Holiday Gift and Toy Swap, NE PDX, December 10th

UPDATE 12/04/16 the Holiday Gift and Toy Swap is now full and a wait list has been started.  If you find you won’t be able to make it to the Holiday Gift and Toy Swap, please email Christine at and let her know to pass your spot to the next in line.

Time to RSVP for the Holiday Gift and Toy Swap! This has become a FAVORITE Holiday tradition!  Combine house cleaning, gift shopping, philanthropy, and free frugal fun!

The 2016 HOLIDAY GIFT & TOY SWAP is Saturday December 10th, 2pm, in the Presbyterian Church of Laurelhurst gym.  RSVP (reserve your spot) by December 5th!

Gift Swaps are tons of fun – watch here to learn more!

The gym is unheated so dress warmly. Since all swappers are invited (and their kind men, teens, and friends), YOU MUST READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS AND HAVE AN ENTRY ‘TICKET’ TO GET INTO THIS SWAP (see below).

 To attend this event and keep things running smoothly, you and your guests need to read and abide by the Free Swap Rules, and What To Bring (below). To get on our Reservation/entry list, email volunteer Christine’s special 2016 Gift and Toy Swap RSVP email and in the subject line write in your name and how many people you are bringing. (Example: Jane Doe and one guest – 2 total).
 Due to volume, Christine may not be able to respond immediately to reservation requests, but she is able to track the order in which they are received, so she asks everyone to be patient. When Christine has you on her list – your name, number of people, and your email address – she will email you back letting you know you’ve been confirmed to attend this swap.  THIS CONFIRMATION IS YOUR ENTRY TICKET. Get on the list before December 5th to secure your spot!  Only 150 spots available!  Due to space constraints you will not be allowed into the event unless you and your guests are on the list, so it’s important that you fill in your subject line info and send it to the correct email address.  We can’t be responsible for RSVP emails sent to any address other than .  If you or one of your guests can’t make it, please email Christine as soon as possible so she can offer the spot(s) to the next in line.


Search your house, garage, and storage for all the gift-able items you don’t need/want/love anymore. Make sure the items are clean, in working order, and all the pieces are there.  Nothing too big to fit in the backseat of a car, and nothing that can’t be washed at home (i.e. no mattresses, large furniture, couch pillows etc.).  Would YOU like to receive it as a gift?  Then bring it!

  1. TOYS AND GAMES: In great shape new and lightly used dolls, stuffed animals, gag gifts, toys, games (including board games, puzzles, etc.) with all the pieces still intact.
  2. MOVIES, BOOKS, CD’S DVD’S: Books in good condition that you are finished reading, music on CD, DVD movies that are still in great working order. Computer games can go in the techie area if the book area is crowded.
  3. CRAFTS, FABRIC, ACCESSORIES: Scrap-booking, beading, knitting, sewing patterns and clean fabric, the gift towels that were the wrong color for your décor, holiday clothing accessories that are one-size-fits-most such as scarves, mittens, gloves, and hats. If an item is holiday related (i.e. Christmas sweater, holiday socks, Santa necktie) bring them. Please save everyday clothing for another swap or we won’t have room for anything else!
  4. HOLIDAY AND HOUSEHOLD: Seasonal decorations, stocking stuffers, blender, dishes, potholders, coasters, fondue set, non-expired and non-opened holiday food items, table lamps. If you’d give it as a gift, bring it.
  5. TOOLS, TECHNOLOGY, GARDEN, PETS: Clean ratchet set, clean sports equipment, clean bicycles/tricycles in great shape, computers, cameras, gaming systems, computer games, clean garden pots and tools, viable seeds, clean pet dishes and toys.
  6. BREAKABLES AND COLLECTIBLES: jewelry, antiques, fancy glassware, collectibles, candy dishes, artwork, that collectible pirate ship or doll, perfume used once, lotion used once (i.e. still looks new – isn’t half full and doesn’t have gunk running down the side of the bottle).
  7. MISC. OTHER STUFF: Items you don’t know where else to put, plus this is an overflow area if other areas are too full.

If you have items you’re not sure where they go, just put them in a row that in some way makes reasonable sense…or put them in a row that isn’t too crowded.


