For 2011, the MTGSalvation Holiday Magic Card Exchange returns for its fifth year! Each year has been bigger and better than the last, and I expect this year to be no different. The last four exchanges can be found here: 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
What exactly is going on here? Let me explain! (If you've done this before, skip down to the bottom and read the cliff notes for important changes.)
How the exchange works
The premise is simple. First, MTGSalvation members from all over the world send me personally altered cards. Then, as Christmas approaches, I randomly send their cards to someone else who participated. It's a fun gift exchange that's always a blast.
What do I mean by personally altered? Does that you mean you have to be as good as the people over in the official altered art thread? Not at all! What's important is that you personalize your cards. For example, here are just a handful of cards done over the past few years:
As you can see, there is a lot of variation in what people choose to do. Featured is wide range of artistic talent, from doodles to full-blown alters. Just make it fun. In general, if you wouldn't be happy with receiving it from somebody else, you should alter it until you would be.
How to Participate
Participating is easy! Just send me a PM with your address, and I'll send you mine back. All you have to do after that is send me your cards along with a self-addressed and stamped envelope with my address as the return address. After that, just relax and wait for your return package to make its merry way to you. It's that simple!
All participants must have their cards to me by December 15th. They will be redistributed and sent off over the weekend, and hopefully everybody will have theirs by December 25th. Please remember to budget enough time for your cards to arrive. For reference, I live in Washington state, USA.
Brand new accounts are excluded to avoid gaming the system. If you try and game the system to get more presents, I will catch you. Please don't do it. It will just result in a sad face for both of us.
This event is not sponsored or endorsed by Wizards of the Coast in any way. It is purely something done for fun by people who love Magic, and is not for for any financial gain or otherwise.
Tips and Checklist
Over the past three years, I've seen a lot of cards come through. Here are some recommendations to help make the holiday exchange fun for everybody!
Try and modify cool cards. They don't necessarily have to be rares, but it's great when somebody can play the cards they receive in a deck and then tell the story of how they received them!
Stumped for cards to alter? Try sending cards related to your name, avatar, or signature! That way there's a connection between MTGSalvation and the card's you're altering.
What you receive is random and a gift from someone else to you. Regardless of how you feel about the quality of cards you received, please be grateful. After all, it's a gift!
Part of the fun is ripping open the package when it finally arrives to see what you received. Try not to post the alters you did ahead of time - though vague hints can be fun.
Sending items such as letters, notes, or pictures along with your cards to the other person is not only allowed, but encouraged!
You might want to take a picture of your cards before you send them so that you can still show them off if the recipient has no way to upload an image.
You may submit as few or as many cards as you would like. Take your time and make some great alters!
New Stuff for This Year (READ THIS!!!)
Things are going to go down a little differently this year than in years previous. No, none of the actual exchange-y goodness is going to be changed. The end goal will hopefully be the same. But there are a few procedural changes.
In the past I've laid down rules, and when people have broken them I've waived them off and picked up the slack myself in the holiday spirit. The largest example is that many people forget to send a self-addressed and stamped envelope with their package. (Last year around 1/3 of the participants didn't send one.)
Things have changed for me a little bit this year. I'm no longer a student with tons of free time, and now I have a 40+ hour a week job. I unfortunately don't have the time to tie up loose ends this time around. I want to add in a few extra bits of information and reminders that will help this all go off smoothly. Please pay close attention so there aren't any problems.
1. You absolutely must, must, must include a self-addressed and stamped envelope with my return address written on it. If you do not include one, I cannot promise you that you will receive any cards back.
2. In the past, a couple of people have sent extra large/heavy items. This is great, and often these items are very cool! However, if you're going to do this, please include an extra envelope that is the appropriate size and/or has the right amount of postage on it.
3. If you are an international participant, please tell me in your PM so we can discuss how international shipping will work out best in your case.
4. Unlike past years, I'm often too busy to check my PM's and respond every day. To expedite this whole process, if you've participated in either the 2009 or 2010 exchange you don't need to PM me first. My address is still the same as the past two years, so you can just go ahead and send me cards. Exception: International members, please contact me directly so we can talk over shipping.
5. Along with your cards, please include a slip of paper with your MTGSalvation username. Every year I have had to go on crazy quests to figure out who sent me any given set of cards, and I'm hoping this will prevent that from happening again. Having your address is one layer of protection against this, and I'm hoping this will be a useful enough second layer. Additionally, this helps me identify people who have participated in past years who didn't need to PM me for my address this year.
Send me a PM with your address
Refresh your inbox over and over until I reply with my address (Skip steps 1 and 2 if you live in the USA and participated in 2009 or 2010.)
Write your MTGSalvation username on a slip of paper.
Send me your cards, your MTGSalvation username, and a self-addressed stamped envelope, with my address as the return address, inside another envelope. Don't forget any of those steps!
Time travel to later in December and check your mail. Enjoy your gift!
I'm looking forward to receiving your cards! Every year for the past four years this had made the holiday season incredibly special, and I can't wait to seeing what you all come up with again this year! Have fun!
I'm definitely in this time around! My last one was in 2008, with a thrumming stone and a bunch of good commons. However, I do have a small request...
Just want a slight delay on the delivery back to my place. Would much appreciate it if it were to arrive in January instead due to my absence from the country in December...and my landlord's "dump the mail" marathon she goes through.
This year I will need to find another sharpie.
Edit: Got the cards to send! I have an interesting set this time.
Sheoldred, Bagel Eating One
And some random stuff
My cards are finished and will be mailed with all possible dispatch. I can provide pictures if the recipient passes out in horror and cannot be revived with spirits of ammonia to take a photo. I believe whomever got my cards last year is spending the remainder of his life in a facility dedicated to round-the-clock psychiatric care.
I'm working on six myself (does it count as eight if I'm doing two DFC's?). Pretty happy with how one of my DFC's is turning out so far.
As long as you would be happy receiving what you're giving, you're probably fine. Just don't sharpie a Brimstone Volley with a smiley face and expect the other guy to feel great about it. Doesn't really matter though, it's all in the spirit of giving and whatnot.