Join Our Seventh Annual Holiday Swap

November 10, 2017

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:

Shop the Story

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.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I hope Food52 compensates enbe with a substantial gift certificate to the shop, with free shipping. I know it may be tacky to ask but do you gift her with something special, if so what do you do? If not, I would like to send enbe a token package of my appreciation. This swap is really is one of the highlights of the site and imagine all the hard work and coordination that is involved. It's also a sweet memory of the beginning of the grassroots energy that established the "community" of this site. Noelle, thank you for continuing this tradition and look forward to participating this year! Thank you Food52 for allowing this community kindness to go on!”

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! 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 [email protected] 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. 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 [email protected].

Happy swapping, Noëlle/enbe

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • SophieL
  • Jr0717
  • Sandy
  • Maryann
  • enbe
I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.


SophieL December 19, 2017
Thank you for organizing this year's Food 52 Secret Swap!!! I received the most wonderfully generous box of goodies from a lovely lady in Kentucky (Bourbon country, as reflected in my treats). And I had so much fun putting together a box for my Swap-ee who lives in San Francisco.
Surely this whole project must take a lot of Noelle's time, so how does she do it and still go to graduate school?!?
How many people participated this year? How has this grown through the years?
Thanks, again, for doing this. I am already looking forward to next year's Food 52 Secret Swap!
Lindsay-Jean H. December 20, 2017
Hi Sophie - I can't speak to your first questions, for as for the others, we'll have a recap of this year's swap in early January with highlights. And to get a sense of how the Swap has grown over the years, here are highlights from last year's swap: and the year prior to that:
Jr0717 December 10, 2017
Is the tumblr active for this year's gifts, and/or are there any particular hashtags that can be used on Instagram?
Lindsay-Jean H. December 11, 2017
We're sticking with just Instagram this year for photo sharing, and the hashtag is: #f52holidayswap
Sandy December 6, 2017
Thanks not that's...
Sandy December 6, 2017
Received my goodies from my swap person, Rachel and sent mine to Sara. What fun. That's for doing this. Sandy
Maryann December 6, 2017
I have not received an email from my swapee - help!!!!
Please advise.

Thanks and regards,
enbe December 6, 2017
Maryann, I'm so sorry. Thanks for getting in touch. I've re-sent your giftee's name both to the email I have on file for you and through Food52's messenger. Please let me know if neither work.
Maryann December 22, 2017
Hi Noelle/enbe,

Silly me was tidying up my inbox and I accidentally deleted the address of the person I an dropping off the treats to (downtown in my city).

Could you please resend to my email? I don't think Food52 Messenger works for me (or I am so non-techie I can't figure it out).

