How to win at Secret Santa '14

How to win at Secret Santa '14

Each year, we like to offer you, the readers, ideas on how you can win your annual Secret Santa competition. F5 takes great pride in standing astride the forefront of Secret Santa technology and is fully committed to making sure that you and you alone are left standing when the Clausian masks are removed. Many, strangely, frustratingly, still do not see Secret Santa as a competition. This is fine. It is they that shall fall first.

This year, we've been working toward a new method of Secret Santa that will revolutionize the sport. Following our method will not only confound your victim/giftee, but will also skirt the edge of what might be legal not only in terms of Secret Santation but also in terms of local and federal law. Let's begin! It's almost X-mas! Snikt!

STEP ONE: OPT OUT

Every Secret Santa competition has a day when people draw names from a hat. This, we now realize, is for amateurs. In order to fully preserve your anonymity, you must appear to decline involvement in the pool of names. You can instead legally document your intent to participate via a registered letter, mailed to yourself, before the name-drawing deadline.

STEP TWO: GET A NAME

The next step will be a little bit trickier. There will be one person who is responsible for distributing names. You must get a name from that hat without their realizing. If you're at least a level 12 pickpocket, you can simply find an opportune moment to casually bump into them when they're distributing names and slip a name from the hat while they remain foolishly oblivious. Alternatively, a strand of well-strung fishing line makes a good tripwire in order to make them fall and scatter names everywhere. Get a name as you helpfully assist them in cleaning up. Many recommend the use of tranquilizer darts at this point in the game. This is an amateur mistake as it is very difficult to obtain effective tranquilizers without leaving a paper trail.

STEP THREE: RESEARCH

So now, you've got a name. You'll be AMAZED what you can do with a name on the internet. Learn all you can about your target. Find out everything you can via Facebook, MySpace, Instagram, Tindr, Grindr, Cookymonstr and Googlr. You'll want to be as well versed as possible when you reach step four.

STEP FOUR: INTRODUCTIONS

Based on the information achieved in step three, you'll be ready to mold yourself into the "perfect person" for step four. Build a wardrobe based on their likes and dislikes, then hang out at their favorite bar/coffeehouse/synagogue waiting for them to happen by.

The next step is what Roger Ebert called a "meet cute." You'll casually happen to bump into them — think Paul Rudd meets John Cusack meets Tom Hanks meets young Meg Ryan meets young Meg Ryan meets young Meg Ryan. It helps if you can have some file folders to drop when you accidentally bump into them. You'll both kneel down as he/she helps you pick up the folders, your eyes will meet, and you'll make a crafted pop culture reference based on the personality you've gleaned from step three. Ka-ching. While you banter wittily use Bluetooth hacking technology to clone their phone. With some minor hacking and cryptography skills, you'll have all of their passwords, which will help you in step five.

STEP FIVE: WHIRLWIND ROMANCE

Using the information from step three and the charmingly awkward introduction from step four, your next step is simply to sit back and let the target fall in love with you. Monitor their social media feeds (using the passwords from step four!) to gauge where you stand in this process, altering your approach and personality based on what you see them post/email/text. If they've already got a significant other, make it clear that you are The One Who Really Understands Them and that you understand not who they are but who they want to be.

When planning outings with your target, simply ask yourself this question before proposing any activity: "How would this play in a montage?" If the answer is "heartwarmingly," you've got a winner.

STEP SIX: THE PAYOFF

Things are going great now. You're giving your target the December of their lives. Love is in the snowy air and the season abounds with the promise of a future they never thought they deserved. Here comes the payoff!

Once the office Christmas party rolls around, no one will suspect what's going on when in the middle of the gift exchange you step forward. Bring everyone to a hush and give the following speech:

"I know it's only been a very short time, but in the past (insert length of game here) I've come to know something that I wasn't sure I'd ever know. (Name of target), could you please join me up here?"

Done well, this will elicit a hushed anticipation. As your target joins you, get down on one knee.

"(Name of target), while it hasn't actually been very long, in many ways it feels like I've waited forever to ask you this."

More anticipation. Stay on target, you're all clear, kid, it's time to win Secret Santa.

"Would you … be surprised to learn that I am your Secret Santa?"

STEP SEVEN: PROFIT

Everyone will exclaim with surprise and joy, and your target will (perhaps emotionally) thank you for the best December of their life, plus the lifelong memory of what real love truly feels like.

The gift exchange will continue, but everyone else will be feeling pret-ty lame about their gift cards and handmade coffeecup sleeves. You'll have won Secret Santa, and you'll have done so selflessly.

One caveat: You can lose Secret Santa if someone does this to you first. Be immediately mistrustful of any kindling romance in December.