Reddit’s annual Secret Santa exchange, where Reddit randomly pairs up participants from around the world to exchange gifts, has resulted in the exchange of over a million presents among 900,000 people in 225 countries since 2009. Celebrities and CEOs often participate, getting matched up with people they’ve never met. In the past, billionaire Bill Gates participated, gifting a cat-lover an epic haul of feline-themed gifts. Other past, high-profile participants include Snoop Dogg and Jimmy Fallon.
This year, eBay CEO Devin Wenig was matched up with 25-year-old Kaila Amador. Amador lives with her husband, Jose, in Fort Drum, New York. Jose is in the U.S. Army and serves in the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, while Amador is the manager of a local business, Off the Beatin’ Path Gift Shop.
“It is a bit overwhelming to receive a gift from someone so high-profile,” Amador tells CNBC Make It. “I honestly never expected it to happen to me. Each year I look forward to seeing what gifts people receive from Bill Gates, CEOs, philanthropists and different companies. After I opened the gift from Devin and was figuring out what to write, I had this crazy realization that people were waiting for my post. To see what I got! ”
— Devin Wenig (@devinwenig) December 15, 2018
On her Reddit gift exchange profile, Amador describes herself as having three cats, one dog, and as a “lover of all cats, Disney and Christmas.” She was gifted three packages totaling 33 pounds, and the boxes came with a letter from Wenig.
Amador’s gifts included rare and sold out collectibles of Disney products (found on eBay) including figurines of popular Disney characters, Disney swag (like Minnie Mouse ears), Disney trading pins, toys for her cats, the Monopoly for Millennials game and much more.
“I found it to be an authentic gesture,” Amador says. “I can tell he read what I put in the notes to my Santa. Most of it was me gushing over my love for Disney, and I think the gifts definitely reflected that!”
Wenig also gave Amador eBay and Stubhub gift cards, and made a donation on her behalf to Kitten Rescue. Amador says she was able to thank Wenig for his generosity on Twitter.
“I hadn’t used my Twitter in quite a few years, but I figured it would be the best way to personally thank him,” Amador says. “Imagine my surprise when I went to his profile and there was a picture of him with one of my gifts and the letter he sent! I responded thanking him for his generosity, and for making this holiday season so special and memorable.”
In a statement to CNBC Make It, eBay says, “Reddit’s Secret Santa is the perfect way to surprise and delight the Reddit community with unexpected gifts from our CEO and our Executives.
“It’s not just about showcasing inventory from eBay through gift giving, but also our marketplace’s purpose. Additionally, we include a donation on the recipient’s behalf through eBay for Charity that aligns with the causes they care about most. Every year, we have more and more executives who want to participate and help spread the holiday cheer.”