MetaFilter Gift Swap 2021 Signups October 31, 2021 11:18 AM   Subscribe

Signups for the 2021 MetaFilter Gift Swap are now open! The Metafilter Gift Swap takes place annually from roughly November - January. 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 Nov 1 - Nov 11; Assignments Nov 15; 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 or use the gift trackinator 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 gifter 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 2021 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 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 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 11:18 AM (66 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

Signed up! Thanks for doing this, I've been looking forward to it since last year's swap. Can't wait to get my giftee's details yay!!!
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 11:58 AM on October 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

Could I make a small donation to the pool?
This is one of the highlights of my year.
posted by angiep at 1:26 PM on October 31, 2021 [4 favorites]

Yay!! I love doing this. I will be off to sign up shortly!
posted by googlebombed at 1:41 PM on October 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

I skipped last year, but I'm glad to be back in it. Thanks for putting all this together.
posted by box at 1:44 PM on October 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

Signed up!
posted by kathrynm at 2:35 PM on October 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

What does International Spirit: exchange local pick-up spots mean?
posted by signal at 6:07 PM on October 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'd like to make a donation!
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 6:25 PM on October 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

Yay it's time it's time!

I'm also interested in donating to the funding pool.
posted by rhiannonstone at 9:59 PM on October 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

Signed up, thanks for organising!
posted by ellieBOA at 12:29 AM on November 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

OMG I'm so excited :)
posted by Zumbador at 1:43 AM on November 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

The intent for International Spirit is to allow you to get a gift for someone in another country, but trying to work around shipping problems. So if Alex (England) and Bex (New Zealand) were in this group and got matched, Alex would order something from a shop located in New Zealand, and have it sent directly to Bex; Bex would order something in England and that would be sent to Alex.

We came up with this last year when COVID disruptions were really severe, people were still avoiding post offices, etc — some of that is still happening and so it makes sense to keep it this time too. I don’t think very many people used it but it’s good to have the option.
posted by curious nu at 6:09 AM on November 1, 2021

Yes! Yes yes yes yesssss. Signed up and rubbing my hands gleefully. Thank you curious nu & mochapickle for shouldering this!
posted by miles per flower at 6:40 AM on November 1, 2021

Thank you mochapickle and curious nu! I signed up.
posted by 15L06 at 12:19 PM on November 1, 2021

Yaaaayyyy !!! This is the best time of year! Thanks so much for all the work you put into this
posted by Sparky Buttons at 4:13 PM on November 1, 2021


Thank you!
posted by RhysPenbras at 4:15 PM on November 1, 2021

I'm in! Woohoo!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:16 PM on November 1, 2021

Praise Jibbers! I need this happiness up in my space so much this year. Thank you so much for organizing!
posted by batbat at 4:32 PM on November 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

Thank you so much for organizing! I sat out last year, but I'm coming back in for SECRET BEANS.

I am also interested in donating to the support pool.
posted by jeoc at 4:43 PM on November 1, 2021

Yay! Thank you for continuing this wonderful tradition.
posted by pjsky at 5:03 PM on November 1, 2021

So glad this continues! YAY.
posted by mollymillions at 5:13 PM on November 1, 2021

Signed up! Which, as usual, means I'll get lucky and someone else will get the box of dog hair I've been saving since last swap.
posted by maxwelton at 6:34 PM on November 1, 2021

I love getting the reminder mail each year! Signed up!
posted by obol at 7:13 PM on November 1, 2021

Sign this merry mustelid up!
posted by The otter lady at 7:26 PM on November 1, 2021

Signed up! It's the best gift swap out there.
posted by Nackt at 7:43 PM on November 1, 2021

Signed up! If you are doing a list of second chancers, or whatever it is we call people who fill in when someone else isn’t able to get a gift out in time, please add me to the list!
posted by skycrashesdown at 11:10 PM on November 1, 2021

Signed up! Always makes me feel happy.

