Mark Your Calendars: The Food52 Holiday Swap Is Here

Sign up now to give gifts, get gifts, and give back.

November  5, 2018

From the very beginning, Food52 has been a place to connect with people who love food. It’s where we talk about cooking tips and techniques and tools, a place to share triumphs and not-yet-successes, over-the-top showstoppers and humble heirlooms. The result? A collaborative, creative community that challenges how we approach the kitchen, and how we find joy in every nook and cranny of the home.

And, today, we’re excited to kick off one of our very favorite community efforts: The Food52 Holiday Swap.

What’s the Holiday Swap, you ask? Think of it like a non-denominational Secret Santa that’s especially for food lovers. Eight years ago, F52er Noëlle (aka, enbe) started our Swap with a post on the Hotline, calling for holiday cheer with a simple food exchange. We’re incredibly grateful that Noëlle continues to work with us every year since. (It's no small task—last year's Swap had more than 600 participants from around the world!)

Every year, F52ers do a great job, not only in giving gifts (check out #f52holidayswap on Instagram and our account here), but also in giving back: All participants donate $5 (or more) to Food52's annual charity partner. This year, we're supporting Action Against Hunger, a global, non-profit humanitarian organization that takes decisive action against the causes and effects of hunger, saving the lives of malnourished children, and working to ensure everyone can access clean water, food, training, and healthcare.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I'm so excited to participate in this fabulous food52 foodie-swap! Last year was my first time and I loved, loved, loved giving and receiving the most amazing goodies. Just last week I was wondering if this foodie-swap would continue this year, and my anticipation was answered. So-o-o glad! I can hardly wait to get my swapee's name, and I'm already planning for it. Thanks, Food52!”
— SophieL

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 together, and this is a fun way to share homemade goodies, 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.

Interested in joining? Read on for a a step-by-step guide from Noëlle.

How To Participate In The Holiday Swap

Who doesn't love surprise packages, especially around the holidays and especially from fellow members of our lovely Food52 community? Here, back for its eighth year, is the Holiday Swap—and sign-up time is upon us!

1) Submit your information to this form by Monday, Nov. 19. (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 F52ers to join up as well.

2) Right after that, contribute a donation of at least $5 to Action Against Hunger, using this link. We've found a modest donation encourages everyone to participate.

3) Receive an email with your Swapee's name and address by Sunday, Nov. 25. 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 F52ers instead of one!)

Pack it up, pack it in, let holiday cheer begin! Photo by Julia Gartland

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 tomato jam will knock their socks off. Be creative: Keep in mind that some items will survive shipping better than others, so package them well.

Psst—an idea! Great things happen when we gather together. This year, we're encouraging Swap participants to package their gifts together, and share photos of their parties by using #f52holidayswap on Instagram. We'll be doing the same at our office in New York!

5) Drop your package in the mail by Monday, Dec. 10 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!)

By signing up for this swap, you are promising to send a gift. Don't leave a fellow F52er hanging! (We will find out, and unfortunately, you will be banned from future swaps.)

F52ers 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 Noëlle at [email protected].

What's your favorite way to spread holiday cheer? Share in the comments section below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Miss_Karen
  • Mckenzie
  • Liz
  • Terrill
  • Cathy
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


