MetaFilter Gift Swap 2020 Sign-ups October 13, 2020 2:02 PM   Subscribe

Signups for the 2020 MetaFilter Gift Swap are now open! The Metafilter Gift Swap takes place annually from roughly November - January. It used to have another name, but times change and so have we! Each participant sends a gift to an awesome Mefite; each participant receives a gift from an awesome Mefite. Awesomeness and gifts abound. The dates this year are: Signups Oct 13 - Oct 28; Assignments Nov 1; Send-by Dec 1.

As always, the standard gift guidance is $20 USD. If you want to participate this year but have COVID-19 concerns, please check out the new swap group discussed below.

Signing Up
There will be a link at the end of this post. Follow it! We need an actual MeFi username, an email address you check, your name & mailing address, and some good guidance for the person who draws your name.

You will get a confirmation email that will show you the information you submitted. It will come from google forms and it will look like the form you just filled out. Please check your spam/junk mail folder. If you do not get this confirmation within 48 hours, send me a memail or an email to our gmail account. If you have not gotten a confirmation email, you may not be signed up or you entered the wrong email address. We can fix that.

Fun Fact: Every year, several people accidentally typo their own email addresses, which leads to confusion and consternation, and sometimes no gift for someone until late in the season.

You will get your draw via email. It will contain key information about the person you will be gifting: MeFi username, a real world name, mailing address, and hopefully helpful guidance from the person you drew. It should allow you get off to a running start.

If you are having trouble putting together your guidance section, ocherdraco put together a list of questions to help you focus. You don't have to answer all (or any of) the questions, but this is a good place to start if you are stumped by the Guidance section.

We will not share, abuse, or sell any of your information. The person who draws your name will not get your email address. We will delete all emails sent and received at the end of the exchange season, as well as all personally identifiable information.

The Rules
1) Email us when you mail your gift out, along with the tracking number(s) if available.
2) Email us when you receive your gift, as well as if you're going to wait to open it.
3) Please either post in the main gift exchange thread when you open your gift, or contact your giftor directly.

We get a LOT of emails from people who put time, energy, and a great deal of care into selecting and mailing gifts, and they want to make sure it gets to you okay. Please help us ensure that's as smooth as possible. =)

If you failed to send your giftee a gift last year (without working it out with us), you're ineligible to participate this year. If you do try to sign up, your name will be removed from the swap. You can try again next year, but two strikes and you will be out.

If you find that you can't participate after signing up but before the draw, after all, then send me a MeMail or an email to the address below. I'll remove your entry. If you find that you can't participate after all after the draw, please send an email to that same gmail account as soon as possible so we can contact the folks who drew you and whom you drew and redirect or reassign as appropriate.

If you do not think you can mail a gift in a reasonable amount of time, please do not participate. It's not OK to plan now on finding and sending your gift after your life calms down in January or late December or on Valentines Day.

Hey! You have a question!
We're happy to serve as anonymizing middlepeople if you have a question for your recipient, to send messages to your recipient on your behalf, to find out if a package has been sent or has been received. Send us an email at our gmail address (see below), and we'll see what we can find out for you.

A Note About the Swap Groups
If we do not get enough people to do a swap in a group, we will contact folks in the underpopulated swap groups to see what can be done before the swap. We've included a write-in spot this year, as well; if you use that option, please make a note at the end of the form with a back-up swap group. From the 2020 interest thread it seems like the standard swap groups are still doing the job, but I want to make sure the exchange is as inclusive as possible, so call the write-in an experiment this year.

For 2020 we have two International groups: International Physical and International Spirit.

A Note about International Physical
We STRONGLY recommend mailing as early as possible if you are going to send anything internationally, especially if the US is involved. Customs holds up lots of packages for varying amounts of time (with some, it seems forever). If you sign up for the International/Anywhere option, please be aware that shipping times may stretch out longer than you'd prefer.

Signing up for the international swap does not guarantee that you will get a gift from and/or will send a gift to someone outside of the country in which you live (particularly if you live in the USA). If you specifically do you want to send/receive internationally, please note that at the end of the sign-up form and we'll do our best to accommodate.

A Note About the New Group: International Spirit
Due to COVID-19, we've set up an experimental swap group this year. The idea behind this group is that in addition to providing general gift guidance, you'll also provide some local businesses that your giftor could order from and have shipped directly to you. Not everyone is in a position to be able to go to a post office right now, and we want to acknowledge that and try and work around it.