Thank you for organising

I’d also like to donate to the funding pool if that is an option.
posted by Gilgongo at 3:43 AM on November 2, 2021

re: donations: you are all wonderful people! Donations coming in have faaaar outstripped donations going out, so I'm not accepting more funds right now but if something changes I will send out an email to anyone who has expressed interest. :)
posted by curious nu at 6:33 AM on November 2, 2021 [5 favorites]

Thank you so much to you and mochapickle for organizing this and the weeks of work that entails!
posted by jedicus at 7:59 AM on November 2, 2021

I am so excited to send one of you a box of random junk!
posted by bile and syntax at 8:23 AM on November 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

It's the most Qu...

posted by deezil at 10:49 AM on November 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

In like Flynn! So much fun.
posted by widdershins at 12:43 PM on November 2, 2021

All y'all are the absolute best MetaElves! Joyful December to all!
posted by theora55 at 2:58 PM on November 2, 2021

Yay, signed up!
posted by holborne at 8:57 PM on November 2, 2021

Done! Though proving I'm a human shouldn't require figuring out if a blurry green blog is a palm tree. ;-)

Thank you both so much for doing this. (Also, thanks always do ocherdraco for the original questions list. I have saved my answers over the years and strive to make them funnier.)
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 12:06 AM on November 3, 2021

Signed up! Thank you!
posted by Shepherd at 3:17 AM on November 3, 2021

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.

Last year I signed up and got somebody in the UK, and wasn't able to send a gift, the post office said there was no mail service from Chile to the UK. Same with other carriers. I informed the MeFi gift gods, and offered to send to someone else, but that didn't happen.
Does this allow me to participate this year, when I think postal service will be a tad more regular?
posted by signal at 5:00 AM on November 3, 2021

posted by bondcliff at 7:32 AM on November 3, 2021

Does this allow me to participate this year, when I think postal service will be a tad more regular?

Yes, I'm just kinda rolling with COVID stuff, as long as folks communicate.

I'll be doing some legwork with the assignments to see what the postal regulations/delays are like -- I know there are some issues with some packages going USA > Australia right now, for instance. Some folks may be asked to join International Spirit if it seems like delays are going to make things impractical.
posted by curious nu at 12:45 PM on November 3, 2021

Yes! I'm in. Thanks mochapickle and curious nu!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:48 PM on November 3, 2021

I am all signed up. SECRET BEANZ
posted by Lawn Beaver at 9:34 AM on November 4, 2021

Hurrah! I love this exchange and can't wait to participate again. Onward, into delightfulness!
posted by but no cigar at 12:31 PM on November 4, 2021

curious nu: " Yes, I'm just kinda rolling with COVID stuff, as long as folks communicate."

Great, thanks.
posted by signal at 5:47 AM on November 5, 2021

Signed up! I am looking forward to participating this year!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 6:06 PM on November 5, 2021

I've signed up!

Two additional notes:
* I'm happy to be a second-chancer if needed, for destinations in the US.
* If there wind up being more requests than the funding pool has $$, please let me know and I'll donate!
posted by Metasyntactic at 1:22 AM on November 6, 2021

I couldn't participate last year so I'm doubly excited about this year's swap.
I had a second-chancer swoop in and send me a lovely gift one year, so I'd like to volunteer to do that within the US. I can also donate to the funding pool. Thanks for putting this together mochapickle and curious nu!
posted by amelliferae at 9:05 AM on November 6, 2021

Finally signed up. DaBeenzSwap is high on my list of activities for the season. Thank you all who participate and thank you all who facilitate. Much love to all!
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 7:49 AM on November 8, 2021

Signed up! Was on vacation and almost missed it this year!
posted by Captain_Science at 11:20 AM on November 8, 2021

Hey look, I actually signed up BEFORE the deadline and didn’t have to shamelessly beg to be squeezed in the day after. : ) Looking forward to this!
posted by SisterHavana at 11:48 PM on November 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

I signed up for the first time ever! Super excited!
posted by ASlackerPestersMums at 4:14 AM on November 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

