Alright all ye of the proud clan of Muffinassery, it’s time once again to slap a hook on something wondrous or heinous, call it a Christmas tree ornament, and send it to a complete stranger.
It’s pretty simple. You tell me you want to participate. You purchase or make an ornament. I pair you with a swap partner. You get your ornament in the post to your swap partner by the deadline (which, by the way, is a generous 11 December this year).
For those of you that are all, “I AM ANONYMOUS ON THESE HERE INTERNETS! I AIM TO STAY ANONYMOUS! (I never get to have any of the funs! pout-pout)” I say in return, “Nay children, thou must nottest worry thine delicately-scented little noggins.” This is because you have two options. Option The One says that I will not match your online persona to your realpersons name. The e-mail will say something along the lines of, ‘Your swap partner is Jeremiah Downtrodden. Here is his address.’ If Jeremiah Downtrodden wants to tell you that he actually goes by the name Dooce on the internet, that’s his privilege, but that information will not come from me. Option The Two says that you can just mail your ornament to me and I will remove all traces of your address from the packaging and forward it on to your swap partner with my address on it instead. I did both things last year; option one was just automatic, and option two was opt-in. A couple of people utilized it, and can tell you that they are still safely ensconced in their secret lairs and no one from the big ole messy internets has showed up to fuck up their day because of me.
Now for the fine print:
I’m limiting this year’s swap to no more than forty people. I will tell you that I put out the call on Twitter a couple weeks ago and about half those spots are already filled, so you need to speak up pretty quickly if you want to be included. I’m putting all the names in the hat next weekend sometime, so I’d like to close the call for participants this coming Wednesday night.
As stated above, you either make or buy your ornament. I myself prefer handmade ones because oh, I dunno, you may end up with something like velvet squids (!), which is what I got last year. Leading up to the velvet squids, however, I got a series of texts from the spouse of the velvet squid maker, and some of them went like this:
“Ummmm….Jenna wants to know if all the materials expended in the attempt can be counted toward the twenty dollars.”
“Hey, do you have a blind person that you can pair Jenna with?”
….which made said squids all the more awesome when I just so happened to draw Jenna’s name as my sender.
Whether handmade or purchased, your ornament must have a retail value of no less than seven dollars and no more than twenty dollars. This means that if you choose to make an ornament, you would charge at least seven dollars for it were you to sell it on the open market. I would never have thought to place a minimum value on this, except that one time I was involved in an ornament swap wherein I purchased this gorgeous enameled egg and made this elaborate padded storage box replete with delicate bird’s nest atop it because I was so excited at the notion of surprising a complete stranger. AND, (here is the part where I sound like an ungrateful git, but I give not a fuck, because it was completely janky of someone to do this to anyone, not just me) in return I got a regular old manila envelope with a ninety-seven cent stuffed snowman ornament from Wal-Mart (I know this because I had seen them there that year) that looked for all intents and purposes like a dog’s chew toy. WOE, all you folk, just WOE. So, to level the playing field: Seven to twenty bucks. The point, really, is just to bless someone, to hit them with the element of surprise between now and December 11th.
If you’re on the fence about wanting to jump into something like this, I need to point you to Bejewell’s furiously hilarious post about last year’s swap. That ornament exchange was the test run, the one where I didn’t know if I’d make it an annual thing or not. Bejewell is a lot of the reason that I decided to do this thing again. This year, Beej and people like her are participating. There is no finer selling point for and an endeavor than to have spirited, silly persons involved. If you want to join us, then drop a brief message (“I’m in!!”) into the comments on this post. Don’t forget to fill in your e-mail addy. You’ll hear from me with specifics in the next week.