Calling all potential elves!

It’s that time of year again when I start recruiting elves for Critmas!

Since the second year of this crazy thing, each year I assemble an elite team of email-replying, response-chasing, spreadsheet-managing organisational whizzkids to help me run the ever-growing extravaganza of Critmas.

What exactly do the elves do?

The elves each get a portion of the gifting pool for whom they are the first point of contact. They send out the assignments. They keep track of who has acknowledged, sent and received Critmas gifts.

They also field all the first level questions and queries. They chase people who are unresponsive, and are in charge of making sure that everyone in their group is sent a gift. They escalate particularly problematic issues to me, and send all angel requests to Shawnali, and are responsible for reporting to us both so that we have a clear picture of what is happening.

This leaves me free to handle anything weird or curly that arises, and keep an eye on the whole to make sure we’re on track.

Do you have what it takes?

To be an elf, you must:

  • Have patience and the ability to handle people not reading the instructions, wanting you to solve their problems, or complaining to you about things over which you have no control (international postage, their own budgeting skills, getting something they think isn’t as good as what they sent). If you have ever had a job in retail or customer service, you know that the ability to stay calm and rational in the face of such things is paramount.
  • Have some experience and skill with excel. I will send you a spreadsheet with your gifting pool in it, but you will be expected to manage and track every gift in the pool. Spreadsheeting is key.
  • Understand the importance of keeping confidential information confidential. You will be responsible for a large number of postal address and personal information. I expect it to be treated with respect and kept to yourself.
  • Be in our discord. Much of our day to day communication will take place in the elf channels of our Sparabel discord, so you will need to be in there to make sure you don’t miss anything.
  • Check and reply to emails daily. Do not underestimate how many emails you will receive! I will ask you to create an elf gmail account to manage this, and you will be expected to be clearing it at least once a day, and making sure everyone is replied to in a timely manner. Managing your time to ensure that you can do this is vital.
  • Have clear boundaries! People will try to contact you at all times of the day and night through a wide range of methods – especially if you do not respond IMMEDIATELY. I expect you to clear your emails daily. I do NOT expect you to be available 24 hours a day, and would prefer that you be good at managing your time and boundaries firmly.

Still interested?

The Rewards

The rewards are great! Critters really are amazing, and although I have given some dire warnings in that section above, the vast majority of people you deal with are absolutely wonderful, ad will go out of their way to make sure that their recipient is thoroughly spoiled. 🙂 They are also the most gracious humans – you will have many thanks and lovely messages. ❤

Also though, each year a third of our Patreon income is squirrelled away to be divide between the Elves once Critmas is complete. It’s not a lot, but it is something. 🙂 (If you’d like to contribute to this fund, JOIN OUR PATREON.)

Want to give it a go? Apply now!

ROLL ON CRITMAS 2021!!

Rolling Exchanges

Good morning from a rather autumnal New Zealand!

Our rolling dice and book exchanges are pottering along nicely. This is just to let you know that the second round of both will be starting very soon, so if you want in on them, pop on over and sign up asap.

We’ve had a bunch of exchanges happening over in our Facebook group already this year. If you have an idea for an exchange you’d like to run, you can submit it here, and our lovely moderators will walk you through the process. 🙂

We have some exciting things in the works, but I can’t talk about them yet, so I am just going to sit here on my hands and NOT TELL YOU THE THINGS.

In the meantime, though, you could join our Patreon and start collecting official supporter stickers, badges and patches OR just buy us a coffee. 😉 This money helps pay admin expenses and lets us pay our mods and elves a token amount for the work that thy do. 🙂

We love you Critters! Keep being awesome.

Critter Gifting 2021

Hello most excellent humans!

It’s 2021, and we are in the very final stages of wrapping up Critmas. As I write this, there are, I think, five gifts unaccounted for, which, given there were 1600 participants around the globe at a time where postal services were under a lot of strain, is pretty damned good!

I had an amazing team of elves this year who definitely get much of the credit for making this such a successful year! So big thanks to all of them.

2021 exchanges are starting to appear in the Facebook group, so if you are a member, make sure you keep an eye out for those. I’ll be opening up the rolling dice and book exchanges soon! I just want to make sure I have the time and bandwidth to manage them. I’m hoping to get them going in the next couple of weeks though!

We have some big plans this year to massively upgrade our website and be able to be a lot less reliant on the whims of social media! I very much hope we’ll be able to tell you more about that in the coming months.

I even have some schemes for some (fairly simple) Critter Gifting merch that will help pay our admin bills.

We do have both a Patreon and a Ko-Fi where you can support us. The money from those gets divided into thirds. One third goes to the moderators, one third goes to the Critmas elves, and one third stays in our coffers to cover whatever costs arise. The Patreon has some pretty cool rewards, too. 🙂 Stickers and patches and pins for you to show your loyalty.

Thanks, as always, for being part of this astonishing and amazing community. Critters really are the best.

We love you. ❤

Sign Up Month

Hi folks!

