EMULSIVE Santa is the highlight of my year! And nothing brings me unabashed joy more than when I start alerting EM around June …then July …then August ….then September about the impending swap. As I have always said, EMULSIVE Santa is really about being a part of a bigger effort to pull the entire film photography community together, even if just once a year.
I have had the great pleasure of chatting with many of you over the years, even if it was simply to ask for help on tracking your packages. I bask in the photos everyone uploads or posts on social media because it reminds us of our community’s limitless generosity and thoughtfulness. For 8 years, this event has been the grassroots global event that acknowledges our industry, and we all thank you for continuously outdoing yourselves. Case in point:
Which brings be to the focus of this guide: I have some ~annual reminders on etiquette, ideas you might want to explore, and general guidance on how to make the event enjoyable for yourself and for others. This is what I cover below:
- There is no “gift police”, but…
- 1. This is NOT a competition / bigger is not better
- 2. We are in the swap TO GIVE and SHARE our love for film photography
- 3. I have yelled “THAT’S IT!! I AM BANNING AMAZON GIFTS” at the screen a couple of times…
- 4. Support smaller film stores!
- 5. The EMULSIVE Team is not the manager of the Global Postal Service
- 6. We have no control over your country’s customs taxation/postal laws 🙏
- 7. The majority of parcels land on our doorstep.
- 8. Last but certainly not the least, THANK YOUR SECRET SANTA!.
It doesn’t matter if this is your first time or eighth time playing, please do continue reading!
There is no “gift police”, but…
Years of fielding comments and messages have taught us quite a bit about expectations vs. reality and where things usually go tipsy. Some very important things to bear in mind:
1. This is NOT a competition / bigger is not better
Not everyone is on the same level of being able to afford extravagance, flamboyance, and/or overnight shipping. Give/Share what you can, and put some real emotion and thought into what you’re giving. I promise you, recipients value your thoughtfulness over the size of your parcels.
2. We are in the swap TO GIVE and SHARE our love for film photography
Receiving something back, whether it matches the effort we put into our own swaps, is secondary. I cannot stress enough how we don’t have any control over what people send.
3. I have yelled “THAT’S IT!! I AM BANNING AMAZON GIFTS” at the screen a couple of times…
But I realized that circumstances may limit someone from accessing the “right” products and Amazon might be their only recourse. Know this, sending someone an Amazon Parcel straight to their doorstep can be a bummer for the recipient. It strips the whole experience of any personalization or human touch. I encourage anyone who faces a situation where they have literally no other choice but to use this route: contact your swap partner first, explain the situation properly, and ask for some understanding. I assure you, that extra step goes a loooonnggg way.
4. Support smaller film stores!
May I suggest that, instead of Amazon, you contact the closest Film store in your region to arrange the gift to be sent on your behalf. These sellers below are well aware of the EMULSIVE Santa, and I am sure they will be able to help.
I’ve noted their approximate respective locations but they all ship worldwide 🙏
Full disclosure: EM helped edited this list and added my own lab/store, Sunny16lab.
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5. The EMULSIVE Team is not the manager of the Global Postal Service
We literally have no influence on how fast your gifts travel from point A to B….. although this would totally be solved if I had a sleigh and some reindeers. PLEASE (x1000000000), send your parcels with TRACKING NUMBERS.
Let me tell you why, as your First Line of Defense, this is literally the only way for me AND YOUR PARTNER to know that you have sent something and that it had arrived at its destination. I cannot tell how many times I have had to mediate between someone who insists that they sent their parcel (no tracking) and their partner insisting nothing arrived. As someone who is policing incidents like these, it’s impossible for the Emulsive team to gauge who’s on the right.
Bottom line is, remember that you are in total control in how your parcels travels to its destination; please be aware of transit times and packing decorum as well.
6. We have no control over your country’s customs taxation/postal laws 🙏
Please be aware there will be instances where gifts arrive at the destination only for the recipient to pay a fee. Please don’t take it out on your partners.
Especially for International gifts, we advise marking your parcels as “GIFTS” and putting a reasonable low value that supports that.
7. The majority of parcels land on our doorstep.
However, there are situations where the recipient HAS TO PICK IT UP FROM THE POST. If you belong in a country or region that experiences that, please be mindful of the Notes/Alerts you receive from your postmasters. Because there are countless instances where gifts are returned to the sender because the recipient didn’t pick up the parcels… only to notify me a few months later that they had received nothing…. Here’s where the Tracking Number really plays a starring role.
8. Last but certainly not the least, THANK YOUR SECRET SANTA.
They put so much effort, thought, love, and happiness into putting your gift together, please acknowledge them appropriately. BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER. Oh!!! And tag us on Social Media:
- Twitter: @EMUSLSIVEsanta / @EMULSIVEfilm
- Instagram: @EMULSIVEfilm
- Facebook: @EMULSIVEfilm
- Also, please tag your posts with #EMULSIVESanta
…and that’s it from me. The short version: send gifts as you wish to receive yours, protect yourself and your gift with tracked/registered shipping, support smaller film stores and thank your Santa!
Please ask any questions in the comments.
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