Let’s begin with a gentle reminder in three parts:

  • You have until midnight in your location on October 31st 2021 in your time zone to register!
  • You MUST have a wish list set on ELFSTER or you will be removed from the event.
  • You MUST have a custom profile picture set on ELFSTER or you will be removed from the event.

With that out of the way, welcome to the last 10 days of registration for the 7th annual EMULSIVE Santa — the world’s largest annual film and traditional photography gift exchange.

This update provides details on this year’s sponsors (so far), a quick how-to on gifting for the event, some places you can use to buy your gifts (no affiliate links, just spreading the love).

If you’ve not signed up, please do, and if you have, please help spread the word! 🙏

The mention of removal from the event may seem harsh but historically speaking, players who do not set profile pictures or create wish lists are “high risk” and over 90% of no-shows fall into this bracket.

As has been the case, for several years now, there are only two of us managing the logistics of the event and aside from helping to filter out potential no-shows in advance, it makes the event safer and protects the sanity of myself and @aislinn-chuahiock.

Here’s what’s covered in this article:


How to register

Visit the 2021 event’s announcement page. After reading about the event and associated rules, use the form at bottom of the page and complete the two-step registration.

Why two steps? Part one is to collect information about players that will be used to provide a sign-up link for Elfster. If there are any issues with matching, we’ll use those details to get in touch and fix them.

Once you’re signed up for the event, this is what you’ll see something like this:

Let’s move to the next step: creating your wish list. Tap the green button on the top right of the Elfster event page to add your first wish list item.


2021’s first sponsor update

After a hiatus in 2020 (due to Covid and everything that came with it), sponsors are back on board with a vengeance for 2021, and I’m pleased to announce our first wave of 15 as of about an hour ago:

  • Analogue Wonderland
  • Billingham Bags
  • Carmencita Lab
  • Film Folk
  • Film Washi
  • ILFORD Photo
  • Kodak Alaris
  • Kosmo Foto
  • Lomography
  • pixl-latr
  • Shoot Film Co
  • Solarcan
  • Teddington Photographic
  • Ultrafine
  • VALOI

You can expect more to come over the coming days, with a special announcement in just a few days from now, and a final announcement close to the final day of registration on October 31st, 2021.

As with previous years, sponsors commit to creating a set number of gifts which are sent to participants randomly. This means that everyone who plays has a chance to also randomly receive a sponsor gift as well as their “normal gift”.


Gifting, a quick how-to

The following was taken from EMULSIVE 2019 event update post:

Everyone knows how to receive a gift, sending one can be a little different. It’s not fair to assume everyone knows how to send a gift and with the holiday season and its other distractions, it can take a bit of effort to prepare and send a gift.

Here’s a quick three-point helping hand on research, preparation, sending and receiving.

Researching your gift

Here’s a simple mantra to follow: gift as you would like to receive. By this, I mean that a little effort goes a long way and for 2021’s event, you’re getting several weeks to prepare your gifts before sending them. Here are a few tips to help smooth the process.

As you know by now, each player has a wish list. Once you have been matched up, jump into their wishlist using the link you’ll be provided with and have a look around. It should provide you with everything you need to know about them.

If you need more information, you can contact them via direct message on Elfster. There’s a box you can check to send your message anonymously. All they’ll know is that their Santa is getting in touch to ask a question.

Pro tip: The most successful pairings in previous years have come from players who use Elfster’s anonymous messages to contact their matches.

Preparing your gift

Once you’ve figured out what you’re going to send, pop some local sweets in, add a card or note, maybe even a print or an instant photo before sending it off.

At this point, feel free to let them know who you are in your card. Share your social media or other contact details so that they can say thank you.

If you’re struggling to find film photography curios and nick-nacks, there’s a quick list of online stores a little further below.

You might be interested in...

Sending your gift

Make sure your gift is suitably wrapped and don’t forget to include that card/letter and some local sweets.

For your own safety and sanity, I would recommend you use a registered/tracked postal option when sending your gift. It’ll make life much easier in the event there’s a problem with the mail.

On receipt of your gift

If your Santa has been following these guidelines, you should be safe to open the parcel on receipt. Go ahead and take a few photos and post them on social media using the #EMULSIVESanta hashtag. You can also tag EMULSIVEfilm on Twitter and Instagram and EMULSIVEsanta on Twitter.

Important: Don’t open your gift until Christmas Day (or the 24th/26th depending on your cultural/family norms. When the time comes, go for it and please make sure you post a photo on social media using the accounts/hashtag above!


