Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Discussion: The Do's and Do Not's of Blog Swaps

The Do's and the Do Not's of Blog Swaps by Lauren

One of the things that I love about blogging is participating in blog swaps. If you haven’t seen these around, then the idea is essentially like Secret Santa, but it happens all year round. One or two blogs create a swap – based around a season/holiday/theme- and other bloggers can sign up. Once the sign up period is over, whoever created the swap will match you up. Sometimes who you give to isn’t the same person who gives to you, but most of the time you are matched up with one other person. You give to them, they give to you. This is a really good way to get to know another blogger! You use email, their blog, or other social media sites to learn more about them and figure out just what you want to send. 

Most blogs have a set dollar limit they want you to hit so that the gifts will be of equal value. Also, if the swap has a theme, that might limit what you give. Maybe you need to send a book in your box or maybe you need to get things in the person’s favorite color. Whatever the theme/reason for the swap, you are still allowed to use your creativity and your swap partner’s interests to create a solely unique and exciting gift for them! Plus, who doesn’t like getting gifts in the mail? Definitely think about signing up for a blog swap if you haven’t taken part in one yet.

However, whether you have been in a blog swap or not, I thought I would share my personal Do’s and Do Not’s of Blog Swapping. Please don’t take offense to any of these, and note that these are my own personal Do’s and Do Not’s so you might have different ones! I’m writing this post more as a guide than as a hard and fast rule.


·         Make sure you follow the rules – spend the right amount, mail the package when you should, etc.
·         Keep in touch with the hosts and/or your swap partner. Make sure they know if you will be mailing late, send a tracking number if you are meant to (that goes with follow the rules) and generally make sure they know you are doing your part!
·         Ask questions! I don’t think I’ve ever done a blog swap where you can’t contact the person you are sending to, so make sure you ask them questions. Whether the swap has a theme or not, there are always questions you can ask your person to make sure you are creating the best gift box for them. You want it to be things they will enjoy, after all, since you are putting time and money into it!
·         Every swap I’ve been in, you have to share what you got on your blog afterwards and link up with everyone else. This is a good way for your swap partner to know you got their gifts (and what you thought) as well as see what everyone else got/sent. I’m putting this on Do, even though it’s usually a set rule anyway, because I wanted to add that you should include at least two pictures of your swap package (if you can) to fully show off the items you received, and you should try and write as much as possible about what you got. What did you just LOVE? Any items you were surprised to get, but were super excited about? All of this shows that you really appreciated your gift and as the saying goes “the more, the merrier.”

Do Not’s

·         Never sign up for a swap and then not send something. I think this has happened to me once, but I know it’s happened to a lot of other people too and it’s not right and definitely not fair. Especially if the person is the one you have mailed a gift to – the idea is to reciprocate and if you don’t do that, then again, that’s wrong. Only sign up for a swap if you know you will be able to send a proper gift, and if something changes, get in touch with the hosts. Don’t just leave your partner hanging!
·         Don’t buy the majority of your gifts from the Target and Michael’s clearance aisle. I’ve had people do this a lot and while some of the gifts are nice, it’s easy to see they didn’t spend much time or money trying to send a nice gift and it’s kind of a bummer. You can definitely use these places and get an item or two from the clearance places – again, some of what they sell is nice –but don’t go overboard. For one thing, it’s easy to see you didn’t reach the $ limit for the swap, and for another, it’s obvious to most people who do swaps where you got your items because we shop here too!
·         Don’t wait until the last minute to shop for your partner. I know that you often have to wait to get paid, or you need a moment to really shop, but waiting too long means you might end up getting items that aren’t as thoughtful or nice for your partner. If you can’t buy something right away, think about “window shopping” a store and seeing what you can find or even searching online. I try to come up with ideas of things I want to get my person even before I buy them, so when I do have time/money, I can get on it right away! This also keeps you from having to mail your package too late.
·         Don’t mail your package too late. I’ve had to mail packages late. It happens. I didn’t have a box that fit. I don’t have the money to mail it. I need to make time to go to the post office. There are a ton of reasons, but try and mail it a day or two after the send date so it’s not getting to your partner way later than they sent yours. You don’t want them waiting too long, especially when everyone else is getting their goodies in the mail! Of course, mailing before or on the send date is ideal! 

Do you have any blog swap rules you follow? What do you think of mine?


Naomi Hop said...

I actually haven't heard of a blog swap before... does sound interesting.

Joyous Reads said...

I think I've only participated in one many years ago. It was a Christmas gift exchange. The person I sent to never did acknowledge ever receiving my gift and while it may sound shallow to be looking for gratification, it still nice to see the other person appreciated the effort. I don't know. It's the civil thing to do, I suppose.

Anna (herding cats-burning soup) said...

I've not done a blog swap but did a few from an author group and sometimes it was great and others a huge let down. I ended up stopping doing them. Maybe I'll try again one day.

Erika Sorocco said...

Cheers to this post, Lauren! I think that a lot of people underestimate the amount of time, thought, and effort that goes into participating in a swap - if they can't give it their 100%, they shouldn't be signing up {especially around the holidays}!


Jasprit said...

Aww this sounds like a lot of fun! I normally take part in tbtbsanta and I love buying all the books and gifts related to what my santee likes. I'm also one of those organised people that plans everything in advance and make sure to get my parcel sent out on time. I also love it when they post an unboxing of it too!

Kindlemom said...

I have yet to do this but they sound (and look) like so much fun. Thanks for all the tips for if I do decide to participate sometime. :D

Nicole Hewitt said...

These sound like great rules to follow. I haven't done a swap since OTSPSecretSister (which I loved, but it got to be a bit overwhelming after a while), so a one-time swap would be a great option!

Jennifer Humphries said...

I just did my first blog swap with ornaments. I was stressed! I wish I had this list last week :) I hope I did OK!

The Bibliophile Babe said...

Great list! I want to try a swap sometime. Maybe afer we move!

Gingi Freeman said...

I have seen these blog swaps on other blogs.. but this year I am doing a blogger Christmas card exchange.. so far I have gotten two cards, and have not sent mine out yet (I know, bad me!).. but it is fun so far!! -

Jenn said...

I participated in one where my swap partner sent really cheap gifts and they arrived late, and then she never posted about the things that I sent her. It was a bummer all around.