As many of you know, Swapfig made history by hosting the world's first Secret Santa Swap. It finally came to a head at the beginning of this month, after giving the participants plenty of time to send and receive their gifts.

We had a total of 35 participants. Although the majority of them had sent and received gifts, there was at least one who didn't comply - which meant the Secret Santa Swap wasn't entirely successful. That person won't be allowed to participate again.

As a whole, we're glad that we were able to run the Secret Santa Swap, which could only have been possible through its participants.

The "secret" behind the Secret Santa Swap.

The Secret Santa Swap was Swapfig's first ever multi-way trade.

Yes, what was previously considered "impossible" has more or less been figured out. After doing a bit of deep research, our solution for the Secret Santa Swap worked like a charm - and the participants probably didn't notice the difference between it and regular trades!

As for whether multi-way trades will be expanded upon further... we're not sure yet.

Things that went well...

  • The matching process. Everyone was assigned a recipient by Swapfig, based on which country they'd prefer to send a gift to - and there were no problems doing so.
  • The vetting process. For everybody's safety, Bad Traders, users who removed their account, and users with no mailing address were excluded when it was time to assign people. We might expand this to include users with too high a "trolling" level...
  • Keeping Secret Santas anonymous. Even we had no idea who each participant's Secret Santa or recipient was, and we made sure - at least on Swapfig's end - that those who wanted to remain anonymous were able to do so.

Things that could be improved...

  • There should be a safeguard to prevent more than one Secret Santa Swap being created. Because there was no such safeguard, all the participants received more than one email about who their recipient was. As you can imagine, it led to some confusion.
  • There should definitely be a guideline on how much gifts should be worth. By far the biggest complaint is a problem that plagues all Secret Santa activities: that some people put in a lot less than they get out. Even though it's the offending Secret Santa that should be held accountable (and recipients could say whether they were happy with their gift or not), Swapfig has the responsibility to set expectations.
  • Gift preferences should be separate from trading preferences. Changing the types of items a participant wanted to receive in a Secret Santa Swap also changed the types of items they wanted to receive in a trade.

A suggestion was raised that a list of participants should be displayed, probably during the registration stage of the Secret Santa Swap. There wasn't a list of participants during registration, mainly because we wanted to maintain anonymity. It would make sense to have one if someone wanted to avoid certain other users, or to gauge the level of interest in the Swap.

The Secret Santa Swap was a great learning experience, and we're curious to know whether you think we should do it again this year. Let us know your thoughts.