4 Items To Consider Before Taking Part In A Gift Exchange

Last year, I took part in a bloggers Secret Santa Gift Exchange. Honestly I didn’t give it much thought before signing up. I was just so excited by the thought of making a total stranger a bit happier with something nice and also about getting more involved in the blogging community. 

Part of the expectation was that we were to provide a bit of insight to our audience about this new fabulous blogger—well hopefully fabulous. In my case, I do believe that the woman whom I served as a Secret Santa to is quite fabulous. I don’t want to introduce her quite yet as right now I want to go over some of the items I wish I would have considered prior to signing up.

1.      Plan

The due date was December 19th, the last day to sign up was early December, which was when I signed up. At first it seemed totally doable; order a gift using Amazon Prime and take advantage of free 2 day shipping, then ship it off! It wasn’t quite that simple.

The gift exchange provided everyone with a wish list which many of us didn’t fill up until late in the week—when you have a tight deadline, every day counts. With that said, it took me a while before shipping off my gift, by then I knew shipping rates would be exponentially higher given that I needed expedited shipping in order to meet the deadline. I thought about just returning my order and sending off an electronic gift card, but to be honest, I’m not a big fan of such gifts, even to strangers. I love thoughtful presents—which in this case wasn’t very thoughtful at all as I just took advantage of a wish list, but it did make me feel better.

In conclusion, consider your timeline and plan accordingly.

2.      Gift Options

Ecards vs. physical products—go with whatever you think will make it’s way on time.

3.      Shipping & Handling

Keep this in mind when you consider your gift. I touched on it a bit back when I was planning for my international giveaway, so I won’t go into too much detail, but here are a few items to consider:

i.      Shipping restrictions

ii.      Measurements of your product—some may cost a bit more than others simply because they have odd dimensions.

iii.      Weight—shipping a cookbook may cost the same as the book itself…it’s okay as long as you’ve come to terms with that idea.

4.      Acceptance

So you’ve put in all the effort of coming through with your end of the deal, is there a system in place to ensure they too will come through? The answer is probably not. I’ve thought about this, and honestly I think that if such a system—say everyone that took part were obligated to pay an upfront fee of the minimum amount to be spent on the exchange, and upon fulfillment it were reimbursed otherwise that sum would go to the person they were paired with—the participation rate would probably be lower than it would otherwise. Elfster was what was used for our gift exchange and there wasn’t anything of the kind.

I’ve seen this come up as an issue not only in this gift exchange but in various others. The truth of the matter is, there will always be someone that doesn’t come through, whether it be a total stranger or a person you personally interact with every day. It’s life. At this point it’s best to accept, adapt and overcome, as my high school government teacher so wisely advised us many-many years ago.

If you’ve ever taken part in an exchange of any kind, what are your thoughts?

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