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Question A Discussion about the Christmas Card Exchange

Discussion in 'My Merry Christmas HQ' started by Jeff Westover, May 15, 2019.

  1. Jeff Westover

    Jeff Westover Chief Santa Tracker MMC Founder Santa's Elf Kringle Radio DJ

    The Christmas Card Exchange will open in July, during our annual Christmas in July celebrations. But I figure now is a good time solicit feedback from you about it.

    We generally get bombarded with questions and comments during November and December and I never really have time to speak to them at that time of the year. It's just too busy. Besides, most of those questions come from people who aren't even members here at the Merry Forums.

    That doesn't mean their questions and comments are without merit. Below are some of the more common questions we get and answers about why we do what we do with the exchange. I post these just in the interest to spur discussion.

    While I want to be open to changing things with the exchange that will make it better I don't think it is in our best interest to change it drastically. What we have been doing has been working very nicely. Even still, I want to put these things on record and see what they trigger in your mind about the exchange. Before Christmas in July I will lock this thread but keep it up for people to read. Maybe what we share here will be of use to those who are new or who want to join the exchange.

    Q: Why don't you open/manage the exchange on Facebook?
    A: We promoted our exchange on our Facebook page last year, as we do every year. But we're not a Facebook group. That page exists to bring people here. We do all of our business right here on the Merry Forums. We're not interested in just being another fly-by-night Facebook Christmas group that posts pictures and countdowns and then calls that Christmas.

    Q: Why do I have to join the Merry Forums to join the exchange?
    A: We're a community and the card exchange is an event of the community. By limiting the exchange to just Merry Forum members we improve the quality of the exchange.

    Q: Why do I have to be a premiere member to join the exchange?
    A: This too adds to the quality of the exchange. All premiere funds are donated to Santa's Sleigh, so it contributes to a good cause. But more importantly, if one invests money into the exchange they will invest effort -- thus, making the exchange better.

    Q: Why do we have to wait until after Thanksgiving to get the list?
    A: We used to release the list a little earlier in the name of helping to get cards to far places of the world in time for Christmas. Mail to most places is much fast now (and cheaper, in some places, too). A good portion of our list actually doesn't sign up until the very end. If we release the list sooner we effectively kill the exchange prematurely.

    Q: Last year you got my address wrong.
    A: Really. We can and do make mistakes. But it all begins when you submit the address. We're only as good as what is submitted. Please note that we do send out earlier versions of the list for editing purposes. Please pay attention to these announcements and messages. They will tell you how to correct an error.

    Q: I can't afford to send cards to International addresses.
    A: Not going to lie, it costs as much as five times more to send mail internationally. However, in recent years outgoing from the US those rates have dropped. For those mailing from Australia, the UK, New Zealand and Canada the cost burden is much higher than in the USA. We begin the exchange in July in hopes that folks will use the time in the months before Christmas to set a little aside to include as many outside their country as possible. As a general rule, we do not impose a rule that insists you send to everyone on the list. But we think it is a good idea to send to as many as possible.

    Q: You need to keep the exchange open longer.
    A: Thanksgiving seems to be the "just about right" cut off time. It's easy to remember and in most years it leaves four weeks still to get cards out.

    Q: Do you limit the number of people allowed in the exchange?
    A: No, we don't. Somehow we end up with about 60 to 80 people per year, more or less. We're happy with that. We see no need to try to grow it either. If more join, we'll deal with it. But we're not going to "promote" the exchange for the purpose of making it bigger. We want to keep it the best exchange there is.

    Q: I joined a list based on Facebook with more than 900 people on it. I got five cards.
    A: Not only that, but now your mailing address is out there in the wilds of the Internet. That's not to say our list is entirely secure. But social media is a jungle. Here you are among truer Christmas friends. Most of us on the exchange know each other. That's part of what makes the exchange so special too.
    xmastidings, Minta and lilnoelelf like this.
  2. MerryCarey

    MerryCarey A Voice from the North MMC Lifer MMC Donor Santa's Elf Christmas Crew Louann Jeffries Award Kringle Radio DJ

    Thanks for all the good information---very clear!

    I just want to post a reminder for folks in the U.S. who want to send Christmas cards to other countries: the Postal Service offers Global Forever stamps for $1.15 each. These are round, flat-rate stamps that can be used on most Christmas cards, and makes international mailing SO much easier---just slap on a stamp and put it in the mail, same as domestic cards. And last year they came out with a pretty poinsettia design for Christmas.

    (I don't work for the Post Office or anything---just want to let people know about the stamps! I didn't know until a couple years ago and wish I'd known sooner.)
  3. shrcpark

    shrcpark Reindeer Feeder Technician Merry Forums Member

    Thanks for posting information about the International Stamps.
    DixieBelle, Minta, Rich and 1 other person like this.
  4. Rich

    Rich Fruit Cake Baker MMC Donor MMC Premiere Member

    @Jeff Westover , this information helps a lot. I've often wandered how the exchange worked and how many were actually in it. I had feared it was more than 60-80. Less than 100 is manageable. And thank you @MerryCarey for the international stamp info. That is convenient and helps in planning for costs. With all this info in one spot, it's easier to make an informed decision. I will be seriously thinking about joining the exchange this year. Thanks for all you do.
  5. GWarren

    GWarren Christmas Cookie Maker Merry Forums Member MMC Premiere Member

    For anyone who wants to join the Christmas card exchange, the card list is sent as an excel file. This can be used to print address labels with mail merge. They may need a bit of finagling for international addresses, but I found it quite helpful.
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
    Minta, Jeff Westover and Rich like this.
  6. NutmegNan

    NutmegNan Merry Maker Extraordinaire MMC Donor Merry Forums Member MMC Premiere Member

    I ordered those last year & it made everything so much easier!
    Minta and MerryCarey like this.
  7. NutmegNan

    NutmegNan Merry Maker Extraordinaire MMC Donor Merry Forums Member MMC Premiere Member

    I hope it's ok to copy & paste. If not, my apologies!
    So are these the only new stamps to be released that are either winter/Holiday themed?! If so it's kinda sad....
    Minta likes this.
  8. DixieBelle

    DixieBelle Limited Member Merry Forums Member

    That's it? No Christmas stamps? I've been disappointed with my local post office the past couple of years. They always tell me that they are sold out, but most folks around here tell me they never had any to begin with. Now, they aren't even making any?!? That makes me so sad :*(
  9. DixieBelle

    DixieBelle Limited Member Merry Forums Member

    Thanks for the info. I didn't even know they existed!
  10. WintersElf

    WintersElf Mistletoeologist MMC Lifer MMC Premiere Member Christmas Talk Alum

    they usually have them in october...last year was pretty sorry...
  11. DixieBelle

    DixieBelle Limited Member Merry Forums Member

    Sorry if I'm a wee bit slow on the take, but I have a question for clarification. To join in on the Christmas card exchange, I need to be a premiere member? If so, how do I do that? Thanks in advance for anybody that answers!
  12. Jeff Westover

    Jeff Westover Chief Santa Tracker MMC Founder Santa's Elf Kringle Radio DJ

    Yes, the card exchange is for premiere members. You access it via account upgrades in your user control panel -- click on your name on the upper right, you'll see the menu.

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