Sometimes Twitter is really amazing. The NZ Twitter Secret Santa is a perfect example of this – this year 850 or so people have volunteered to gift someone on Twitter a $10 pressie…. just because it’s Christmas. Here is a list of who is taking part in 2012.

It’s a great way of bringing the online community closer together and Websam does a fantastic job of being the middle man and masterminding the entire operation. Note: this is not a online dating or matchmaking service!!

If you are taking part in this year’s #NZSecretSanta, here are a few tips:

1. Don’t immediately start following the person you have been assigned (if you want to remain anonymous)

2. Of course take a look at their tweets and their Twitter bios to see what they are into, but also check out whether they have an Instagram account (to see what kind of food they like), foursquare (to see where they like to visit), Pinterest (to see what they would like to buy) and Facebook (to see everything else). Also Google them. You never know what you might find – like a blog for example.

3. If you have a protected Twitter account, then prepare for a very generic gift.

4. Help your secret santa by dropping a few ideas into your Twitter stream over the next few days.

5. If you got allocated a corporate account (and there were a few that took part), then take a look at the team behind the brand account – in many cases this is not too hard to work out. Give them a gift they can share (eg food) with a personalised card to show you have taken the time to look at who runs the account.

6. Don’t leave it to the last minute. Because Christmas is on a Tuesday this year, a lot of people will finish work during the week commencing 17 December (and they may have provided a work address for #nzsecretsanta), so make sure you get your gift in the post in the next 10 days or so.

There are always a few people who somehow miss out on getting their gift. Might be the postal service, might be that the giver was too busy, forgot, found it too hard, or had a change in circumstances. If you are unable to fulfill your end of the bargain it might pay to let Websam know so he can pass it on. There is nothing worse than checking the mailbox every day in vain. Last year I never got my gift, which was sad, but hasn’t stopped me participating again this year. It is all about the giving, not the receiving!

Thanks again to the wonderful Websam who does the entire operation off his own bat and in his own time. No easy feat! If you missed out on registering by the deadline (30 November), then make sure you keep your eyes peeled for next year.

Also, if you were unlucky enough to draw me in #nzsecretsanta, then some yummy dark chocolate would not be unwelcome 😉