I'd like to start thinking about plans for 2014. As many of you know, this group has been a lot of fun for some people, but pretty upsetting for others. LOTS of people sign up and then drop out before sending many (if any) surprises to the people on their list. Other people send and send and then then get real upset when they don't get anything back.
I wanted to ask for thoughts on how to move forward... Obviously, none of us can control the actions of others. After 2 years of frustration and 3 very frustrated group leaders, I think I can confidently say that you are not going to get everyone (maybe even most) who signs up to participate. Keeping that in mind, I would appreciate it if you would let me know your answers to the following questions:
Would you like to participate in *some* type of birthday-related group next year?
Is QCA groups still our preferred venue for this type of thing? Would we like to see any additional information on facebook and/or snickerdoodle or somewhere else? We could have multiple locations if that's most helpful.
Have you been thinking to yourself that this would work SO much better if only XYZ were different? If so, now's your chance - What would you like to see done differently next year to make the group more fun for everyone involved?
PRETTY PLEASE WITH CHERRIES ON TOP - If your responses to any of these start with "If everyone would just....", then you might want to re-think the feasibility of your proposal. We all can imagine what the world would be like if everyone were considerate and if everyone had good manners and if everyone kept their promises and held up their end of the bargains they make. Unfortunately, this is "teh interwebz" and that's not the world we live in. People flake out. People dissappear. Some of us know each other very well and are like old friends, but you can't say that about everyone who will stumble onto this group on the internet.
Knowing what we all know now, is this something we want to continue in 2014? What can we change to make it a better, more successful experience? If it's been miserable for everyone and we just want to shut it down, that's fine too. I want to lead the group in whatever way makes the most people happy, so please share your thoughts with me.
I will go ahead and start with my proposal:
I very much enjoy sending to people throughout the year and I also liked learning a little about the girls in my group by reading their wishlists at the beginning of the year. I would like to propose the following:
At the beginning of the year, everyone could write a small bio about themselves. Not a wishlist of things they want. Just information about yourself. What your interests are, etc. I would maintain a private database with everyone's bios and everyone's address and we could share that privately with everyone in the group. When birthdays are coming up, I would send out periodic reminders (maybe once a week or once a month) and I would post that person's bio on the forum to remind us all to be thinking about whatever special lady has a birthday coming up and we could send (or not send) cards as much or as little as we wanted to. If nothing more, it would be a place for us all to say "Happy Birthday" (even if only on the forum).. And for those who wanted to do a little extra, you could send a card (just a card) to anyone you wanted to.
It's entirely possible that you might send out 20 cards and only get 1 back, but maybe that will be less hurtful to those with sensitive feelings since it's just a card?
As I am in the midst of a swap, I am aware that people see this differently! Thank you for letting me join.
Carolyn, I enjoyed this years swap and sent to everyone in my group (except the late December birthday which I plan on sending soon). I received very nice gifts and hope everyone liked theirs that I sent. I do not have any solution to the problems but your suggestion sounds great. If things in a persons life changes and they do not have the time or the money to continue sending gifts then they do not have to feel bad if they don't. Thanks for listening.
FIrst of all, thank you for all you've done in 2013 to keep everyone straight! LOL! I do like your ideas! You are right, the real world we live in is not perfect, and there will be situations where things don't turn out as expected. I, myself love to give, and don't try to expect anything in return, so sending birthday wishes to the masses in my own way, would be fine with me. Everyone loves a little attention on their birthday!
And by the way, I would love to see Mailbox surprises on Facebook, too, it's a lot easier to get to! LOL!
I love this group. Shoot, I csme up with the idea. And, it is a great idea. I would love to remain a member. I send the motion of adding a companion group on Facebook. But there are those who do not do Facebook. I think keeping the group here open also is needed. Thanks for keeping this up.
I love this group. Shoot, I csme up with the idea. And, it is a great idea. I would love to remain a member. I second the motion of adding a companion group on Facebook. But there are those who do not do Facebook. I think keeping the group here open also is needed. Thanks for keeping this up.., Carol.
I've been giving this a lot of thought. Do I want to be in this group again next year? This is my 2nd year and oh boy, has it had some bumps along the way! Last year someone dropped out and we weren't informed, so when I sent her a goody for her birthday and emailed back, asking if I'd like her to send it back....and I said, yes, thank you--that would be appreciated (I'd put a lot of work into it) Well, that would have been fine, except then someone else told her "NO! Don't send it back" and ouch, confusion and bad feelings all the way around. I did not appreciate someone else getting involved in what was between the two of us, and speaking for me. She did, btw, send it back and I sent it on to the next birthday person on the list. But really. A lot of fuss and bother! Sigh. I am of the opinion that the nature of a "swap" is that there is an exchange between the participants. Honor, integrity, keeping one's promises---those are all a given, right? I thought that person was being honorable by returning the swap item, when she had no intention of responding in kind. I respected her for that and told her so.
Fast forward to this year. I still made items, but didn't put quite as much time and effort into them. Please understand--I DO have fun making and sending goodies!!! I have lots of cute patterns and the Mailbox Surprise group has been an inspiration to me to actually USE them! But honestly, it is fun to receive goodies as well. We all know that. Having an end of the year birthday, I found that many of the people in the group have faded away by the time it is my turn. This year, Mimi, Sukochi and Carolyn came thru and it was lovely!But what happened to the other two members of group 3? Candace Weiss and Thea Foster? I see Thea posting all the time at QCA, so I kind of expected her to follow thru. :-( It is sad to be forgotten.....and it is sad when people don't keep their committments.
