between now and the formal announcement, so if you want to get on early, please sign-up!



What’s next

This year’s event includes a number of tweaks to make it safer and more inclusive. We’re not quite ready to share them just yet but you’ll be seeing future updates with details on sending gifts, helping spread the word, event sponsors and getting friends, family and co-workers involved over the coming weeks and months.



Disclaimers and terms

EMULSIVE is not Elfster (the service provider used for the listing/matching). If you have any qualms about the level of your data protection, then I will have to suggest you bow out and not participate.

We’ve tested out and researched a few service providers along the way and Elfster seemed to come out on top for the functionality they provide and what they do with data provided by their users.

We have no affiliation or commercial/personal connection with Elfster and you use the service at your own risk. Don’t forget that I’m putting my details on there, too.

Should anything terrible happen (they get hacked, lose your data, etc.), we really can’t take any responsibility. We’re using them in good faith, as much as you are.

Elfster is a public service, so we ask that you don’t invite participants in this event to others you may decide to create without their express consent. We’re sorry but anyone found doing this will be excluded from entry.

Thanks for reading and looking forward to seeing you on board.

~ EM


PS. One super important credit: a huge thanks to Aislinn Chuahiock for the cover photo!



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About the author

Avatar - EM

Founder, overlord, and editor-in-chief at I may be a benevolent gestalt entity but contrary to increasingly popular belief, I am not an AI.

, and please make sure you also check out their website here.

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