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Welcome to this years Secret Santa gift exchange 2019. FESTIVAL OF FOSSILS The Secret Santa exchange is when you enter your name into a pool and get matched with another player to exchange gifts. We try to keep gifts to around the maximum $30. range so no one is sending an overly extravagant gift or too menial a gift. When making your selection on what to send, ask yourself "would I be happy receiving this?" All are welcome to play so long as you adhere to the rules. This is a Secret Santa exchange. The catch is that your partner will not know who is sending the gift or what it will be until it is received. Your name will in turn be chosen for a different "Santa" to send a gift to you. It is crucial that the identity of who it is coming from to be kept totally unknown, so no hints or contacting who you are sending to! Sign up for entering this fun event will start today October 13 and will be open until the cut off for entry on Sunday October 27th Midnight Pacific Time. You will then be matched with your exchange partner and the names and addresses will be sent out by Midnight October 30th. Please PM me ( caldigger ) with your full name and mailing address. There are three choices you can make for your exchange partner. Do you want to send Domestic ( US only ), Overseas/ International ( could be anywhere outside the US ), or the greater European realm ( for those in Europe and close surrounding countries who don't want to ship overseas ). Send off deadline for International (overseas ) packages will be on November 12th due to the holiday shipping lag times ( busy postal departments and customs delays ) that occur at this time of year. Domestic send off deadline is December 4th. * It is important to get the gifts sent off by the deadline! Delays can and will happen, so please do yourself and your partner the curtesy and send on or before the deadline! It has been requested by many members that since this is a Secret Santa exchange, that everybody either hold off on opening their received packages or at least take pictures of what you received and not post the photos until Christmas ( December 25th ). *** A few handy tips we have learned from past exchanges that may help the shipping transactions run more smoothly and help avoid unnecessary holdups. *- Make sure your items are cleaned of dirt and dust the best you can. Most customs departments frown upon having foreign dirt coming into the receiving country. *- Check the box on your customs form as "Gift". This portrays a better indication the contents are not being brought in for commercial resale. *- In the past, when writing the description of the contents on the customs form it is found best to write something very simple such as "Geological specimens for educational studies" or "Study grade fossils for educational purposes- No commercial value". You don't want your gift to incure taxes because the customs office thinks they are going to be sold. *- For the contents value box on the form make sure you give it a low valuation ( I personally write $10. No matter how much higher the contents value may be ). Many customs departments will charge the receiver an additional charge based on the declared value on the form when entering the country. It is a gift, we don't want the receiver to have to pay to get it released from customs! Also do not put "0" value on the form either. That automatically raises a red flag to customs. Nobody is going to spend money shipping a package that is worth nothing! *** Please, please, please package your items very well with lots of packing material. The parcel may seem well packaged when sitting upright on your table, but they get tossed around, jumbled, have heavier boxes stacked on top, placed upside down, etc, etc. You almost can never have too much padding, especially when traveling half way across the world. There is nothing sadder and more frustrating to anxiously await a package to find the sender did not take the time to assure all was properly padded tight. If you can feel the slightest movement in the box, it will likely break. Pad every item and all spaces around them. OK, it must be said. This exchange is based and built on trust. All participants are putting their items they have either found or purchased on the line in hopes the other player has done the same. I can not control what members do, so please play fair. Do not sent a box of trash rocks. We all want items that we would be glad to have in our collections and your gift should reflect that. ~Remember this exchange is for the December 25th holiday!!! ~ A major part of this exchange is to post pictures in this thread of the goodies that your Santa sent you. Please take pictures and post them for all the other Forum members to see. That's half the fun!!! ~If you don't feel the rules and deadlines are going to work for you, please refrain from signing on to this event. ~ We have had great fun with these exchanges in the past and hope to keep it that way. LET THE FOLLIES BEGIN!!!!