SO next year? No. I don't think so. The fun of making goodies, sending them and getting a sweet reaction from the people I sent them to is all well and good but then to be ignored when it is my turn...welll....guess I'm one of those "sensitive" people, because it does hurt my feelings.
That's just my input.....this group is a good idea in theory but.......
Yvonne, I am sorry that this has happened to you and that I am one of the people at fault for not sending you a gift this year. I have not posted a lot on QCA this year and have tapered off my participation here due to my health - as you say I have posted and if you have read my posts they tell of what has been happening with me this year.
With all that being said, I am at fault here and did not get my gifts out this year. I had good intentions to send the packages and had bought and made gifts for each of the people on my list. The gifts were in a drawer in my craft corner in my living room until 2 days ago when they got packed in a box - there are pictures of the items I made on QCA so they are made and as soon as I can get into that box I will make sure without fail that your gift gets in the mail.
I have been in very bad health this entire year. I had 4 surgeries this year but am still trying to carry on and I should have dropped out of this group last year. I do aplogize to all who were waiting for a special Thea gift this year. I did have good intentions that due to everything that has been happening to me just flew out the window - so please forgive me.
At the moment, I am relegated to my chair. I have been trying to help my DH get this house ready to sell so that I can move closer to my son and grand children so that I can get the help that I need to exist day by day. I have gritted my teeth and painted walls - packed boxes and moved things - unmoved things - re moved things... to make life able to continue in a semi normal way. Because of this and having packed up that back room so that he could paint the ceiling I had boxes stacked in the hallway... the Mailbox gifts that have been ready all year are in those boxes... my fur babies knocked them all down yesterday morning and to get out of my bedroom I had to repack some of them as I hadn't permanently closed them - and lifting the 30+ lbs that some of them weigh did a really bad tweak to my back - then I had to drive to get my Mom's prescriptions and it did my back in for a few days...
I try to take care of my elderly Mom who is the meanest person on this earth but I try to do it with a smile on my face.
All of these are excuses but also are my life right now. I truly thank you for the mailbox gift that you sent me - you are 1 of 2 that sent me a gift this year and I didn't expect anything as I had said many times that I was having difficulties this year like last but I do come through in the end... I am truly sorry that this has been hard for you but know that I will as soon as physically able get your gift out of those boxes and get it in a postal box and to the post office and sent to you.
because I am having so many physical and family issues, I will not be staying in this group next year. the first year I sent to everyone in the group and rec'd less then half back - but that was okay - I rec'd a gift and that was awesome as no one in my family gives me gifts. They always remember their days but always forget when mine comes around until this year and they sent me flowers... I was surprised to say the least.
This year, I haven't sent a thing out and rec'd from 2 people. I was put into 2 groups and feel horrible about this - I didn't ask for 2 groups but when people dropped out at the beginning kristen asked me as she thought I would come through for her. Shame on me for not being able to do this for her - she and I both had the best of intentions. I will though it may take me a little more time but all on the lists that I have whether they sent me anything or not will get a gift from me as I did have really good intentions and feel horrible that my life dared to try and stop me from doing this.
It may take me a little while though as today I am screaming in pain! Each movement is excruciating today! I am truly sorry!
Ladies, such is life. No hard feelings. We joined this group to make birthdays special. When I created this it was with the intention of sending a card to wish the reciepant a happy birthday. This is not a swap! If u send a gift, and it comes from the heart, u are not doing it to get someyhing in return. Let all this bitterness go. We can only do what we can do. Be gracious in all u do. Don't participate if it is to "GET". Join only if it is to remember someone on their special day. It is as simple as that. God says if yuo can not forgive others, why should I forgive you? Let's live that. So, happy day, oh, happy day.
Not bitter....just disappointed sometimes. I am careful what I promise to do. Hate letting people down! But I do think a "swap" is an exchange....
Yvonne, I wanted to thank you for sharing your thoughts and for your honesty. Based on the feedback I've received both privately and publicly, I *know* you are not alone in feeling that way.
Basically, I think that this group has tried to function as a swap for 2 years now and I think it's fair to say that it has failed each time (based on the number of people who feel let down by it). I don't want to lead a birthday swap next year because I'm quite certain that it will fail again and I don't want to be responsible for all the people who get let down on their birthday (and folks, it is a LOT).
However, this group is not about me. I think of myself as more of a coordinator for all of us than an "owner". So, based on that, I think I need to ask for thoughts and opinions and consider what everyone wants to do instead of just making decisions on my own about how to handle.
My proposal with the cards was really just a way to try and provide an example of some kind of compromise - it's not shutting down the group entirely, but it's a major change. I don't know if it would actually work at preventing all the hurt feelings or not. I have no idea. I kind of worry that some people really would send out cards to everyone on the list and get, like 1 card back and be hurt by that. I really don't know what the right answer is, so I very much appreciate everyone's feedback and honesty.
Thea... I don't know what to say. Wouldn't it have been easier to just mail the packages than to pack them up in a box, move them, and then mail them? Just a thought.
Also, I know of at least 2 people who told me they sent to you and I also sent to you, so you should have received at least 3. I never heard a 'thank you' or even a note that you received what I sent. I assumed you just had a lot going on and were too busy to post (even though you were posting about other stuff). But now I'm a little concerned... Did you get the stuff I sent you on your birthday? It was fat quarters and an applique pattern, a notepad, some quilt-themed bookmarks and a tape measure.
Thanks, Carolyn. It's nice to be understood and not be thought of as a greedy gus!
I must have been one of the 2 who sent to Thea....since I was 100% on my mailings for the group. :-)