Community is extremely important to us, and something that we work hard at nurturing. We’re also continuously touched by the thoughtful actions you all take on a regular basis to build that sense of community: encouraging comments on laugh-inducing recipes; helping a fellow Cookbook Club member rebuild her cookbook collection after losing her home to the California fires; the generous act of creating and organizing our community-wide Holiday Swap.

That last act, as many of you know, refers to Food52-er Noëlle (a.k.a. enbe), who started our Holiday Swap six years ago with a simple post on the Hotline, calling for interested participants to join in a holiday food exchange. We’re incredibly grateful that she has continued to work with us on it every year since. It's no small task, given its growth (the first Swap had around 100 participants—last year it swelled to over 600, around the world) and the fact that she’s a full-time PhD student.

This is the seventh-annual event, and whether you’ve participated every year or have never heard of the Holiday Swap before, we encourage you to sign up—everyone is welcome! Food is what brings us all together, and this is a fun way to share homemade treats, recipes, and traditions with other members of the Food52 community. You'll get all of that back in return—and make memories and new connections to boot.


For now, here’s a little bit more from Noëlle about the Swap and a step-by-step guide to participating:

In the midst of menu planning for the Thanksgiving I’m hosting, I’m getting giddy looking forward to my favorite holiday event, the Food52 Holiday Swap.

If you're new to this special tradition, it's like a non-denominational Secret Santa for food lovers, where Food52 users from all over the world send packages—filled with cookies, breads, preserves, candies, local treats…you name it!—to a fellow Food52-er. It's our way of spreading some holiday cheer to other people in this wonderful community. (You can see some of these warm, fun, and truly wonderful packages of holiday joy on Instagram.)

Pack it up, pack it in, let holiday cheer begin!
Pack it up, pack it in, let holiday cheer begin! Photo by James Ransom

How to participate in the holiday swap

1) Submit your information to this form by Friday, November 24th. (You'll need to sign up for a Food52 account first if you don't already have one.) Spread the word and convince your favorite Food52-ers to join up as well.

2) Right after that, contribute a donation of at least $5 (or more!) to No Kid Hungry, using this link. We've found a modest donation encourages everyone to participate. Food52 will be matching the community's donations once again, so we'll double our impact!

3) Receive an email with your Swapee's name and address by Friday, December 1. Make sure to add f52secretswap@gmail.com to your address book so the email doesn't get sent to your spam folder. (And note that despite the fact that we call it a "swap," you'll likely be sending to and receiving from different folks—that way you to get to interact with two Food52-ers instead of one!)

4) The best part: Prepare a holiday package for your Swapee! Think of all the possibilities! Homemade is ideal (you like to cook, right?), but really, the goal is to send someone a little bit of holiday joy in whatever way you know how. Maybe your Swapee's profile will give you some clues about what their favorite treats are, or maybe you know your passion fruit preserves will knock their socks off. Be creative: Keep in mind that some items will survive shipping better than others, so package them well. (And don't worry—we'll have more tips for you on packing and shipping when sign-ups close.)

5) Drop your package in the mail by Wednesday, December 13th and wait impatiently patiently.

6) Get a package in the mail from your Secret Swapper and open with glee! Take pictures before you dig in and share them on Instagram—tag them with #f52holidayswap.

7) Thank your Swapper by snail mail, email, skywriting, or your preferred method of communication. (We can't emphasize enough how important this step is, so please don't forget—it's essential!)

For extra (crafty) credit, make your own scratch-off thank you cards.
For extra (crafty) credit, make your own scratch-off thank you cards. Photo by James Ransom

By signing up for this swap, you are promising to send a gift. Don't leave a fellow Food52-er hanging! (We will find out, and unfortunately, you will be banned from future swaps.)

Food52-ers outside the U.S.—you’re welcome, too! Note, though, that if you are international and sign up, you're committing to sending anywhere, either in your home country or elsewhere in the world.

Have any questions? Ask them in the comments, or email me at f52secretswap@gmail.com.

Happy swapping, Noëlle/enbe