A Note About Anonymous Participation
Previous years have had attempts to help participants remain anonymous to varying degrees (within MF, to the greater internet in general, etc). The exchange this year doesn't have any mechanism for facilitating this, and we apologize to anyone who doesn't feel comfortable participating under these constraints.

A Note About Data Collection
The organizers have access to all of the information submitted, including names, addresses, and email communications. We promise that none of this is saved or shared outside of this group. At the end of the exchange (generally sometime in February when we're sure everything that's going to ship/arrive has done so), all of this information is deleted; no personal information is carried over year-to-year.

Communicating with Us
Unless you need to contact us specifically about one of the organizers, please use our gmail account, This will help us make sure we don't overlook anything and can be as efficient as possible.

Who we are
This year, the organizers are myself and mochapickle. If you drew one of our names and need information about your giftee without spoiling the surprise, contact the other one for answers. =)

Gift Swap funding help
This year, we have a pool of funds to assist members who would like to participate in the swap but doing so would be financially difficult for them. If you'd like to take advantage of this, please complete the sign-up link and then contact the team at (or memail curious nu directly) with your username and the best way to get funds to you (Paypal or Venmo is likely easiest, but other options are available). These are first-come, first-serve. You won't be asked to justify or explain your situation; if you say you could use the help, we trust you.

The signup link
Sign Up Here
posted by curious nu to MetaFilter-Related at 2:02 PM (80 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

It used to have another name, but times change and so have we!

Noted with regret.
posted by biffa at 2:12 PM on October 13, 2020 [12 favorites]

Let’s not immediately start off by rehashing that. In this misbegotten year 2020 I hope the gift exchange brings people some small amount of joy, as it always has for me in years past.
posted by skycrashesdown at 2:38 PM on October 13, 2020 [27 favorites]

Happy dance! Time to spread some joy!

And.... are you accepting second chance signups? Cause I was the beneficiary of a second chance one year and I reallllllly want to pay it forward!
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 3:16 PM on October 13, 2020 [5 favorites]

All signed up, and happy to be a Second Chancer!
posted by angiep at 4:00 PM on October 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

posted by oomny at 4:50 PM on October 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Thank you for running this swap! I am all signed up and ready to go.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 6:32 PM on October 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yay! All signed up.
posted by mdonley at 7:24 PM on October 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Ah, second chancers! I knew I was forgetting something in the form and post.

If you are interested in signing up to send out a gift in case the first one goes awry (thus giving someone a second chance at a gift), please memail or email and let me know what region(s) you'd be good with being a second chancer for. I'll add a formal call for this when I do the swap assignments, but I can keep track of it this way in the meantime. =)
posted by curious nu at 7:57 PM on October 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

I’m in!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:06 PM on October 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Can someone please tag all the old SQ posts with tag(s) used on this post, so they can all be categorized together?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:20 PM on October 13, 2020 [7 favorites]

I signed up, enthusiastically as always. I don’t mind dropping Quonsar so much, but I do miss it being “Secret“ something or other. I hope we can come up with an acceptable jokey name, if for no other reason than to make the UPS people look at me askance as I explain my internet friends and their silly holidays.
posted by msali at 9:58 PM on October 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

Regarding my guidance: if you cannot actually send me one of the celebrities I mention in chapter 6 (remember to poke air holes in the box if you do!), a life-size inflatable version of that person would be an acceptable substitute. The Real Estate chapter is also brimming with ideas! Thanks in advance. xx
posted by maxwelton at 10:46 PM on October 13, 2020 [5 favorites]

yay! signed up, thanks for organising!
posted by ellieBOA at 4:51 AM on October 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

I was out last year because Reasons and I'm back in this year. I missed my annual pilgrimage to the store I like to get things from for this, and I'm sure they missed me as well.
posted by deezil at 5:09 AM on October 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Yay! So excited...this is always fun! Thanks for putting it all together this year.
posted by Captain_Science at 5:30 AM on October 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Awesome! Thanks for running it this year!
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:36 AM on October 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yay! Signed up.
posted by bondcliff at 6:46 AM on October 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Love the International Spirit option. I got spirit yes I do.
posted by wellred at 6:49 AM on October 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

but I do miss it being “Secret“ something or other. I hope we can come up with an acceptable jokey name, if for no other reason than to make the UPS people look at me askance as I explain my internet friends and their silly holidays.

