Nunavut hamlet celebrates with Secret Santa gift exchange

It's Christmas Eve and there's a lot of excitement way up on Ellesmere Island, where one of the biggest secret Santa draws is taking place in one of the most remote communities on the planet.

"It doesn't have to be anything fancy," explained Marty Kuluguqtuq, the Senior Administrative Officer for the hamlet of Grise Fiord, Nunavut.

Kuluguqtuq keeps the list of about 120 names for the hamlet — that's the entire adult population of Canada's northernmost town. A few other names were added for people who happened to be visiting the community over the holidays.

The Secret Santa gift exchange has been a tradition there for more than 20 years. Everyone chooses a gift for a random member of the community.

"We pretty well know each person, their idiosyncrasies, if you want to put it that way," said Kuluguqtuq.

RCMP Cpl. Ed Shorey was recently posted to Grise Fiord and he’s learning the ropes.

"I was in the store the other day, and I'm still learning some names being fairly new to the community and my partner's pointing out to me that my person was not that far away as I'm trying to buy the item," he said.

Shorey said the local Co-op store, one of the only stores in town, makes it a bit easier for everyone by hosting separate men's and ladies shopping nights so everyone can buy their gift in relative secrecy.

Most people will never know who their secret shopper was.

Children in the community will also get a gift from Santa thanks to the hamlet’s recreation department.

Santa himself will be dropping in to hand out the gifts at a community feast tonight.

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