As many parents would agree, as a child grows, so too does the household’s “kid clutter.” That’s why a group of moms, who shared the joys of having babies last year, have decided to organize a secret “Birthday Book Exchange” on Elfster to celebrate the milestone of their babies’ first birthdays. Not only does this help control the inevitable clutter, but instills a lifelong love of reading as they happily expand their little ones’ libraries.
“Our group stemmed from the forum boards at whattoexpect.com,” explained exchange organizer Heather Pressley. “We were all pregnant and due in March 2013. One of the moms-to-be decided to make a private Facebook group so we could get to know each other better and provide support to each other in an easier to navigate forum. Our group currently has about 400 members.”
“We shared in the pregnancy symptoms together, we congratulated each other when our babies were born, kept each other company when our spouses were asleep and we were up for the 5th time that night with newborns,” Heather reflected. “Now we are sharing ideas and photos for first birthday parties (and some are even celebrating the fact that our March babies are going to be big brothers or big sisters this coming year!)”
Heather had heard about Elfster through one of the other March moms, who had participated in a Christmas gift exchange within the group, so she then decided to create a Christmas ornament exchange for the little ones. There were a dozen or so moms who participated, and it was a great success! “I was pretty much hooked after that and wanted to plan other exchanges,” she said. “The next logical exchange was birthday presents.”
“As a former teacher, turned stay-at-home mom (who has a living room full of toys) I thought about doing a book exchange,” Heather said. “I posted in the Facebook group to see who was interested and almost 40 moms signed up [on Elfster].”
Heather explained that a lot of the moms are regulars on the forum board, so many of the moms have gotten to know a little bit about each other of the past 18 months. By joining the “Birthday Book Exchange,” the moms have been able to get to know each other and their children a little better by asking and answering anonymous questions as they create and share book wishlists for their babies. Each mom can suggest books by their favorite children’s authors or express their preference for board books, fabric books or regular books for their little one.
As the organizer of the exchange, Heather said her favorite part is watching how excited everyone gets and knowing she had a part of it. “And of course receiving the gift and finding out who my secret mom was!” she explained. “I love that it can be anonymous! Which is obviously more fun than knowing who has you.”
“One feature that I just found out about that I really enjoy is that I can secretly pair up moms or make sure moms don’t get each other,” she said. “It is great I can do this secretively so that no one knows about it and there aren’t hurt feelings. We have some moms from Canada in our exchange this time, and some moms who can’t afford to ship there, so I was able to make sure they didn’t get each other.”
And Heather has come up with other creative ways to use Elfster to keep the toddlers of the group busy! “I think the next [exchange] I am going to do will be a homemade gift exchange,” she stated. “I was thinking of maybe something summer-related that our little ones can play with outside. Or maybe busy bags with activities they can play with on a rainy day. I want to do this one a little bit different and have each mom make multiples of the same item, ship to me, then I will give each mom/toddler one of each item. So instead of just one gift, each person will receive 5 or more depending on how many moms participate.” Happy Birthday to all the babies, and we are looking forward to seeing the next exchange for the March Moms group.
Elfster would love to hear how your group is using the site, too. You can visit us on Facebook here or tweet us @elfster.