So, I had said I was going to hold a poll to pick a new name, as was done originally -- and this will happen! I'll put together the suggestions from the last post and send it out with the swap assignments. Then folks can use this post to chat about it if need be. I had originally intended to do it last month, but the fundraising efforts needed the announcement banner spots. =)
posted by curious nu at 7:22 AM on October 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

Sorry, I must have missed the original discussion, as the new name comes as a total surprise to me. Can someone provide a link?
posted by holborne at 8:24 AM on October 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

Hooray! Thank you for putting this together this year.

This reminder has helped me in previous years - your prior year guidance submission was emailed to you and therefore is likely searchable in your email archives (if you have them).
posted by okayokayigive at 8:27 AM on October 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

posted by RhysPenbras at 8:55 AM on October 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

I signed up for the first time yay!

This is going to be such an excellent use of my extremely extra wrapping and beribboning skills, hoping my giftee likes lots of bows and frippery!!!
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 9:47 AM on October 14, 2020 [7 favorites]

YAY! I'm another first-timer, and truly so excited :D
posted by kalimac at 10:02 AM on October 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

I almost posted that I couldn't decide whether to join but really, no matter how the world is looking come December 1 - swapping presents will still be great!
posted by Glinn at 10:38 AM on October 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Thank you, I'm in.
posted by essexjan at 11:00 AM on October 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Hooray! I'm another newbie and I'm really excited to take part this year!
posted by darchildre at 11:13 AM on October 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

One of the highlights of my year, always. Thanks for organizing!
posted by minervous at 12:36 PM on October 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Woohoo! I’m excited!
posted by ocherdraco at 4:35 PM on October 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Long time MeFite, first time Swapper!
posted by ikahime at 4:49 PM on October 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

I always use my guidance from the previous year and then tweak it. Last year, my guidance included the sentence, "My dream is to one day open and run a theater but that’s probably a way’s off unless I win the lottery." And while I didn't win the lottery, I did in fact open a theatre company during the quarantine! So that's a really exciting and cool thing, because I of course have zero recollection of including that in last year's guidance!

Merry Secret Gift Giving Swap That is Yet to be Named!

Thank you for organizing, it's always a joyous occasion, and this year we all really, really need joy!
posted by firei at 5:36 PM on October 14, 2020 [12 favorites]

There is a lot in the post but I am so cheered to see the financial assistance being provided.
posted by wnissen at 5:39 PM on October 14, 2020

HOORAY! For the first time in years, I didn't sleep through the signup!
posted by TheCoug at 7:54 PM on October 14, 2020

I'm in like Flynn! Thank you for the banner link - I don't read MeTa much these days, and would have missed it otherwise. Yay!
posted by widdershins at 7:05 AM on October 15, 2020

I've never done this before but it just sounds so comforting right now.
posted by teremala at 11:15 AM on October 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

I totally understand that there's no semi-anonymized option this year. It's extra work, I'm sure; if it's not in the cards, it's not in the cards. That's okay.
It does mean I'm not joining this year. That's probably for the best. As someone who avoids Google, it always felt weird to feed them a bunch of information about my personal preferences and interests, combined with my real name and home address. You folks will delete it afterwards; I fully trust you to do so. Google will not.

I'll miss being a part of this and I hope you'll all enjoy it tons. If anyone feels similar about Google, and sad about not playing, hit me up for a teeny tiny not-so-secret surprise swap.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:10 PM on October 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Oh and! I very much appreciate the effort it takes to make all of this happen. So, thank you for that!
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:14 PM on October 15, 2020

I will sign up once more. It's been ages since I sent catch as catch can a present....
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:32 AM on October 16, 2020

I would like to be included. I tried to send a gift back in 2017, but it was returned undelivered. Same with re-send.

My giftee moved to a different address and I was finally able to get it to him earlier this year.
posted by notsnot at 7:52 AM on October 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

Yay! Thanks curious nu and mochapickle, appreciate your hard work on this :)
posted by penguin pie at 7:19 AM on October 17, 2020 [2 favorites]


thanks, as always, for those who do the heavy lifting to make this event happen. it always brings a smile to my heart.

curiuous nu: I will reach out directly to you to fund the gift funding swap help, you mention. For anyone else interested, what is your preferred way of being contacted?

(My initial post-nap thought for a new name is Secret Quonundrum, FWIW.)
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 11:45 AM on October 18, 2020

Thank you, curious nu! Just signed up for my sixth exchange, whoa. Seriously one of my favorite seasonal rites. Hurrah!