Places to buy gifts

Christmas time means that postal services will be busy and more prone to failure, so the earlier you send, the better. Remember to package responsibly and in the same manner you’d expect to receive something yourself.

There’s Amazon, B&H, eBay, and a whole bunch of large online retailers you can buy film and other nick-nacks from but what about buying local and supporting smaller, independent stores? I’ve published an updated list from @aislinn-chuahiock’s 2017 buyer’s guide below.

If you end up using a larger company to get your gifts, please, please, please don’t use them to ship direct. If you absolutely have to, please let me know via Elfster first.

Analogue Wonderland – analoguewonderland.co.uk
Analogue Wonderland, run by Paul and Mary stocks over 200 film stocks and at a little over a year old is one of the youngest stores on this list. They are based in the UK and ship worldwide.

ars-imago – ars-imago.com
You may have heard of Ars-imago, who have 2 retail locations – Rome and Zurich. They carry a complete range of products for the analog junkie, including their own chemistry.

Brooklyn Film Camerabrooklynfilmcamera.com
While they have very limited selections on film and some cameras, their apparel line is awesome! I reckon they would be reinforcing their stocks with Christmas around the corner.

Camera Film Photo – camerafilmphoto.com
CFP is the most established (and complete) online analog film store at the heart of Asia – Hong Kong. They’ll ship worldwide and offer expedited services. I know a few players last year used them to help fill stockings!

Film Photography Project – filmphotographyproject.com
Michael Raso & his team have always stood for advocating film photography to the world in a friendly and engaging platform. But their website is also a one-stop-shop for all things analog, from film of many formats (including hard to find 620 and 110), to cameras.

Film Is Not Dead – filmsnotdead.com
Another UK based company, FilmisNotDead is a fun little stop for cameras and film. Browse their selection of point and shoot cameras.

LABEAURATOIRE – labeauratoire.com
Lance Rothstein’s LA-BOW-RA-TWAR is a quirky underbelly of hand-rolled rare, obscure, and the “most intriguing films available in the planet” from ORWO, Perutz, old Gevaert, Ferrania etc, etc. Lance’s selection always encourages experimentation. And with his own fun labels, it’s like shopping in a film candy store.

LABO ARGENTIQUE – labo-argentique.com
Located in Vicq-sur-Breuilh France.

Nation Photo – nationphoto.com
Paris-based Nation Photo has a few lab/shops in the city (as well as an online store) with a healthy inventory of film. Their stores are at the center of town, friendly, and during my short visit there, I enjoyed the chat with the folks manning the front. It is really run by like-minded passionate analog shooters.

Parallax Photographic Coop – parallaxphotographic.coop
Based on London, Parallax provides a huge variety of film stocks AND darkroom supplies. Well worth checking out!

Photo Warehouse – photowarehouse.co.nz
In New Zealand, your best bet for fresh film is Photo Warehouse.

Shoot Film Co – shootfilmco.com
Mike Padua has created an online store that caters to every film nerd’s desire to accessorize his/her life with witty stickers, patches, pins, and buttons. From $1.99 per sticker to pins priced under $10, it won’t break the bank to shower your partner with colorful film-related sundries. Also, Mike is the creator of the PhotoMemo Journal that helps keep your film journey organized.

Walkens – walkens.com.au
Based in Melbourne Australia, Walkens stock film, cases and accessories, including some gear from Mike Paduas Shoot Film Co above. If you’re in Oz and are looking for fast delivery times, give them a shout!


Wrapping up

There’s not much more to say apart from reminding you to get those profile pictures and wish lists sorted and to have fun. Make it easy for your match to get back to you with their thanks, or tag you on social media and if you’ve got any questions, just drop me a line via the contact page here and I’ll do what I can to help.

Finally, here’s a checklist:

  1. Register before October 31st 2021.
  2. Create a wishlist with more than one item.
  3. Set a custom profile picture.
  4. Include a note/letter in your gift and send it tracked if possible.
  5. Post photos of the gifts you’re sending on social media.
  6. Post photos of what you’ve received on social media.
  7. Don’t open your gifts until December 24th at the earliest!
  8. Post photos of what you got on social media.
  9. Spread the love of film and traditional photography to your fellow community members 🙂

Thanks for reading and here’s to an amazing 7th annual EMULSIVE Santa!

~ EM

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About the author

I'm EM, founder, overlord, and editor-in-chief at EMULSIVE.org. I may be a benevolent gestalt entity but contrary to increasingly popular belief, I am not an AI.

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