  1. No selling anything you received at a free swap. The purpose of swap positive is free stuff, forever. So if you get it free, and then decide later you don’t want it, please give it away for free. All remainders are given to charities that will give them away, not sell them, so your philanthropy is good karma, keeping kindness and fun flowing for yourself and others this holiday season:).
  2. Kind women, men, and teens are invited. Please leave babies, toddlers, and early grade school children safely at home with a sitter – that way you can shop for them! Plus the gym won’t be echoing with any excited whoops or cries. Carpooling is recommended.
  3.  Scour your closets, garages, and home for things in gift-able condition. Please do not bring anything that is broken, dirty, or junky. We are all volunteers and don’t have the money to pay to dispose of junk, and the gym floor is carpeted and needs to be kept clean. All remainders immediately after the swap will be picked up by Jim and his crew from the Paying It Forward Free Store, spreading free holiday cheer to people in our community!
  4.  Between 1:30 and 1:55 bring in and put your items with like-minded stuff in rows. No pre-shopping/taking stuff before the coordinator says ‘go’.  After you’ve put your items out, go to the walls of the gym so people coming in have room to put their stuff down in the middle. Leave a walkway down the middle of the gym so it’s easier to move around. (Just imagine a center aisle east to west to walk down, while the stuff is being put on imaginary benches on either side north & south of the main aisle.) You decide which category/row your things would best fit.
  5.  No pre-shopping (scooting stuff into piles, taking things before the swap coordinator says ‘go’, etc.). To make it fun and fair for everyone, we all wait until the swap leader says go, and then all start at the same time (this is NOT Walmart:). Since there will be possibly 100+ people we ask you to be responsible for yourselves and your guests. If you are an experienced swapper and see someone with wide eyes (the typical newbie stare of disbelief at all the amazing goodies) please feel free to introduce yourself and answer any swap questions they may have.
  6.  Before we start, we’ll ask that everyone go stand next to something that looks interesting – but don’t pick it up yet – so there’s no mad rush before we begin. Feel free to mention which item you are going for with neighbors. That way if two people are going for the same teapot, you have some negotiating time (ie if person A doesn’t have a teapot, and person B has a teapot collection, obviously person A should get the teapot, and this gives person B a chance to go stand next to something else that looks interesting). When the emcee/coordinator says ‘go’ shortly after 2pm, then you can shop! Bring a bag(s) or box(es) to take what you’d like home. Please be kind, courteous and generous, and focus on what we have in common: celebration of kindness and free frugal treasure hunting! If you find tons of stuff, and the person next to you only has a few items, allow them to have that item you both have your eye on:) Stuff in the middle in rows is free, boxes/bags of stuff around the walls of the gym is somebody’s stash. This is a great way to clear out your house AND get your holiday shopping done for free at the same time:)


Saturday December 10th, 2pm at the Presbyterian Church of Laurelhurst (in the Gym) 935 N.E. 33rd Avenue. Portland OR 97232 503-232-9129.
  Two blocks south of Sandy Blvd. on 33rd (the west fork in the road), at Pacific Street, in a small modern red brick building. There is a parking lot behind the church. The gym is directly across from the playground. Get there early to grab a parking lot space…late comers will need to park on the street. Also consider carpooling. We will have volunteers with clipboards holding the RSVP list at the door. Those on our RSVP list can sign and go in. This is one of our most well-attended swapping events of the year. It’s a lot of fun to clean out your house for the holidays, knowing that you’re making other people very happy by recycling things that you no longer need/use/love, and getting a treat or two for yourselves and your loved ones. As you can see by the video at the beginning of this blog entry, Free Swaps are for kind, generous people who know how to manage themselves in appropriate ways. No hoarding, no stampeding, no grabbing stuff…just fun, thrifty, kind people. Thank you for being a part of this fun-filled celebration of thrift!

Please support our mission by enjoying the swap as a place to GIVE and get free stuff, and if you part with your new-to-you swap items, we ask that YOU do it in a free way too!

If you don’t see a free swap in your size, interest, or neighborhood, how about starting one?  Find out more here.

Thanks for being a part of the FREE swapping community!


One response to “Holiday Gift and Toy Swap, NE PDX, December 10th

  1. Just a note that we are currently accepting reservations on the waiting list only. Thanks! Christine.

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