NEW: Garden Circle Exchange Ring - 2007
This take off of a secret pal exchange will be named the "Garden Circle Exchange Ring - 2007." It is not intended to be necessarily "totally secret," just a way to brighten people's day and have fun. This will be for a full year January - December 2007 and you will need to send something to your assigned buddy every month by the 15th or you will be dropped. It was a strict rule, but resulted in a lot of success this year.
Here is the plan: After reading the guidelines and rules below send me a private e-mail with your name, e-mail address, and garden web ID with "Garden Circle Exchange Ring 2007" in the subject line. (Please make sure to include all this info in the first email so I don't get too confused.) I would like to get everyone's complete information by December 1 so I can match names before the end of the year. There will be a follow up e-mail sent to you asking for a little more information for your Garden buddy or just to let you know whether you will be in the group or if it has been filled. (Send the info to my private e-mail, and you can also post to this thread at the same time so others will see who our group will be for next year.) There will definitely not be more than 30 in the group. 2006 participants will receive "priority" ahead of new 2007 participants as long as they sign up by the December 1 cut-off date. I will e-mail each person in the group with the name and address and other information of one person they will send to next year by mid-December. You will not send a gift to the same person that you are receiving from.
Rules of the game: In order to head off some of the problems I have seen with other "pals" programs I will also use the following guidelines (these may seem a little strict, so if you don't want to follow them, just sign up for a different group). OK, so I will arrange the names in a circle (hence the name of the group), with name number 1 giving to name number 2, 2 giving to 3, 3 giving to 4 and so forth. You must send a gift or card (note or letter) between the 1st and 15th of each month. If your pal does not receive the gift or card by the 25th of the month, the person who did not receive any package or card can e-mail me by the end of the month and let me know. If that happens the person who did not send the gift will be dropped from the circle. For example if #2 doesn't send a gift and gets dropped from the circle, then I will contact #1 and have them send their next gift to #3. This DOES mean that it is your responsibility to check your e-mail before you send a gift so you can make sure that you aren't sending it to a person who was dropped. In order for this to work you must keep your e-mail unblocked so I can notify you of address changes or whatnot. If I cannot reach you by e-mail, you will be dropped. Also, you must post a thank you on our thread when you get a package because people will want to make sure you got the gift, besides it is so much more fun that way to hear what everyone is sending. If you would like to get delivery confirmation that is up to you. You can use your own return address or ask a friend if it is okay to use theirs if you want to remain secret. You do not need to remain anonymous to the person you are sending things to.
Also, everything you send HAS TO BE GARDEN RELATED (this could be a card with flowers on it, plants, seeds, gloves, tools, books, magazines, flower pots, bulbs, stationary with flowers, etc.).
This will be a 12 month exchange ring, beginning in January and going through December of 2007. You do not have to send an expensive package every month. You can certainly send just a note or a card some months, a few small gifts in a padded envelope some months, and a larger package with all kinds of exciting garden things every so often. I think it's important to realize that the commitment to send every month is what is more important than the amount you spend. If you have plants from your garden that you can share, those are just fine to send to your circle pal sometimes, too. You will receive your pals name by mid-December, so it's your choice whether you want to send an early card or gift--this is not required as the Exchange Circle officially starts in January.
I don't mean for these rules to be harsh, I don't think there should be any bad feelings if a person has to drop out, but you must let me know --- people do get sick, or have babies, or move or whatever. It isn't a punishment to be dropped, it is just a way to keep the circle going smoothly--but there will be no exceptions to the rule, and that way everyone is treated equally, and no one gets overly disappointed. There is a small chance that someone will be dropped because their package got lost or something similar--again with the no exceptions rule, you will just have to accept that risk before you commit to joining this ring. Those things can happen. Just keep it in perspective from the beginning and realize that as a human being, the coordinator will only be able to deal with all of this by following the rules. I don't have any way of knowing what happened to someone's card or package after it gets mailed.
Whenever you e-mail me, please always use the subject line "Garden Circle Exchange Ring - 2007".
OK, so I think that about covers everything. I hope this will work for everyone who is interested.
And I want to say thanks to previous years' hosts Yaya and Sandlapper for setting up this circle, the rules, and letting me plagarize last years post. :-)