Getting Bill Gates as Your Reddit Secret Santa Is Nowhere Near as Cool as It Sounds

Former Staff Writer
3 min read

Getting Bill Gates as your Secret Santa sounds like the ultimate Christmas miracle, right?

Not exactly.

For the second year in a row, the Microsoft founder participated in Reddit’s Secret Santa program, in which more than 212,000 people from 188 countries signed up via the social networking site to exchange gifts over the holiday season.

This year, Gates received as his giftee Reddit user Calid7, or Cali -- a purple-haired 25-year-old and self-described Anglophile. She was “literally shaking,” she wrote in a subsequent Reddit post, after receiving her package.

Related: Former Apple CEO John Sculley: For Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, Money Wasn't No. 1

However, to the casual observer, Cali’s gifts were far more quirky -- and exponentially less ostentatious -- than one might expect from one of the richest men on Earth.

What did she ultimately receive? A Loki helmet (as worn by the Thor villain), which “actually arrived with the horns cracked,” she writes, as well as a giant stuffed animal shaped like the polio virus. She’d listed the helmet on a questionnaire that users fill out as part of the exchange -- “and [he] fulfilled it!” she gushed.

Finally, given that Cali says a trip to Africa is on her bucket list of places to visit, Gates presented her with -- wait for it -- a coffee table book filled with scenic photos of the continent. Is it so wrong to think that the billionaire couldn’t have sprung for a ticket?

Related: Microsoft Is Now the Largest Company in the World to Accept Bitcoin

But Gates, whose charity work is tireless, clearly prefers to allocate his funds to the truly needy. And his gift-giving style is notably consistent. Last year, he purchased Reddit user Rachel a stuffed cow, a National Geographic travel book and a card indicating that the donation of an actual cow had been made on her behalf to Heifer International.

“The most important part,” Cali writes, “is he also made a donation in my name to Shot@Life, a great program that provides vaccines for kids in poor countries.”

Given that she doesn’t donate to charity often “[because] money is always extremely tight,” Cali wrote that the fact that the donation is in her name “really makes me glow.”

Related: Bill Gates' 5 Favorite Books of 2014

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