Thanks for this. I have looked forward to participating in this swap for very many years running :)
posted by Tesseractive at 9:19 AM on November 11, 2021

Thank you everyone for signing up! I just closed the form and will work this weekend on setting the matches. I'll make another post here once those have gone out.
posted by curious nu at 5:40 AM on November 12, 2021 [5 favorites]

Dang it. I put the closing date wrong in my calendar and missed it. Oh well.
posted by guster4lovers at 4:46 PM on November 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

guster4lovers, please check your memail asap! Thanks!
posted by mochapickle at 6:41 PM on November 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

Any chance for a late signup? Also got the dates mixed up.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:18 PM on November 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

It's something I don't have the mental energy to contribute to, but it's one of my favourite things to follow along with. Seeing this post is exciting because there will be a thank you thread soon enough, and I love those. Thanks for sharing, it's lovely to read along with you all.
posted by freethefeet at 2:46 AM on November 13, 2021 [4 favorites]

HJ, check your memail!

Just in case there are others wanting to join this year -- hello! -- we've opened up the signup form until 2pm Mountain time, and then we gotta close it up again. All are welcome!

Also, needlegrrl's winter holiday card exchange is open through Nov 14. It's linked in the banner and she's added a 5-card option this year for folks who just need a little cheerful mail for the season. It's a lot of fun and I look forward to it all year --
posted by mochapickle at 4:29 AM on November 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

brook horse, check your memail!
posted by mochapickle at 5:48 PM on November 13, 2021

The first group of assignments are going out today -- if I remember right from last year, gmail throttles our outgoing mail a little bit to make sure we're not terrible spammers. Everything should be out by end of the day on the 16th, but fingers crossed we get it all out today/tomorrow. Updates to come~

As always, if you wind up swapped with yourself, a bitter rival, or something has come up between when you signed up and and now and you need to cancel, please let us know as soon as possible so we can make corrections. :)
posted by curious nu at 9:26 AM on November 14, 2021 [5 favorites]

Been distracted by real life dramas, so I wasn't tracking sign-up deadlines.. Got the This Is Just to Say newsletter this morning (Sunday), which had a link to the sign-ups, saying they were still open. :'( But I guess I missed the deadline and also missed yesterday's extra special until 2 pm mountain time sign-up window. :'(

I know it takes a lot time and energy to organize the exchange. And you're probably breathing a sigh of relief that it's all done. But, let me know if you're doing a really, really, really late for the sign-ups exchange. Good thing the card exchange is still open for a few more minutes. :)
posted by LeftMyHeartInSanFrancisco at 12:18 PM on November 14, 2021

If you're okay with an International Spirit swap (where you order something online that can be shipped to an address) please memail me or email with a subject line of "late sign-up" and if we get a critical mass I'll work to make that happen (but no guarantees). All the standard assignments have been sorted at this point but I do want to try and include everyone I can if possible.
posted by curious nu at 5:02 PM on November 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

posted by LeftMyHeartInSanFrancisco at 10:49 PM on November 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

OMG I can't believe I missed the signup by ONE DAY! Argh, it was such a joy last year. Please let me know if an extension opens up. Thank you!
posted by cyndigo at 2:05 PM on November 16, 2021

We already have a thank-you thread!
posted by curious nu at 7:08 AM on November 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

I missed the deadline, too, but oh, well.
posted by jgirl at 12:55 PM on November 18, 2021

I received a "Thanks for filling out MetaFilter Gift Swap 2021 Sign-up" confirmation from Google Forms on November 11th but haven't received anything since then. I see that there is already a "thank you" thread started, so obviously some people have received their assignments.

Am I in or out of this year's exchange?

No heroic measures are needed to include me at the last minute if I was somehow left out, but I would like to avoid the situation where someone is waiting for a gift that never comes, if I was given an assignment and somehow failed to receive it.
posted by Nerd of the North at 9:30 PM on November 19, 2021

@Nerd of the North -- we've got you on our list! Please check your memail so we can make sure we have the correct email address.
posted by curious nu at 6:32 AM on November 20, 2021

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