Critmas sign ups went live only 3 days ago, and we are already edging up to the 1k participants mark! That is both terrifying and exciting. It seems to have slowed down a little now, after the initial rush, which, if I am honest, I am quite relieved about!

I thought I’d do a quick post to answer some of the questions I am seeing popping up again and again.

Firstly, the timeline – Signups close on the 30th September. You basically have a month to get that sign up sheet in. I’ll then collate the data and create assignment emails which your elves will send to you. These should go out in the first week of October. Please respond to your email so that we know you have received it! You then have until the 1st December to get something in the post heading to your recipient. That’s two months, so you really should be able to get something together in that time.

Can I send a handmade gift?

We absolutely encourage sending something you have made – we are well aware of what a talented community this is! We do have a question in our survey about whether the critter would welcome something handmade. The vast majority of Critters answer yes to this, but there is a small chance you’ll get someone who doesn’t. If that is the case, please do respect their wishes!

I live with my friend/fiance/boyfriend/wife and we both want to sign up. Are we allowed to do that?

Absolutely! As long as you sign up with different names and email addresses, you’ll be fine.

These are the same questions as the members info form – why can’t you just use that?

My loves, I tried that last year and it was a fiasco. Some people got it right, but several filled in the members form, but then didn’t sign up and were confused as to why they didn’t get an assignment. Others signed up but then never filled in the form and I had to chase them. In general, this year I decided it was better to just make a single form, thus ensuring people know if they signed up and also are using the most up to date info.

You guys are doing an amazing job! Can I help?

Yes! There are several ways you can support us!

We have a Patreon, where you can get all sorts of cool, nifty rewards AND help us keep this thing rolling financially.

We have a Ko-fi where you can buy your mods and elves a virtual coffee. Note that this doesn’t actually buy a coffee, but it does put some cash in our coffers, which I divide between mods, elves, and CG itself.

We often need angels! These are people who step in to send a gift when the original gifter cannot follow through for some reason. A bit later in the process, you will start to see posts in our Critter Gifting group from Shawnali, who coordinates the angels, requesting angels. This is an amazing way to help us make sure that every Critter who signs up gets something.

Thanks, beautiful Critters! Welcome to the mayhem! We love you. ❤

Critmas 2020

My loves!

Critmas is just around the corner already! I am in the process of gathering my elves. I have my mods proof-reading the sign up form. It is due to go live on the 1st September.

What’s Different this year?

This year we will have a page listing a bunch of Critter run businesses (in conjunction with Gilmore’s Glorious Goods by Crafty Critters on facebook) at which you can shop. We are STRONGLY encouraging that you buy items from places local to your giftee this year, due to the current international postage situation. This should hopefully make it easy for you to do that while also supporting the amazing makers and crafters in our community.

Is that it?

No! We also get to actually pay our elves this year, thanks to our supporters over on Patreon. If you are not already supporting us over there, please do consider doing so! There are nifty perks, and you get to help me actually pay the amazing people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make this insane event happen.

Please support us!

But it’ll still be amazing, right?

Damn right it will! Critmas has gone from strength to strength each year we have run it, and I have no doubt that this year will be no exception. 2020 has been a rough one, but this amazing event and the community who makes it possible is a beacon of hope and love and camaraderie.

I can’t wait. I hope you are just as excited as we are!

Some updates!

Hello most excellent Critters!

I thought it was about time I posted some updates about what’s happening in the world of Critter Gifting.

Critmas 2020

Critmas is just around the corner, believe it or not. I am in the process of virtually interviewing and shortlisting elves for this year. As always, signups will open at the beginning of September, so keep an eye out for that! Rest assured we are working hard in the background to make sure that this year runs as smoothly as possible, despite the current climate of dodgy international postage. 😉

I think we could all use the giant positivity bump that Critmas always creates!

Other Exchanges

We’re in the midst of a few smaller exchanges. We put our dice/book exchanges on hold for lockdown, but we decided to open them up again for one round before Critmas hit, so that’s happening right now. The Bath and Bubbles exchange is also currently running! These will be last smaller exchanges before Critmas this year. 🙂

Join us!

If you’re not already, consider joining the CG facebook group, or the CG discord, to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Support us!

We’re handing out awesome loyalty badges to patrons of Critter Gifting! They come in multiple forms, including digital, sticker, pins and patches.

If you’d like to start collecting these badges, pop on over and become a CG Patron.

Or, if a monthly commitment is not viable for you, you can buy us a virtual coffee.

The money we get from these gets ploughed back into the community – through token payments for volunteers, admin costs, and, when we can, random gifting. 😉

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I hope you are all staying safe out there. We love you, and we want you all safe and sound and awesome. ❤

Stay awesome, nerds.

Welcome to Critter Gifting

What started as a simple idea – Critters sending each other cool stuff across oceans and statelines, just for fun – has morphed into a community and an amazing force for good and kindness.

It is time to give it its own home on the interwebs, which is the point of this. We will post new exchanges here, and try to make it as easy as possible to navigate the various things on offer.

It may take a little while to populate, but in the meantime, thanks for joining us, and prepare for much gifting!

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