A Day in the Life of SJC Students

Experience the life of students living in St. John's College at UBC

Secret Santa


Our Secret Santa fun came to an end at the weekend. And boy was it fun! Secret Santa is a great tradition where everyone picks one name of another resident and showers them with surprises for two weeks, normally nice notes or chocolates on their doors. And then on the final night, the identities are revealed and the final gifts are given.

But first a story of last year’s event. There once was a man named Arend who signed up to the SJC secret santa. The morning afterwards, he awoke to find his name across many fine posters in the Dining Hall and adjoining corridors. “Arend for President”. “Arend, the Pride of Yellowknife”. “Arend, Four More Years”. They exclaimed his great being and sense of right. But who could it be Arend wondered? Who has recognised my true character?

And then it began. The decoration of his door, or his kingdom as it became known. Candlesticks went up, and a crest above the door. And then beautiful words, poetry describing the wonder of the man from the Northwest Territories. And then letters started arriving as well. This was truly a remarkable Secret Santa. Arend was beginning to worry who at SJC could care this much about him.

The college began to whisper. Did “Four more years” and “President” on the posters suggest an American? Who knew Arend well enough to do this? Every name was considered then crossed off for a variety of reasons. But eventually the night of the reveal came. The man apologised for his kind pranks. It was Rasmus from Denmark, a surprise for everyone. And his beautiful decorations still stand to this day.

So back to 2013. Two weeks ago  a huge number of SJC residents had picked a name from a bowl and had been surprising their targets with little things over the week. I began receiving Hershey’s kisses and very polite notes written in a curling feminine handwriting. Other doors got into the Christmas spirit with various decorations.

Nice notes were being left on people’s door and chocolates could be seen all over the college. And that finally brought us to Sunday night in the Social Lounge. Everyone gathered and began revealing their identities. We passed out our final present. I was very surprised to find that the nice notes I had been receiving, that I was almost certain were from a girl, were in fact from Guillaume.
And Deepak had received an instruction that to receive his final gift he must wear a custom made crown. As King, he gladly dressed accordingly and received his final gift from his secret santa Chantal. Thanks to Mike for the photo.



What had I done for my Secret Santa? I picked Ronald’s name from the hat and began sending him some tricky riddles.The first one is the following: Tell me where MONKEYS WRITE. And the second one was so overly complex, that it kept Ronald working on it for a ridiculously long time. But for his effort, he earned various chocolate bars and an Advent Calendar. Plus his final present of two books. One was a personal favourite, Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I’d recommend it.

So that just leaves me to count down the days to Christmas. But luckily, Guillaume provided me with an Advent Calendar to help me. 


2 thoughts on “Secret Santa

  1. Just to make sure: I had to transform my handwriting so I wouldn’t be recognized 🙂
    I do not have a feminine handwriting, but it was fun to see you struggling and trying to identify who could leave you these chocolates/notes.
    Thanks for organizing Jake

  2. I’m loving The Pillars of the Earth!
    Its the perfect way to procrastinate before finals.

    Thanks for awesome riddles and chocolates!

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