Thanks so much!!!!!
SophieL December 6, 2017
I haven't received my swapee's name yet. Can you check that I got someone and that someone got me? I signed up around Nov 11 and have been looking forward to this. Thanks so much!
enbe December 6, 2017
Seems to have gotten lost on its way to you- sorry! Check your email and let me know you've received it this time!
SophieL December 6, 2017
Still nothing, no email from
I also noticed that even though I checked the box to receive emails when a new comment is made on this topic, I haven't been getting notifications.
enbe December 6, 2017
I just tried to send it again through Food52 messenger. Please let me know if that doesn't work.
SophieL December 6, 2017
Got it! It came through via Food52 messenger. Thanks so much. I am very excited to be participating.
enbe December 6, 2017
Excellent! Thanks for your patience.
enbe December 4, 2017
To everyone: all matches have been completed so if you haven't received an email from [email protected], email me there or send me a Food52 message so we can get your match sorted out.
Sandy December 4, 2017
Ok I did. Thank you Sandy
enbe December 4, 2017
Hi Sandy, I sent out your match a few days ago and just resent it from [email protected]. Check your spam folder and if you still haven't received it, let me know and I'll try another route.
Sandy December 3, 2017
I have still not received my Swapee's info yet.
Lindsay-Jean H. December 4, 2017
Hi Sandy, I'm sorry about that. Could you send an email to Noëlle at [email protected]? I know she was still trying to verify donation information for a few folks, so that might explain the delay.
seen December 1, 2017
I have not received my Swapee's info yet. Signed up way before the 24th and gave at the same time. Really looking forward to this. Thanks!
Lindsay-Jean H. December 1, 2017
Emails are still going out, you should get it today!
Miss_Karen November 28, 2017
I discovered this foodie swap on the last day to apply... (I was looking for gingersnap crust pumpkin pie recipes.) I decided to give myself something nice to look forward to since I've had such a rough year. I haven't received my Swapee's info yet. Did I miss something?
Jamie P. November 28, 2017
The article says we should receive our Swapee's info on December 1st. I know they are working on it because I received an email yesterday because I apparently left out my address. ooops!
strawberrygirl November 24, 2017
I'm trying to sign up but the donation site doesn't seem to be working. I've tried several cards and PayPal and it just declines everything.
Lindsay-Jean H. November 27, 2017
I'm so sorry strawberrygirl, we're looking into it!
strawberrygirl November 27, 2017
I tried again the next day and it worked, so it must have been a temporary technical glitch.
Lindsay-Jean H. November 28, 2017
Oh great, happy to hear that.
lewis_katie08 November 17, 2017
This is so exciting! What a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season.
Lindsay-Jean H. November 27, 2017
Anna H. November 15, 2017
Does the gift have to be actual food? Can it be food-related? (full disclosure: I make upcycled aprons from old curtains etc and would love to send something like that)
Lindsay-Jean H. November 16, 2017
Unless otherwise requested, each package should ideally include at least one homemade item—this is a cooking community after all—but mainly we just ask that you give thoughtfully (which a homemade apron certainly is!) and pack a box that you would be excited to open.
Jamie P. November 16, 2017
What a fantastic idea. The recipient of your package will be so lucky!
Janet November 17, 2017
I would love to see photos of your upcycled aprons...what a great idea! Do you sell them?
Christy L. November 15, 2017
I've never done a swap like this before! It's amazing how food can bring people together like this! Signing up now =D
Lindsay-Jean H. November 16, 2017
Hooray, welcome aboard!
SophieL November 15, 2017
What a wonderful idea! I've been a Food52 fan for years and didn't know about this swap until now. So looking forward to participating, especially meeting other Food52-ers!
Lindsay-Jean H. November 16, 2017
So happy you discovered it this year!
Jamie P. November 15, 2017
What a fantastic idea! I've never seen this before. All signed up and ready to go!
Lindsay-Jean H. November 16, 2017
Sweet, thanks for signing up!
TerryKes November 15, 2017
I've been a fan and fellow Food52'er for years and I don't recall ever hearing about this before! I'm signed up and excited to 'meet' other Food52'ers. Also, thank you for participating (and having US participate) with No Kid Hungry organization. It felt good to contribute to such a worthy cause. Feliz Navidad!
Lindsay-Jean H. November 15, 2017
Thank you for joining in the fun!
Emma N. November 14, 2017 did I miss out on this last year?! Absolutely adore this idea and can't wait to participate!
Lindsay-Jean H. November 15, 2017
Hooray, glad to have you on board!
Helen B. November 10, 2017
Sounds awesome. Is there a recommended amount/range to spend? Are people in the US paired together, people in Europe paired together, etc? Thanks.
Lindsay-Jean H. November 10, 2017
Hi Helen, when you get the email with your swapee's name and address there will be more information on what to include and suggested amount to spend, that said, we recommend that packages should have a value of at least $25 including home cooking, which of course is priceless. If you are in the US, you'll be paired with someone in the US, if you are international and sign up, you're committing to sending anywhere, either in your home country or elsewhere in the world (Noëlle will attempt to match people in the same country together, but that can't be guaranteed).