2015: Several trauma mamas and I have decided to do a small Trauma Mama gift swap. If you are a trauma mama and interested in participating, please fill out the following form and put it in the comments (it will not be published) or email it to marythemommy at gmail dot com. Please be 100% sure that you are able to participate, remember there is another trauma mama who may be hurt and disappointed if you do not follow through.
One of my favorite things to do at Christmas time over the last few years is to participate in the Trauma Mama Holiday Gift Swap. Unfortunately the people sponsoring it found that doing this for large groups quickly became too much for any one person to organize. For one reason or another, many people did not honor their obligations (which I totally understand as we are all trauma mamas and Christmas time is HARD!) so many mamas did not receive gifts. Many others tried to step in and fill the gaps, but a lot of needy mamas were hurt and disappointed.
This year I participated in a small group exchange and I did a one on one swap with another mom. I was also an "angel" to a trauma mama who could not afford a gift for her child or herself. I'm so glad to be in a place in my life where I can do this.
If anyone wants to organize their own gift swap or just exchange with a friend, here's a form I adapted from the From Survival to Serenity 2012 trauma mama holiday gift swap. I found it to be particularly helpful in finding just the right gifts. I hope this will inspire you to start your own group or just a one on one swap with another mom. Moms deserve special gifts under the tree too!
Trauma Mamas Holiday Gift Swap RegistrationPlease complete at least the required questions marked with an asterisk. All other "Get to Know You" questions are optional, but please do keep in mind that the more questions you answer, the better the person who gets your name will be able to connect with you. It will also help us in creating matches based on similar situations, geographic areas, interests, etc.
**Hint** If you would like to answer the "Getting to Know You" questions, but don't have time to complete the whole form all at once, write out your answers in a word processing program and then cut and paste them into the form boxes when you're ready to send it in. Registration forms are due no later than November 15. All matches will be made on or before November 20. Unless there are special circumstances that need to be considered, packages should be mailed to their recipients no later than December 14. International packages will need to be shipped no later than December 1. We learned from sad experience last year that if they're shipped any later than that, they don't arrive before Christmas, even when they're coming from or going to Canada. .
Contact and Shipping Information*
Name (first and last)
Other Contact Information
Examples: Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc. You are also welcome to include a phone number or whatever other contact information you wish and/or feel comfortable sharing.
I am 100% committed to participating in this event. *100% commitment means that I acknowledge and understand there is a very real mama with very real feelings on the other end of this swap. She's also a trauma mama who's been in or is still in the trenches just like I am. She's very likely put much of herself into preparing something special for another mama. I want her to receive something special this holiday season to remind her that she is loved, that the work she's doing is worth it, and that she's not alone. It would be very sad for her to be looking forward to receiving something special from a potential new friend, but not have it arrive. I will make sure that doesn't happen!
What if I need to back out? *If circumstances arise and I'm unable to keep my participation commitment, I will notify one of the organizers as quickly as possible so another match can be found for my assigned mama.
Shipping Confirmation *I promise to ship my package using a method that can be tracked, even if I have to pay a little bit extra in order to make that happen. I want to make sure my mama actually gets my package once I've sent it.
Getting to Know You
These questions aren't required, but the more you share, the more the mama who gets your name will be able to get a feel for who YOU are outside of being a trauma mama. Not only does it help her be able to put together a special gift for you, but it will also help in deciding who you ultimately get matched with. One of the most fun aspects of participating in an event like this is finding others to add to your circles of support and friendship. If matches can be made among people with similar interests or family situations or whatever, they will be. Unless otherwise noted, these answers (along with your contact information) will be shared with the person you are matched with.
Briefly describe yourself and your family. Describe your personality, share your general age, what your profession is, any special talents, etc. Share whatever you want about what makes you you. Also share a bit about your family including how many kids you have, their ages, are they bio or adopted, if adopted, how old were they at adoption, where they were adopted from, and whatever else you want to share.
What type of activities do you enjoy participating in with your family?
If you had spare time for hobbies or interests, what would they be?
What are your top 3 favorite movies?...the ones you could watch over and over again and only love them more each time you see them.
What are your favorite colors...both for decorating and for wearing?
What is your decorating style? funky, contemporary, eclectic, shabby-chic, country, traditional, minimalist…
Do you collect anything in particular? (coins, figurines, butterflies, angels, snowmen, etc)
What are some of your favorite things?
These would be things you love and enjoy having in your life and in your space
What type of gifts would you most like? things to pamper yourself, accessories, crafts, soft cuddly items, inspirational items, food treats, things you collect…
What types of things do you dislike?
This would be things you smile sweetly at initially, but then they secretly end up in the trash bin later on.
Do you have any allergies? Gluten free? Caffeine free? Include food, chemical, metal, etc
What are your favorite foods and/or beverages? Do you drink alcohol?
Do you have any dietary restrictions and/or preferences?
What are your 3 most favorite restaurants?
What stores do you like to shop at when looking for a little something special for yourself?
Is there anything else you'd like to share? ie: a particular religious affiliation, perhaps you celebrate a holiday other than Christmas, any unique life circumstances or situations, etc.
I can help with this event by...
If you have the time, sanity, and desire to help make sure this event continues to be a fun and fulfilling experience for everyone, please let us know.
I am willing and able to ship my package internationally if needed
I am willing and able to be an "Angel Mama" if needed. Should the need arise, I can help out by putting together a second package for a second mama. Feel free to contact me if you need some help in this area.
I can help with event coordination and logistics if needed. Should the need arise, I can help with the coordination efforts and logistics of this event. I am willing to help out by working with the other event coordinators, sending emails to other participants as needed, or doing whatever else is needed to make sure the logistics of this event are manageable.