A Michigan Woman’s Secret-Santa Turns Out To Have Been Bill Gates

The Microsoft founder sent her 81 pounds of gifts, including rare, hard-to-find, discontinued, and custom-made items.

christmas presents under a tree
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The Microsoft founder sent her 81 pounds of gifts, including rare, hard-to-find, discontinued, and custom-made items.

A Michigan woman’s Secret Santa turns out to have been none other than Microsoft founder Bill Gates, MarketWatch reports. The woman’s gift haul was worthy of having been sent by a billionaire, consisting of 81 pounds of rare and hard-to-find swag.

For those not familiar, a “Secret Santa” gift exchange involves friends, coworkers, family members, or other groups of people drawing each other’s names and then serving as the secret gift-giver to the person whose name is drawn. Though normally limited to small groups of people, over on Reddit, the game is writ large, where hundreds if not thousands of people share in the fun.

As it turns out, Bill Gates, whose net worth is estimated at over $100 billion, participates. Indeed, “Shelby” was already privy to that open secret, and had participated in 95 different Reddit Secret Santa exchanges over the years, hoping that the day would come when Gates picked her name.

That day came this year, which she found out when she went to FedEx to pick up her package, and found it too big to fit in her car. There in the depot, she had to open the 81-pound box and remove each of the presents and load them into her car.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 06: Bill Gates, Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation speaks onstage at 2019 New York Times Dealbook on November 06, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times)
  Mike Cohen / Getty Images for The New York Times

Seems that Bill and his team did their research when it came to the gifts Shelby wants. The self-proclaimed book- and movie-lover got a huge haul of gifts consistent with her hobbies. What’s more, many of them are hard to come by, at least, at the retail level.

Her haul included a Harry Potter Santa hat and a pair of elaborate Lego building sets, including a giant Hogwarts castle from Harry Potter, and a discontinued R2D2 puzzle — the Star Wars droid is “my spirit robot,” she says. Other gifts, according to Tech Crunch, were a handmade quilt depicting scenes from Nintendo’s “Legend of Zelda” game series; “Twin Peaks” memorabilia, including an L.L. Bean jacket worn by one of the crew members; and a bound manuscript of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, lines from which Shelby had incorporated into her wedding earlier this year. It came with scans of Fitzgerald’s handwritten notes as he was working on the now-classic novel.

“Bill really did his research,” said Shelby.

Of the gifts, only the two Lego sets were things she already had, and she’s currently deciding what she’s going to do with them.

“As for everything else, they are 100% what I would have bought for myself,” she said.