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3 Way Creative Advent Swap

December 27, 2018

2 way creative swaps are relatively straight forward and lots of fun, but 3 way swaps aren’t always the easiest things to get your head around.

First you have to come up with a swap that all 3 people are eager to get on board with and all 3 people have to trust each other to complete the swap in such a way that equal amounts of effort and planning are applied, so it’s something that is best to get into with established swap partners rather than strangers.

My friends and I have been talking about coming up with a 3 way swap for over a year. Then in September(ish) when I had all but forgotten that it was something we had thought about, Anna suggested that with Christmas coming up, we do a grown up creative Advent swap!

The way it would work is that each of us would come up with 24 small advent gifts, 12 for each of the other people and each of us would be assigned even and odd numbers for the other two.


Participants: Sarah, Anna, Bel

Sarah sends to Anna (even numbers) and Bel (odd numbers)

Anna sends to Bel (even numbers) and Sarah (odd numbers)

Bel sends to Sarah (even numbers) and Anna (odd numbers)


We were all very keen to dive in, but as with all swaps we had to come to an agreement about the “rules” before getting started. After a breif discussion we decided that :

  1. Each gift had to be “hangable” so that we could string them up for display.
  2. 24 handmade gifts with only a couple of months prep time right before Christmas could be biting off way more than we could chew, so we agreed on a mixture of handmade and purchased gifts.
  3. Budget was up to each individual, but we were all in agreement to not go crazy.
  4. These would be our christmas presents to eachother
  5. Had to be posted in time to arrive by the 1st of December.

Everything else was a free for all. I was especially excited to see what my two partners would come up with in terms of the contents and how each completed advent calendar would look as we each have different creative strengths.

crafty advent 4

The photo above is of all the different things that I came up with to give as gifts. Some of the gifts are identical and some are different versions of similar things, that way I only had to come up with 12 ideas, but I customized certain pairings to my individual partners.

There are actually 13 pairs shown in the photo, I decided to drop the lacy washi in the end.

I made voodoo doll coin purse keychains, bracelets, necklaces, pierogi Christmas ornaments, and wine glass charms. The other items I purchased based on the mutual likes of my partners as well as our shared sense of humor.

The photo below is how they all looked by the time I wrapped everything. I’m terrible at wrapping and making things look coordinated, it’s really not my strong suit, but I tried to make them look as festive as I could. I think I must have had “brown paper packages tied up with string” on the brain cause I used a lot of Kraft paper type wrappings as well as twine. I actually had some burlap I wanted to use as well but I forgot all about it!

Some items were sewn into felt as a little experiment as well. I loved how it looked in the felt, but was very time consuming.

The tags were cut into shape and I had a set of Advent stickers that I used for the numbers, which worked extremely well, but I didn’t anticipate how time consuming they would be to color in!

crafty advent 3

So everything got posted at the end of November and a few days later we each had our two packages of individually wrapped advent parcels to display.

Below is a photo of what my completed advent calendar looked like all hung up with all of the parcels from Bel and Anna.

Anna packaged her parcels using a mixture of Halloween and festive themes. She hand made boxes with card and integrated fabric textures as well as botanical accents from her garden, like pinecones, lavender sprigs and various leaves.

Bel packaged her parcels in paper craft bags which were decorated with a selection of festive ribbons and fluffy bits of string. Each bag had an accompanying envelope which was also decorated, and inside each envelope was a little card that contained a festive sticker, a christmas cracker joke and a written suggestion for festive family activity.

crafty advent 6

The next photo was provided by Bel of her completed calendar with parcels from Anna and myself.

crafty advent 2

The last photo is from Anna of her completed calendar with the parcels from Bel and myself.

crafty advent 1

This experiment was an absolutely huge success.

It was lovely waking up every day from December 1st to the 24th to a custom advent gift and we each really enjoyed the experience so much that we’ve already starting plotting a 3 way advent swap for 2019!

The creative possibilities for both packaging and contents are truly endless for this sort of happy mail, and I can’t wait to see now what we come up with for next year!

Anna Instagram

Bel Instagram

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