Swap FAQ

If you are new to the swap or just can’t quite remember how things worked last year, here are the important details you need *:

How does the swap work?
Hundreds of loss families register to participate in this ornament swap every year. They are families who have experienced the tragic loss of a baby (pre-term to neonatal). By registering, they agree to hand-craft an ornament for another family's baby, and in turn, one is crafted for theirs. It is a lovely tradition and a nice way to both memorialize your baby and include him/her in your family's celebration of the holidays.

To join the swap read the rules of participation here, and sign up using the form here. (Registration will open on November 1st, 2017). You must sign up by Sunday November 12th, 2017. Last call for sign-ups will be at 6 pm (EST) and we have to stick to that deadline to allow each crafter enough time to make their ornament and ship it to their assigned family. Shortly after you submit the registration form, you will receive a confirmation email from the Swap Team (usually within 48 hours). Reply to the email as instructed [by adding your full name to the subject line of the email] and your registration will be complete. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 3 days of completing the form, please email the Swap Team, at rememberingswaps@gmail.com. Please do not submit multiple forms unless they are for separate losses. If you think that the form did not submit properly, email us and ask; we will be able to tell you right away if we did not receive it.
When registration closes, the Swap Team will compile a list of all participants and  assign families at random to one another for swapping ornaments. Once the assignments have been made, we will send you an email with the contact information of the family you are making the ornament for, their child’s name, and some other preferences. Then you can get crafting!

You must then complete and ship your ornament to your assigned recipient by Tuesday, December 5th, 2017 in order for it to reach its family in time. This time commitment is very important. Please do not be late shipping your ornament, and always email your recipient when you have shipped so they know it is on its way.

I just registered & received an email from RT asking me to confirm my registration by adding my name to the subject line of the email & sending it. What if I don't do this? And how do i change the subject line of an email??
If we do not receive a reply from you with your name added to the subject line, you will not be registered in the Swap. If you need help figuring out how to alter the subject line of the email, here are some helpful links:
Click here if you have Gmail 
Click here if you have Outlook 
Click here if you have Yahoo

I don’t celebrate Christmas—can I still be included?
Absolutely. Even though we are making “ornaments,” this is a non-denominational swap. When you register, you'll be asked to list the holiday(s) that you celebrate. Although there are plenty of lovely secular winter images that can be used in ornaments, knowing your religious preference could help your crafter design an ornament that works for your family. (For example, your crafter will probably want to know if you celebrate Hanukkah but not Christmas.)

How many people can participate?
We would love to spread the love as far as possible this year so as many people as sign up can participate. Please spread the word by forwarding the sign up email, linking to
our blog, posting our button on your blog or liking/sharing our Facebook page. Last year we had close to 300 registrants.

I’m not very artsy-crafty—can I still participate?
Yes, please do. Your ornament does not have to be perfect. It really is the thought that counts, and your care and effort go a long way towards truly touching the hearts of families who are missing their child. That being said, please put heart and effort into your ornament -- it shows!! Some of the larger arts and crafts stores have ornament-making kits which are a great option if you are not a serious crafter. Or you can buy pre-cut, unpainted wooden shapes to personalize by painting. Sewing, knitting, paper crafts are also a fun way to go. 

To help out anyone who needs inspiration...
Stop into a craft store, there are ornament kits that supply you with materials and ideas. Pick up a holiday magazine while you're in line at the grocery store & look for ideas there. Go on line and look at Pinterest, they are full of fun, easy ornament ideas. Peruse past entries on our blog,or the albums on our facebook page to see what other folks have come up with in past Swaps -- you will be amazed, impressed, and INSPIRED. Remember, it does not need to be Martha-Stewart-perfect, it just needs to be from the heart.

Can I just buy a "personalized" ornament, or order one on line?

Nope, sorry! Enjoy the crafting and make something special!

What should my ornament look like?
Almost anything appropriate to the season. There are just a few rules. You must include the baby’s name (part of what makes these ornaments so special). The information collected during your sign up will also include significant dates, and any symbols or colors that you associate with your baby. Crafters are not obligated to include all of these, but may use them to get an idea of what the receiving family might like. Also please respect the parents’ religious/non-religious preference. And please try to include some kind of hanging mechanism (hook, string, etc.), so that it can be hung.

