The Truth About Gift Swaps

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Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. (Lao Tzu)

Swaps are popular within the creative blogging community, especially this time of year. I've participated in several and hosted a handful, including the Holiday Love Gift Swap, the Good Karma Gift Swap, and most recently the Sparkle Swap. I am by no means an expert in successful swapping, but I have learned a few things along the way.

The Good A lot of great things can come out of swaps. It's a fun excuse to shop for little treats and trinkets. Wrapping everything up in pretty packaging is an expression of your artistic side. Sending love to a complete stranger is exciting—and really good juju.

The Bad Swaps can be a logistical mess. Packages get lost or damaged in the mail. People flake out before sending their parcel, never confirm receipt of their gift, or drop off the map completely. After putting time, effort and money into sending the perfect gift, there's a chance you could be left empty handed.

The Reality The truth about gift swaps is that you never know what will happen. You could send the most thoughtful package ever, but receive something that's better suited for your teenage niece. There's also a chance you could meet one of your best friends through the experience, I certainly have.

Before signing up for your next swap, make sure:

You understand the details & expectations. Hosts typically provide info on the swap - expected cost, what to include, and potential timeframe. If you have any questions, ask!

You have the time and financial means. Some swaps are open world-wide, others are within specified countries. Keep in mind there will be costs for shipping in addition to what you spent putting together the package.

You are inspired and excited about the theme. If you are allergic to peanuts it might be best to avoid a PB&J swap. If ornaments make you giddy, sign up!

Have you experienced the joys and challenges with gift swaps?

I would love to hear your thoughts on the good, the bad, and the reality of hosting & participating in the comments below.

Want to know what happend with this year's Sparkle Swap? I'll be sharing a recap soon!

Image Credit: POST via Jaako