2020 is one giant anomaly. I don’t think anyone of us thought we’d be in this scenario 8 months ago, and yet here we are. In the bid to dazzle the remaining months, EM and I have agreed that cancelling the annual gift swap in favour of prints, cards, letters and the like is just a reminder of how askew things are.

For many, (like me) Secret Santa is the ultimate highlight of my year as a film and traditional photography enthusiast. It’s a way of conveying the love towards another fellow photographer. It also reminds the community that we are all about sharing and lifting each other through our craft.

So please, for this year, let us not lose sight of the prize: Spreading Wholesome Cheer.

Emulsive Santa 2020 ideas

EMULSIVE Secret Santa 2020 is DIFFERENT to past years. EM and I really hope that everyone respects the program and let me explain why. For the past 5 years, we’ve been all about sincere and occasionally grand gestures to the point that it really drives healthy (and often hilarious) competitiveness among us. We’ve been known to go above beyond and over the normal expectations of the game. This year, we want to retain the spirit but respectfully acknowledge that many of our friends are facing a challenging year.

The EMULSIVE Santa 2020 Challenge: It needs to be flat

The overarching theme of 2020 seems to be prints. A lot of photographers have sought refuge in passing their time by printing their work, building their dream darkrooms, alternative printing, and making Zines. So it’s only apt that the 2020 EMULSIVE SANTA SWAP be in celebration of that.

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Remember penpals?

Your gift needs to include a Christmas Card (homemade or otherwise) and just tell your partner about your year. Time to bust out those typewriters and quills. I think everyone is just looking to connect and see how one another is holding up.

  • It needs to be flat. Think document size or less.
  • You can send multiple times if you want! (ie. 12 Days of Christmas theme? <3)
  • For obvious health safety reasons, our objective is that mail is delivered to your partner’s home, straight. We don’t want them unnecessarily travelling to the post office to claim parcels with additional fees.

Ideas for what to send

  • NON-NEGOTIABLE: Darkroom Prints, Digital prints, and/or Cyanotypes (and alike).
  • Negatives for your partner to scan
  • T-shirts
  • Zines, stickers, patches, etc.
  • …. a mix tape CD of Christmas songs…..
  • A flatpack camera.
  • “Maybe I can send a $20 bill” – NO! Leave that to grandma.
  • Strictly no gift vouchers from Amazon. If you really want to gift your partner with a voucher ON TOP of what you’re mailing, please work with the many great film photography online sellers. It’s just another way of supporting them during this challenging time.
  • We don’t want to be hearing stories where someone receives their swaps digitally only. Not cool.

Matching up

We were debating at first whether to restrict partners regionally. But since we are reasonable and responsible adults, we’re keeping international swapping open for those who would prefer hearing from someone abroad.

  • Keeping it flat makes the whole swap economical, just make sure to send via Airmail and registered with tracking IS A MUST! I repeat… TRACKING IS A MUST.
  • Bear in mind that some postal systems are operating in limited capacities, send your swap early to avoid further delays. We don’t want your Xmas cards turning into Valentines greetings.
  • Likewise, BE PATIENT. While Em and I do our best in following up, we can only go full-on beast mode in January. However, please also be aware that nobody is in control of current events and things might have to take longer than they have to. All we can ask from everybody is:
  • Make sure your address is complete! Zipcodes are critical.

And that’s it. The rest is up to you. At the time of publication, there’s little over a month left to register. Click here for the full announcement article and registration link. If you plan on putting it off a little longer, remember that you only have until October 31st 2020.

There’s no time like the present.

~ Ais

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About the author

Avatar - Aislinn Chuahiock

Aislinn Chuahiock

Analog life ... And of course, must love dogs ...


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    1. Soon. Right now we’re helping shepherd those without profile pictures to a place where they don’t get cut and trying to figure out how to match a dozen people with no international shipping set…who are the only people in their countries participating.