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A gift exchange to brighten someone’s day

A gift from a stranger doesn’t have to be strange.

Through a local event coming up next month, citizens in Lloydminster will be offering a gift anonymously to a fellow participant in the city’s first ever “Mug Swap,” to be held at the Root Community Emporium.

A local resident is organizing the free and easy-to-do community event, wherein participants will exchange cups with other people from Lloydminster and area, tailored to their interests. Essentially, people simply sign up to exchange mugs with a stranger as an easy way to spread happiness, according to organizer, Amy Roper.

Roper says she first took part in one last year, done internationally, and primarily over social media. Many of her friends were interested, but found the cost of shipping made the exchange less appealing.

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“So I thought I’d put on a local event, alleviate the costs and even if they want to use a mug from their own collection, if it’s in great shape, then they can just give that way, and be a part of the event. So it’s just making something local and fun for us to do that doesn’t really have any other purpose than to brighten everyone’s day.”

Although the swapping won’t happen until mid-September, with drop offs from September 14 to 17 and pickups the following week: September 20 to 24, registration is on right now.

“The actual registration is going on right now and then after that, I will email everyone their recipients that they will buy their mugs for, and then in mid-September I’ll send out an email to everyone of dates. They will drop off their gift to the Root, and then the following week they can pick up their own.”

Participants will receive a brief description of the tastes and likes of the person they’re giving to so they can tailor their gift appropriately. Rather than an exchange, where pairs give to one another, the swap works more like a “Secret Santa” sort of chain. Roper says that some people even fill the mugs with other little goodies like small candles, chocolates, or tea bags.

Oftentimes, these sorts of exchanges are done for charity and part of the registration is just a small donation. Roper explained that the one she participated in worked that way and she says if the numbers are good this year, then next year she’d consider making it a charity event, possibly for the SPCA.

Roper’s inspiration came from social media and she hopes to garner some awareness of her event that way as well.

“We have a hashtag going on, #LloydMugSwap2016, and then people can post what they’re giving, what they’ve received, and just kind of see what other people have had for inspiration, and how it went.”

Today is the deadline to register. There is no fee to sign-up or at all associated with the event, aside from if a participant chooses to purchase the mug they’re giving. To register email [email protected] with your name, email, and a short description about yourself (hobbies, favourite colours, words that describe your style, and what kinds of drinks you will have in your mug.

Roper says she hoped for 50 participants for this first go round, and was already at 40 people signed up last week.

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