Miss_Karen March 10, 2019
I want to post my pictures of my swapee box but I am so clueless as to how instagram works... :( HELP!! Also, where can I post pictures? Can I send it to food52?
The first one got rained or snowed on and my address got completely washed off. It was returned to sender. The second went swimming in the Atlantic we think. Eliza's 3rd attempt finally made it across the Atlantic. It arrived a couple of days ago. She initially mailed it December 4th and I got it March 5th. The treats (without the Christmas cookies-since it's not Christmas time now...) Were/ are YUMMY.
I HIGHLY recommend a tracking number for all food52 swap boxes! :)
Mckenzie December 3, 2018
Any tips for how to save on shipping? Would love to spend more on the package's fillings than shipping itself :)
wkend.baker December 3, 2018
Use plastic containers instead of glass or tightly (but not to tight) wrap your goodies. Michael’s has a ton of holiday containers. And use bubble wrap, shredded paper or tissue paper as filler to protect your goodies.
Terrill December 3, 2018
so...there are a few ways-flat rate USPS box
dont use glass jars or ship anything heavy!
my favourite-use Pirate Ship. I use them for my etsy shop. I often use the cubic shipping as opposed to Flat Rate and Regional boxes. USPS doesn't do the cubic shipping at the post office. Its basically the same as flat rate box so check box measurements and fit what you have in one that is in your price range (up to 20lbs).
Liz December 3, 2018
Quick note to say I haven't received my swap name/info yet.
enbe December 3, 2018
Liz, sorry to hear that! I've re-sent your assignment to the email address I have on file. If you don't receive an email from [email protected], please email me there so we can get you sorted!
Terrill December 1, 2018
I already received my Swap and would like to email a thank you and a picture of us enjoying the treats. I dont have her email address. If I cant get it I will send a note. Also, where can we post pictures or see pictures if we dont have instagram?
Cathy November 28, 2018
Also don't want to be impatient but I have not received the swap information either.
TabeaK November 28, 2018
I don‘t want to be impatient but I have not received the swap info either. Thanks for checking if the info was already sent.
enbe November 28, 2018
I just tried to get in touch! Your email bounced. Please message me at [email protected] so I can get your match sent again.
TabeaK November 29, 2018
Hi Noëlle, just sent you an email. Tabea
TerryKes November 26, 2018
I'm joining the list of those who haven't received the swap info yet. I'm okay with that, of course - not wanting to be pushy :), just want to make sure I'm not missing it if it has already been sent. Thanks!
enbe November 28, 2018
Hi Terry! Yours was sent a few days ago from the [email protected] address. Please check your spam folder and if you can't find it, email me at the above address so I can send it again.
Lisa November 26, 2018
I also have not yet received my swap info.
Lisa November 26, 2018
No problem.
Congrats on running such a successful event!
enbe November 28, 2018
Hi Lisa, Just checking that you should have received it a few days ago from [email protected]. Please let me know if you haven't.
Melissa S. November 25, 2018
Not sure if it’s too soon, but I haven’t recieved my swapee’s info yet.
enbe November 28, 2018
Hi Melissa, You should have received it by now from [email protected]. Please let me know if you haven't
Ginger S. November 24, 2018
This is my favorite baking event of the year. Thank you Noelle!
Laura November 19, 2018 excited to participate in my first exchange! I love Food52...rapidly becoming my go-to source for all things food-ie.
Christinab81 November 19, 2018
This will be my first year participating in the swap! I did a cookie exchange with my friends for years, but the past few years we haven't done one, so this is a great substitute! My question is, what should the value of the box be? I know we should include homemade items, but is there a general rule for how much to spend/put into it?
Blueberry November 15, 2018
Offside question, what is that delicious-looking loaf cake in the header picture? It looks kinda cornbread-y! Can you please confirm if it is a recipe on the site? :)
wkend.baker November 12, 2018
Finished signing up a few minutes ago and am so excited-- first timer over here!
wkend.baker November 20, 2018
Question, any NYC Swap packing get togethers happening? Would love to get together/get to know more F52 friends 😊
Angela R. November 12, 2018
Finally signed up and donated this a.m! Super excited 'cause it's my first time!
SophieL November 11, 2018
I'm so excited to participate in this fabulous food52 foodie-swap! Last year was my first time and I loved, loved, loved giving and receiving the most amazing goodies. Just last week I was wondering if this foodie-swap would continue this year, and my anticipation was answered. So-o-o glad! I can hardly wait to get my swapee's name, and I'm already planning for it. Thanks, Food52!
Gay B. November 11, 2018
I'm so excited for this again! It made my morning. Already planning what to pack up and send!
Zelda November 8, 2018
If we donate after we submit our interest form, do we need to update anything further? Just making sure I haven't missed a step
Whitney N. November 8, 2018
FYI - the sign up form lists the charity as No Kid Hungry, not Action Against Hunger (both great causes!)
Whitney N. November 8, 2018
Whoops - just kidding. I read too fast!
mcs3000 November 8, 2018
HOORAY! Thank you, Noëlle and Katie!