2016/10/31: UPDATE HERE!

Some small details are still being finalized but I’m proud to be able to announce the return of the EMULSIVE Secret Santa for 2016! Before you go clicking on the link, please have a read of the below.
For those of you who played last year, please hold tight, as you’ll shortly be getting an invitation email. You can chose how you RSVP from there.
For those of you who are new to the concept, please read this page thoroughly before you sign up.
One major change from last year’s Secret Santa is that this year’s participants will be able to set their preference for international shipping. This year you’ll also be able to keep track of Secret Santa goings on at @EMULSIVEsanta.
If you only want to ship to someone in the same country as you, that’s no problem at all. Granted, this is an international Secret Santa but with prices for international shipping rising, I totally understand if you want to keep things local.

2015 recap

There were some AMAZING examples of love last year from the ~115 players in 23 countries that took part. Here are a few of them:




What’s this all about, then?

As you can see from the above, the EMULSIVE Secret Santa is all about giving (and receiving) the gift of film photography.
The premise is simple; commit to sending a fellow lover of film photography a gift – with a value of at least US$10 – be it film, a cereal box camera, or perhaps something much bigger.


Registration is open from today until Wednesday November 30th 2016 and the draw will be made on Thursday December 1st 2016. Once the draw is made, you’ll be matched up with another player (possibly in a different country depending on your RSVP), and a player will be matched with you.
You will not be able to take part unless you have registered before Wednesday November 30th 2016.
Players who participated in last year’s event won’t be matched with the same person again.
I’m asking that everyone gets their gift sent out by December 9th 2016 at the very latest on account of the Christmas rush.

Matches and gifts

Once matches are made, you can look at the notes they have left for you, ask them for their address and then send the gift by post, courier, carrier pigeon…even personally – whatever works for you. Whoever is matched with you will do the same.

Please please please don’t send promotional items such as your own photo books, mugs and coasters. If you want to send one of your own prints, please do so but make sure they’re personalized and not just from a stack in your attic.

There’s no upper limit on the value of what you decide to send but please make sure that it’s worth at least US$10 and functional. Your gift could be something you’ve had lurking in your freezer, for a while, or brand new. It’s up to you.

IMPORTANT: don’t be a dick

Sorry for the passive aggressive lead-in but I mean this. This Secret Santa is being arranged in good faith and while you can decide to remain anonymous, your actions reflect on yourself, EMULSIVE and the good name of the film 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.
Speaking of which, last year’s game saw three players banned during the registration period and five players decided not to send anything or reply to repeated calls for updates via email and social media.
Thank you and well done. I won’t be naming you here but you’re banned from playing and participating in this and future events organised by EMULSIVE and last year’s sponsors.

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How to get involved

I’m not asking for your money. Nor am I asking for you to send any to your match. In fact, this is the last thing you should so. Here’s the 5-step programme:

  1. Sign-up for the EMULSIVE Secret Santa 2016 using Elfster, our chosen service provider. Add your real name, your preferred internet handle, or something else.
  2. Add some details about yourself, a picture (if you want), and details of what you want from your Secret Santa.
  3. Wait until the draw and then jump into action and send your gift.
  4. Wait…
  5. Receive and share your gift on Twitter with @EMULSIVEsanta!
  6. Really, it’s that simple. Sign up, add some info, wait, send, receive!

When you register you’ll be asked to provide some personal details. Here are our suggestions:

  1. Will you participate: …erm, YES
  2. Have you been: …up to you.
  3. Add a comment: This will be a publicly viewable comment that goes in the comment feed of the exchange. You don’t have to write anything but the more you write, the better. You can use this space to tell your match if you’d prefer 110, 135, 120, LF film, or something else. Your match can use this information to better select what they’ll send you.
  4. Mailing address: Your address will only be shown to your match after the draw. No-one else apart from EMULSIVE will see this. It’s entirely up to you to fill this in, or not. Once the match is made, you’ll be able to provide these details directly to your match.


Sending your gift

As mentioned above, I’m asking that everyone gets their gifts sent out by December 9th 2016 at the very latest. Christmas time means that postal services will be busy, so the earlier the better. Remember to package responsibly and in the same manner you’d hope to receive something yourself.

But…I don’t know what to give

My best advice would be to think about what you’d want to receive and then gift something along those lines.
Remember what it felt like when you first shot the first roll of your now favorite film? Why not send a roll of that, with a note on how you think your match should expose and develop it. This is about sharing some knowledge, as much as it is about being nice and giving something while not knowing what you’ll get in return.
If you’re feeling generous, you can send that out, too – all we ask is that you don’t lump someone with gear that’s not working.

What else?

There’s a growing assortment of goodies piling up at EMULSIVE HQ, so you’ll if you’re unfortunate lucky enough to get matched with us, you should find some pretty cool stuff on your doorstep come December 25th.
That is unless of course you miss the note from your postman saying that it’s at the post office, forget about it and the package gets returned to me. In this case you can expect to receive something in February 2017.
If you run a blog, website, camera store, lab, magazine, etc., feel free to join up both individually as yourself AND that entity. I’d be delighted if you decided to run a little post about this project and when you get your gift, feel free to write a little something about that, too. The more the merrier, after all.
Finally, if you get stuck, you can email secret.santa.help@emulsive.org. I’ll try to fix any problems you’re having and kick the right people in the right places if things get bad.
Aside from the bits and pieces below, that’s it from me. Do make sure you read them and don’t forget to sign-up!

Obvious disclaimers and terms

We’re not Elfster (the service provider for the list/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 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.

About the author

Avatar - EM

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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  1. I didn’t quite understand if it is possible to limit the countries where I’m willing to post to? I live in UK and I’m not sure what the rates for sending parcels to other continents are ? Thank you.