Chantelle has always been an online Christmas Fanatic – first as a member of the All Things Christmas forum since 2001, then took over running the All Thing Christmas Blog & Community. She has written a self-published children’s book, been interviewed in a National newspaper about her love of Christmas, co-founded the Worlds Biggest Virtual Christmas Market (during Covid Lockdowns).
She is the website administrator and does all the tricku back-end coding that makes the Swaps run (mostly) smoothly.
When she’s not spreading Christmas Cheer online, she is renovating her house in London, England and spending loads of time with her (just as Christmas-obsessed) nine-year old daughter.
Margaret is her mother – and was the inspiration behind the illustrated book ‘My Mother is a Christmas Elf‘. She doesn’t know the meaning of doing anything half-hearted and is passionate about making sure that everyone feels included, especially at Christmas. She is the main Community contact for the Big Christmas Swap, handling all of the questions and enquiries that come in. She is also the hero who manually matches every single Swap Member to their Groups/Lists within every Swap. Nobody knows our Swappers better, and cares more about The Big Christmas Swap.
In 2019 after a few years of doing Christmas Card swaps in various Facebook Groups or Online Forums, and realizing that these situations could be unsafe, or more importantly – that sometimes you’d send out 10-20 cards and only get a few in return, Chantelle and Margaret decided to start The Big Christmas Swap. A safe and reliable way to Swap Christmas Cards, with organizers who cared about the Swappers – to ensure that their efforts would be rewarded – that you’d always receive as many cards as you send.
The first year – The Big Christmas Swap was run like an email subscription list. We had hundreds of Swappers from all around the world – and although we didn’t have the same tracking methods in place, we were happy with the feedback of our Swappers who 85%+ said they received as many cards as they expected.
But, we knew we could do better.
So in 2020 we created the Big Christmas Swap website, and started tracking Members enrolment and sent/received numbers and names on the website. We also added a post-registration ‘Confirmation’ window for our July Swaps as a test to see if this helped the problem of people who would sign up and then completely abandon the Swaps (and still receiving cards). The new system worked, and 2020 was a very successful year, despite the global mail challenges at the time.
In 2021 we did a major software/website update, with a complex back-end system which manages Swaps and rewards our Members with Ranks, Awards and Badges for their participation. We also added Premium Swaps, which are registration-fee based Gift Exchanges. For specific details on how to successfully join/participate in a Swap we require all members, to read and agree to our How Swaps Work guidelines.
We are constantly adding/changing and updating the website and our Swap guidelines to make everything faster, smoother and easier for our Swappers. However – as we want to ensure that only those who are capable of understanding and following our instructions actually enrol and participate in our Swaps we do keep a certain amount of Complexity to the Swaps. This is intentional, to “weed out” those who are less likely to fully participate.
Luckily, we continue to have a very high success rate for every single one of our Swaps – and the vast majority of our Swap Members return every July and Winter to participate again and again – while also adding lots of NEW Members every year.
We hope that our 2022 Swaps will be BIGGER and BETTER than ever – to share your experience and be a part of our growing community, please join us on our Facebook Group: Big Christmas Swappers.