For over four years now, fans of Critical Role, who refer to themselves as “Critters”, launch a massive Secret Santa for viewers of the Dungeons and Dragons Livestream. Once again, sign-ups are officially open and will be until October 1st. And each year, it gets bigger and bigger.
For the 2018 Secret Santa, there were over 660 international participants. For this 2019 year, within one-day sign-ups already soared past 500, likely making it a record-setting year. Members of the Critter Gifting group on Facebook are able to sign up via a detailed form along with a seven-page questionnaire regarding what types of gifts they like to receive. It covers everything, including allergies, favorite Critical Role characters, fandoms, hobbies, and even what characters they play in their own Dungeons and Dragons games. The purpose is to ensure whoever gets to be their Secret Santa can give them as personal of a gift as possible.
Admins for the exchange work hard to organize all this information. This includes working to sort out who is okay with shipping where (nationally or internationally) and ensuring everyone is signed up with a Secret Santa. They also send out an email to ensure everyone receives their packages within the deadline. And that if there is any trouble with someone unable to send a present, other Critters can volunteer to make sure nobody is left out.
It’s a wonderful, heart-warming event from a community that is very solid and kind. There is a US $25 minimum for presents, though many Critters go well beyond and shower each other with gifts. Many of them also hand-make art and other presents, spending months on these tasks.
Secret Santa assignments go out in early October, with the deadline to send gifts being December 1st. This gives Critical Role fans about two months to pour their heart into every package. And for a show that also puts a large emphasis on love, acceptance, and being there for each other, it’s wonderful to see their fans uphold this message as well.