KK Picker – Into Christmas

Last year, Ellie and I decided we would make the selection of a Kris Kringle (a.k.a. Secret Santa) target a bit easier for her side of the family. With three of the four Hefferan sisters living away from home, and one of them in Sydney, it became a bit difficult to get everyone together to do the usual hat-name-draw that had been done in previous years. So we decided to do it via automatically generated emails.

To achieve this I wrote a simple java app that randomly selected a partner for everyone in the list. It would then hook into my gmail account and automatically send out emails to everyone, informing them who their KK was. We fashioned a rather simple html email, with content written by Ellie, to use as the template for the email.
The result of this was the email below:

We were pretty happy with what we had made and it was a great success!

It has now been a year since then, and we were keen to bring the KK Picker back, bigger and better than ever!
This year we decided to go with a sci-fi theme, picking Star Trek for inspiration as it is favoured amongst the Hefferan clan. This is what we ended up with:


Before we settled on the above, both Ellie and I had written drafts for the text that was to go into the email. After a bit of a debate and some editing, Ellie’s draft won the battle. However, I thought I’d share my draft as well. I had decied to go with a more serious tone to match the dark and moody header image. Ultimately this was branded “boring” and hence, dismissed.


One day it is my intention to turn KK Picker into more than just a java program I compile and run using the Terminal, but maybe that’ll happen next year… :)