I too am a big fan of the International Spirit Swap! Curious to see how it works out. And I’m probably getting ahead of myself but: After the ribbons are cleared away and the dust has settled and the squee has squoken, I’d love to see (or help create, if appropriate) an anonymized roundup of all the outlets people list for Int’l Spirit guidance. As I was listing mine I couldn’t help wondering what other mefites were listing. I sometimes need to send gifts to folks in places where mailing them myself is prohibitively expensive and slow—and I would trust you all as a better starting point for worthy shops than amazon.wherever. (Would love to see other listings for my own city too! I’m sure I’d learn of places I didn’t know before.)

Anyone else interested in this? Or emphatically against it?
posted by miles per flower at 7:22 AM on October 19, 2020 [5 favorites]

I'll put together the suggestions from the last post and send it out with the swap assignments. Then folks can use this post to chat about it if need be.

If you want to continue the tradition of naming the swap after a user, Secret Superhero has a nice ring to it ;)
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:17 AM on October 19, 2020 [5 favorites]

Just this gift, y'know?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:56 PM on October 19, 2020 [7 favorites]

Okay, I have signed up!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 6:25 PM on October 19, 2020

Thanks to everyone who donated to the gift fund last year, and has either donated or offer to donate so far this year (I have a couple of people to respond to, you are on my radar and have not gone unnoticed, I promise). We have a really healthy pool right now that I would love to be distributing -- if you're hesitating to sign up for money reasons, please contact me. Likewise if you find yourself needing some help when it comes time to actually do the swap (shipping was more expensive, unexpected currency conversion issues, whatever), contact me.
posted by curious nu at 6:22 PM on October 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

Yay, I signed up again! This event always gives me cheer, which I need more of this year for some reason. Thanks for running this!
posted by jillithd at 1:23 PM on October 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

Quonsar swaps have historically opened at the beginning of November (literally Nov. 1 - look for it right after US Thanksgiving), and people in The List have been emailed to let them know that signups are open. This has a new name, new timeframe, and no notification to previous participants in a year where people have a lot of new things going on. Was there a goal to limit participation to those who are regularly/frequently active on the site?

I definitely appreciate the work that goes into making this engine go, but it seems like there's fixing of things not broken here.
posted by jeoc at 1:54 PM on October 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

jeoc I completely spaced The List -- I just always notice the banner and remember that way. I've got that and will send that out tonight.

re: new timeframe: things are super hard right now and I needed some extra time to get things going. I also wanted to get swap assignments out before the US election.
posted by curious nu at 4:49 PM on October 21, 2020 [5 favorites]

I got my email notification - thanks! The email handle is Secret Beans and I think that's an awesome name for the swap.
posted by jeoc at 6:06 PM on October 21, 2020 [6 favorites]

If you end up needing more monetary support for the gift fund, let me know. I would be happy to help.

I'm glad this is getting renamed. I look forward to the poll for a new Secret ___ name.

My usual approach to filling a gift swap box involves thrift stores, but I'm actually kind of looking forward to the logistical challenge of figuring out how to do this by going to as few physical locations as possible. That's actually been one of the weirdly fun things about this year, figuring out how to get things I need without leaving my apartment. (I know it's not fun for everyone, but I'm trying to find joy where I can these days.)

Cheers, friends.
posted by limeonaire at 7:09 PM on October 21, 2020 [5 favorites]

I'm so sad to miss this year's swap - I have mastectomy surgery on the 28th, and shopping is right out. Not to mention I probably won't be up to snuff for responding, etc.
Next year!!
posted by dbmcd at 2:36 PM on October 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'm in!
Secret Beans! (Who's Beans? {don't ask})

The great thing about calling it "Secret Beans" is a lot of the old terminology can be repurposed quite easily.
The showrunners can be called the Secret Beanczars, we can celebrate Beansmas, we can refer to the sending and receiving of gifts as having Beansed or having been Beansed, or about enbeansening, and so on.

If there's gonna be a poll, fine, I'll vote in it, but it's a Bean Poll, and I'm completely behind Team Beans.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 10:37 PM on October 24, 2020 [4 favorites]

As someone whose aversion to beans is so strong as to border on phobia, please let’s not call it Secret Beans.

I’m obviously likely in a minority of one on that particular score, but that aside, really, what’s wrong with calling it a gift swap? One of the oft-raised issues with the site is the number of in-jokes that can be exclusionary to new folk. How about we go crazy and just call something what it is, in language understandable to all?

