In 2015, Gates donated to an organization called Malaria No More, which is dedicated to wiping out the disease, in the name of Reddit user NayaTheNinja (who described herself as “a swim coach from the Northwest”) after learning about her trip to Zambia from her activity on Reddit.

The avid hiker also received a brand new tent, a Patagonia duffel bag for her climbing gear, and an outdoor chair. Gates rounded out the package with a book on how things work, “ranging from microwaves to nuclear bombs,” and even sent her a link to a Spotify playlist.


bill gates secret santa2014
Bill Gates, Reddit secret santa 2014
Image: Reddit/Calid7

During Gates’ second year as Santa, he bought user calid7 a horned helmet like that of the Marvel character Loki and a coffee table book filled with photographs of Africa, which he autographed.

Calid7 wrote: “The most important part is, He also made a donation in my name to Shot@Life a great program that provides vaccines for kids in poor countries which is SO amazing and i can’t even begin to describe how incredible it makes me feel knowing that he made this donation in my name!”


In his first stint at Santa, Gates was a little more restrained in his gift-giving. He overnighted a 7-pound package to the user NY1227, containing a toy cow.

A note explained that he had made a donation to Heifer International, a charity that “gives families in need the right tools—such as animals, seeds, clean water, safe stoves or a chance for girls to go to school.” He also gave her a travel book, Journeys of a Lifetime, with a note signed by him.

There was one item on NY1227’s wish list that Gates cheekily ignored: A tablet made by Gates’ Silicon Valley rival, Apple. “Sorry for the apple ipad on my wishlist,” NY1227 wrote in her thank-you post. “That was really awkward.”

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.