Secret Santa gift exchange signup instructions

Secret Santa gift exchange signup instructions

The holidays are coming up and what better way to celebrate than to exchange gifts with your fellow fountain pen enthusiasts? This is your opportunity to penable a newbie, share ink samples that you will likely never use up, or re-home neglected pens to a new owner that will appreciate them more. Or, simply take pleasure in getting to know someone new and finding them a perfect gift!

This year, we are happy to open Secret Santa to the fountain pen communities on both Reddit and Mastodon!

There are two pricing tiers so that as many people can participate as possible but more experienced users can still receive something quite special. If you have the time and resources please consider signing up for both tiers.

Note that suggested gift amounts are in value and not cash. You do not have to buy anything, you can gift from your own collection and we in fact encourage you to give pens, ink samples, or other things that you don’t use anymore. Let your extra stuff spark joy in others!

Signups close on 18 November at 23:59 UTC

Fun tier!

Everyone is welcome, including newbies! Minimum gift amount is 10 USD and suggested maximum amount is 40 USD (shipping costs excluded).

A gift might include:

  • Affordable pens such as: Platinum Preppy, Pilot Kakuno, Jinhao 82, Hongdian 525
  • Ink samples
  • Small notebooks or sheets of fountain-friendly paper
  • Converters, ink syringes, cleaning supplies
  • For examples and ideas, see last year’s Fun Tier gallery

Eligibility criteria for Reddit:

  • You have made a comment or post in r/fountainpens in the last 3 months AND
  • Your Reddit account was created on or before 2023-10-01

Eligibility criteria for Mastodon:

  • You have made at least one post tagged #FountainPen / #FountainPens in the last 3 months AND
  • Your Mastodon or Fediverse account was created on or before 2023-10-01

Yes, you may comment or post right now in order to become eligible as long as you do so before registering for the exchange!

Elite tier!

For more experienced fountain pen users, here is a chance to receive some things that you might not seek out on your own! Minimum gift amount is 50 USD and suggested maximum amount is 200 USD (shipping costs excluded).

A gift might include:

  • One or more pens within this price range
  • One or more bottles of ink
  • Fountain-friendly planner or notebook
  • Pen case or pouch
  • For examples and ideas, see last year’s Elite Tier gallery

Eligibility criteria for Reddit:

  • You have at least 1 verified trade on r/pen_swap OR
  • You have made a post in r/fountainpens in the last 3 months AND
  • Your Reddit account was created on or before 2023-09-01

Eligibility criteria for Mastodon:

  • You have made at least one post tagged #FountainPen / #FountainPens in the last 3 months AND
  • Your Mastodon or Fediverse account was created on or before 2023-09-01

Yes, you may post right now in order to become eligible as long as you do so before registering for the exchange. We suggest you make a State of the Collection post as this will also help your Santa!


  1. Sign up for Givin Gifts if you do not already have an account. Make sure you fill in the field for your Reddit and/or Mastodon username in your profile! For Mastodon, enter your username in your profile text, as GG does not have a dedicated spot for it yet. (If you have both, only enter both if you actively check both platforms and accounts as Santas and Elves may need to message you.)
    NOTE: If you have a Givin Gifts account from a previous exchange, you may have to reset your password as GG has changed their system.
  2. Register for one or both of the tiers: Fun tier - Elite Tier - you have to enter something in the preferences field which can be any old place holder to meet the 30 character minimum or you can copy and paste the questionnaire linked below (see step 3). You do not have to fill it out completely before registering.
  3. Once you have joined an exchange, click on the “Exchange Preferences” button. Copy the questionnaire into the box labeled “Do you have any preferences relating to this exchange?”. You can fill it in now, or you can come back to it later; you can edit your preferences until November 20. You may also add any other info you would like your Santa to know! If participating in both tiers, you may use the same answers for both, or different answers for each.
  4. Optional: Put things you have been thinking about in your exchange wishlist. This is purely for reference—your Santa is NOT obligated to buy from this list.
  5. Wait for the exchange to close and then assign matches. Signups will close on November 18 and matches will happen on November 20.
  6. Once you receive your match read their questionnaire and exchange preferences and start thinking of gift ideas!
  7. Communicate with your giftee as well as your Santa (gifter) if you have any questions or additional information for them. You may use the Givin Gifts platform to anonymously message them or message them directly on Reddit or Mastodon.
  8. Send your gift along with a note written using a fountain pen!
  9. We highly suggest you ship via a tracked service. Take a picture of your gift and note in case it gets lost in the mail. Deadline to ship is December 12.
  10. Upload proof of shipping to Givin Gifts.
  11. When you receive your gift, post it and tag your Santa! When you make your post: on Reddit, please use the “Secret Santa!” flair, on Mastodon please use #FountainPens #FPSanta.