When funny names crop up organically, it’s one thing, but going out of our way to find a quirky name is like someone coming up with what they think is a cool nickname for themselves and trying so hard to make it stick.
posted by penguin pie at 3:38 AM on October 25, 2020 [5 favorites]

Thank goodness for checking my Junk Mail folder and finding the reminder email just in time! 2009 was my first year participating, and I've missed a year here and there, but have always appreciated the effort an internet stranger puts toward sending lil ole me a prize. I enjoy putting together a surprise for someone and this is definitely a year for sharing goodwill. Thank you to those making it happen!
posted by sweetmarie at 10:22 AM on October 26, 2020 [3 favorites]

I am gonna participate in this gift exchange
*John Darnielle voice*
if it kills me
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:01 PM on October 27, 2020 [3 favorites]

Signed up, just in time - whew!
Thank you so much for doing this!
posted by Sparky Buttons at 7:53 PM on October 27, 2020

What the hell, why not.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:40 AM on October 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

Amazingly enough, I have not yet missed the deadline! Will sign up after work.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:28 AM on October 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

Well, I did it! I have been pretty useless for stuff like this for the last couple of years, mostly due to illness, but I've enjoyed doing this swap in the past, so I'm looking forward to issuing in a new era of social participation. Yay!
posted by zorseshoes at 5:54 PM on October 28, 2020

And...I'm in! : ) I look forward to this every year. : )
posted by SisterHavana at 6:55 PM on October 28, 2020

I was swithering, but finally decided I was in!
posted by scruss at 7:53 PM on October 28, 2020

Thanks for everyone who's signed up! I've closed the form and we'll be working on the swap groups over the next couple of days.
posted by curious nu at 5:10 AM on October 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

I totally spaced on it this year and juuuuust missed the deadline. I'd love to be a second-chancer!
posted by PearlRose at 6:16 AM on October 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

Ditto on second chancing.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:01 AM on October 30, 2020

Okay! Signups are going out! Google may make me send these out in batches over a couple of days.

IF YOU DON'T SEE ANYTHING BY NOVEMBER 2 -- Email us and let us know!


We're also very happy to facilitate asking secret questions, sorting out problems, and are generally here to help make the gift exchange go as smoothly as possible. This year we've included a little follow-up form for when you send your package to help us track things.

Also if you got the first batch of swap emails I completely forgot to add a normal close to the email, like a real human person would do, so please forgive my atrocious etiquette.
posted by curious nu at 5:53 PM on October 31, 2020 [5 favorites]

Weeeeeee can’t wait!!!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:53 AM on November 1, 2020

Swapped With Yourself: A MetaFilter Halloween Horror Story
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:24 AM on November 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

(it happened, it is entirely my fault, it should be sorted now! let's hope that's the scariest thing that happens)
posted by curious nu at 10:14 AM on November 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

(insider secret: curious nu is politely covering for the swapping algorithm chthulu, which lives in a cave and demands regular feedings of holiday gift wrap and long-forgotten salmon lasagna)
posted by mochapickle at 10:30 AM on November 1, 2020 [3 favorites]

"Average Mefite eats one portion of forgotten salmon lasagne a day" statistic actually a statistical error; Lasagnes Chthulu, who lives in a cave and eats 40,000 a day, is an outlier and should not have been counted.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:18 PM on November 1, 2020 [4 favorites]

the lasagna chthulu must always be counted, as the prophesy has foretold
posted by mochapickle at 12:39 PM on November 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

Last batch of swap assignments will be going out in ~12 hours and then we should be set.
posted by curious nu at 6:53 AM on November 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Hi there - I never got my swap assignment email, and I've gotten my own gift already (A BILLION THANKS to Msali!). Can you re-send me the swap assignment?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:44 AM on November 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Hi EC, I see curious nu has resent that info your way. Let know know if we can help with questions.

And also, hooray for msali! That's quick!

By the way, any of you receiving an early gift is welcome to start our annual swap Thank You thread. We try to keep it open through the whole gifting season to spread the joy. It's a lot of fun!
posted by mochapickle at 5:49 PM on November 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Hello! I never received a swap assignment either!
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 4:06 AM on November 10, 2020

Thanks, theBigRedKittyPurrs -- just sent an email your way!

Some of the early gifts are already arriving! Yay! Come check out the METAFILTER GIFT SWAP 2020 THANK YOU thread.
posted by mochapickle at 12:39 PM on November 10, 2020

Is this the best thread to say I sent my gift today? Filled out the tracking info, so my giftee should be getting that info. Hang on buddy, it should be there in a week or so!
posted by Lawn Beaver at 8:16 AM on November 12, 2020

It's best to move over to the thank-you thread at this point (and this should probably auto-close today or tomorrow in any case!). =)
posted by curious nu at 3:44 PM on November 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

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