I have more than one loss. Can I receive multiple ornaments?
Of course,
as long as you are willing to make more than one ornament in return. If you have had multiple losses and would like more than one baby remembered, please fill out a separate sign-up form for each child. (This means that your babies’ ornaments will each be made by someone different, so they won’t necessarily match.) You will receive only one confirmation email from us, regardless of how many registration forms you submit. You need only reply once. When assignments are made, you will receive the same number of ornament assignments as the number you signed up to receive. If you have multiple losses, it is perfectly ok to submit for just one ornament that commemorates them all if you wish to avoid having to make & send a larger number of ornaments yourself. (for example: "Our Angels", "The Callahan Babies", etc.

I have a question about what my recipient would like. Can I contact them, or do I have to stay secret?
You don’t have to be a “secret” swapper. You will have their mailing address and their email address and can contact them if you choose. Most likely, though, they will be happy with and touched by whatever you choose to make for them.

How much does participating cost?
It costs whatever you choose to spend on supplies, plus the cost of shipping the ornament to its recipient. (The Swap Team will not receive anything, and there are no fees.) In order to reduce shipping costs and times, we always attempt to keep swap assignments within the same countries, or at least the same general area of the planet. Postal costs can still be high, though, so please keep this in mind if you think it will be a prohibitive factor.

Where do I send the ornament when it is done?
Mail it directly to the family at the contact information provided in the email that we will send you. Mail it no later than Tuesday, December 4th, 2018, and, as a courtesy, send a quick email to your recipient to let them know it's on the way. If it is ready earlier than that, it's ok to send it early too! Please package your ornament with great care so that it arrives intact, and be sure to mark it "FRAGILE". The postal service can be very rough with packages!

Am I guaranteed to receive an ornament?
While we would love to report a 100% success rate, unfortunately sometimes things do go wrong. There is no accounting for weather delays, postal services' abilities, family emergencies, etc., and even the best of intentions have gone awry. Each year, we try to tweak the process to hopefully improve the outcome for all participants. If you are interested or available to be a "stand-by" emergency ornament maker for those few cases that slip through the proverbial cracks, send us an email. It is always helpful to be able to count on the support of volunteers in a pinch, so that all families can enjoy their ornament in time for the holidays. 

What if I sign up, and then can’t complete my ornament on time or at all?
Please let your recipient & the Swap team know as soon as possible. (Seriously, we really mean it, we need to know, don’t be afraid to tell us.) You may be able to work something out with your recipient, which would be great. If you are really in a bind, we can try find someone to cover for you, so that your assigned family receives their ornament for the holidays (although we are unable to guarantee this). Time is of the essence, though! The sooner we know, the more likely it is that we can help. PLEASE do not wait until a week before Christmas to tell us something is wrong.

I signed up but didn’t get an assignment email, what happened?
Assignments are made within a couple days following the close of registration. It’s probably an email glitch if you sign up and then don’t get assigned an ornament to make. Remember when you register, you must make sure that rememberingswaps@gmail.com is saved in your email contacts; this way our reply/confirmation email is unlikely to end up in your spam filter. Please tell us right away if you don’t get an email from us with your swap assignment by Thursday, November 15th, 2018. Please don’t wait until the shipping deadline to let us know!

It sounds like I have to send you my private contact information. Is that safe?
We promise that we absolutely will not distribute your contact information to anyone other than the person assigned to make your ornament. We promise we will not sell your contact information to any business or individual. Your contact information will be deleted from the Swap Team’s records by December 31, 2018.

If you prefer not to give out your information over the internet, just email the Swap Team at rememberingswap@gmail.com. We will work out a way to collect your information directly.

The holidays are so busy—I feel like my head will explode if I add anything else to my To Do list! We understand how you feel. Making these ornaments is intended to be a meaningful activity to bring comfort and provide a framework for processing difficult feelings. But it may not be what you need right now. Our wish for you is that you find the comfort and support you need, whatever form that takes. For the sake of yourself and others, we encourage you not to "over-commit". If you think participating in the Swap will make things harder for you this holiday season, there is always next year's Swap!

What were those deadlines again?
Register by Sunday, November 11, 2017 at 6pm. Ship your ornament by Tuesday, December 4th, 2018.

*Please read the Golden Rules of the Swap and make sure you can agree to all of them before submitting your registration form(s). Thank you, and we look forward to your informed participation.