In brief: Microsoft has quietly been spreading a bit of holiday cheer this season and hardly nobody knew about it until now. More surprises could be on the way so if you missed out this time around, don't give up hope.

Microsoft’s holiday newsletter has been hiding a surprise gift for those who bothered to open the e-mail and poke around.

In newsletters sent on November 27, December 5 and December 16, Microsoft has included clickable graphics that take users to a website to claim a free $10 credit that can be used for purchases in the Microsoft Store (online). According to Reddit, one of the images in an earlier e-mail was a blue squirrel; the most recent was a red tree.

Gift cards must be redeemed by December 31 and spent within 90 days of redemption. The offer appears to be limited to US residents only.

Unfortunately, if you missed the offers (or let’s be honest, sent them straight to the recycle bin), you’re out of luck as they’ve since expired. A screenshot posted on Reddit suggests more surprises could be on the way so it may be worth adding Microsoft to your whitelist for at least the next week or so.

Were you one of the presumably lucky few that snagged a free gift card from Microsoft?

Image courtesy Arina P Habich via Shutterstock