Well, here we go barrelling into Christmas 2015.
In some parts of the world, we shy away from calling Christmas, Christmas. Festive? Sure. Christmas, no. This is a little depressing.
Thankfully, I like to call a spade a spade and a fork a fork, so Christmas is Christmas (and everything wonderful that comes with it.)
Babbling aside, this is all to let you know that the EMULSIVE 2015 Secret Santa is now open for registration. For this, our (hopefully) first year, we’ve shied away from building our own service. Available resources aside, we felt it better to use an established service provider with the functionality, infrastructure and experience to handle something like this. In some ways, you may consider this a beta test.
What’s this all about, then?
Technical details aside (which are detailed below), here’s a little recap of what the Secret Santa is all about: it’s all about giving (and receiving).
In all seriousness, this is your opportunity to give the gift of memories. 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 Monday November 30th 2015 and the draw will be made on Tuesday December 1st 2015. Once the draw is made, you’ll be matched up with someone (possibly in a different country), and someone will be matched with you.
Once the 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.
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.
Please bear in mind that this is all being done in good faith and while gifters/giftees can remain anonymous (depending on details provided), your actions reflect on yourself, EMULSIVE and the good name of the film photography community.
In short, don’t let yourself, us, or the community down; this is not a time to rid yourself of broken gear or useless film that you no longer want.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s get into the details.

How to get involved

We’re not asking for your money. Nor are we asking for you to send any to your match. In fact, this is the last thing you should so.
Here’s our five step, 12-step programme:

  1. Sign-up for a free account using Elfster, our chosen service provider. Use your real name, your preferred internet handle, or something else. (further details below)
  2. Add some details about yourself, a picture (if you want), and details of what you want.
  3. Wait until the draw and then jump into action.
  4. That’s it.
  5. 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 (as per the image below). 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. Tell your match know 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: 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

I’m asking that everyone gets their gifts sent out by the end of the second week of December 2015 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.

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…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 in the mail, come December 25th!
We’re also pleased to be able to say that we have a couple of film vendors on board, who have committed some items to send along to lucky matches. We’re bound by secrecy at the moment but I’m hoping they’ll soften up given enought Christmas Spirit (read: rum).
If you run a blog, or webiste, feel free to join up as both yourself 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. We’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 us. 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

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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