Sunday 3 November 2013

Worldwide Christmas Stamp Swap

 [CLOSED - not enough sign-ups; will try again next year]

   I am a big fan of stamp collecting. My mum used to do it when she was younger, and her dad before her, and when I saw her collection - as haphazard as it was - when I was 14, I decided to try it, too. I did it the usual way that kids do, I'd cut stamps off of envelopes and I'd buy little bags of stamps from charity shops from all over the world, but I soon grew tired of it. While I do still cut stamps off of envelopes even if it comes from my own country (it's a habit I just can't get out of), I prefer to just buy sets that catch my eye. For example, I have a set of stamps featuring designs of Middle Earth by Tolkien, I have a set of stamps featuring mythical creatures like dragons and fairies, and I have another set of stamps featuring fantasy characters from the likes of Discworld, Harry Potter and so on. I even have those ones from Belgium that taste and smell like chocolate.

   But I'm growing a little tired of the predictability of my stamps. So, I decided that starting a Christmas Stamp Swap could be fun! It's dead simple, all you do is sign up using the method shown below, I'll group you up into threes, and then you send each of your three assigned partners a Christmas stamp from your country. Because it's so small and light, it shouldn't cost you an arm and a leg to send it, either.
   I'm hoping to group people up with people from different countries so no one ends up getting the same stamps they sent out, although there is no accounting for choice, but that means that, if you sign up, you will need to be willing to pay whatever the shipping fee is to send that tiny pit of paper to your partners.

There are only three rules for people participating:
  1. The stamps must have been issued by your country
  2. The stamps must be related to Christmas, or the equivalent in your country (Sinterklaas, for example)
  3. The stamps must be unused.
   Stamps are relatively easy to get ahold of, and many postal companies create new ones each year. You can choose to use Christmas stamps from years passed, but as I've said, they must be unused. You could buy them from Ebay, another stamp collecting website or community, your courier's official website, or simply from your local post office. You can also buy sets of stamps from previous years easily enough from other websites, and stamps take a very long time to gain any worth, so the prices are as they were when first released for quite a few years. It's the sort of collection that your children or grandchildren benefit from financially.

   If you're looking for interesting or unique Christmas stamps, a simple google search of 'Christmas postage stamps' or similar will usually result in a lot of images of christmas stamps. It's the images of stamp sets that will usually lead you to websites selling the stamps in mint condition/unused.

   Now, for this to work, I need at least 9 participants. So if I don't get an appropriate number of sign-ups, the swap will be scrapped. I will do my best to pair people up with people from different countries, but that may not always be possible, and so I will say that if you do choose to buy stamps from previous years, you will make being paired up with people from your own country a lot more exciting and acceptable to your partners. At the end of the day, you will only need about 3 individual stamps.
   You are welcome to add a little gift to your package, or decorate it in some festive way, and really add your own touch. You can also add more than one stamp - you could add a sheet of them! What's important is that, at the end of the day, the recipient is receiving at least one unused, Christmas-themed stamp from your country.

How to Sign Up

   To sign up, just email me with your name, address and website if you have one. You're welcome to blog about the event and spread the word. You must also include the official badge shown below somewhere on your page, either in your sidebar or at the bottom of a few blog posts. I'll assign you partners as best I can, and try to keep the countries varied, but this means that I need some real help spreading this about.

   Sign-ups are open until the 25th of November, and all stamps must be shipped by the 10th of December, latest. Try to ship as soon as possible, though. It's Christmas themed, afterall! As soon as I get 9 participants, I will update this post to say that it's going ahead. If I get enough participants and the event goes ahead, I will post a reminder about the dates periodically so none of you forget.


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