Sometimes people drop out of the exchange for various reasons and their original matches are left without a Santa. What happens in this case? They are rematched with people who volunteer to send extra gifts.

If you have the means and time, please volunteer to be a rematcher! This means that if a Santa drops out of the exchange, rematchers will take over and send gifts to the people left without a Santa. Click the “Become a Rematcher” button on the exchange page to volunteer. You may volunteer to send 1–5 extra gifts—please only volunteer to send as many as you have time and money for.


  • Can I match with only people in my country or geographically close to me? Yes, when you sign up for the exchange, you may choose to match with domestic (same country), international (nearby countries), or worldwide (anywhere). More information on shipping groups is here.
  • Do I have to buy new stuff for my gift recipient? No! In this hobby we accumulate a lot of things and we encourage you to gift pens and inks (bottles and sample vials) you are no longer using or that simply didn’t suit your preferences. New is of course fine as well—if you happen to know the perfect gift for your giftee but don’t own it, go with your instinct!
  • Can I make stuff for my gift recipient? Yes, if you are crafty, whether that’s with leatherwork, knitting, bookbinding, pen turning, or 3D printing, you can definitely craft things that you think would be a good gift for your match (:
  • Since it’s a “Secret” Santa, do I have to stay anonymous? No, this is not required, you may message your giftee directly on Reddit/Mastodon if you are OK with breaking anonymity. But some Santas prefer to stay anonymous for the fun factor, and if you wish to do so, you may use the Givin Gifts message system which does not reveal the Santa’s username.
  • What if my Santa/giftee doesn’t contact me? Contact us and we will try to reach out to them. If they drop out of the exchange, we will do the best to pair you with a rematcher so that you can still send or receive a gift!
  • I want to avoid getting something I already have. You can post State of the Collection posts to the sub, or to your user profile, and link them in your exchange preferences.
  • International shipping is expensive. What’s another option? You may choose to order a gift for your giftee from a fountain pen store close to them and send your written note separately via normal mail.
  • Will my personal information be secure? Our matching platform Givin Gifts ensures that personal information—name, address, and phone number—is only shown to the people that need to see it. This would be your gifter (Santa) and the Givin Gifts staff member responsible for verifying shipping proof. Your personal information is not available to exchange organizers (elves). We only see which country you’re in and no other information. For more information, see the Givin Gifts privacy policy.
  • **My account is too new to be eligible but I really want to participate, is there any way? **You may contact the elves to be placed on a waitlist for a late match; we may put you in if someone drops out.
  • Other issues? Comment below with your question (Reddit) or post your question on Mastodon with hashtag #FPSanta. Or contact the team via Reddit messages or Mastodon private mentions.

Santa’s Elves — your Secret Santa team

If you need help, comment below or contact the appropriate team member(s) depending on your region. We recommend contacting an Elf in a timezone close to yours for prompt responses compatible with your schedule.

You can easily identify the exchange organizers by the “Santa’s Elf” user flair on Reddit:

  • Americas West and Central: u/alexa-488 and u/write_knife_sew
  • Americas East: u/superplannergirrl and u/Ok-Seaweed7173
  • Europe/Middle East/Africa: u/halfcelestialelf and u/PrestigiousCap1198
  • Asia/Oceania: u/paradoxmo
  • Head Elf (escalations/other): u/paradoxmo

You can contact the exchange organizers on Mastodon:

  • Americas West and Central:
  • Americas East: and
  • Europe/Middle East/Africa:
  • Asia/Oceania:
  • Head Elf (escalations/other):