LASFS Gift Exchange PDF Print E-mail
LASFS Gift Exchange

Date: Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018
Time: 7:30 p.m. (preliminaries); 8:05 p.m. (main event)
Location: Freehafer Hall, 747 N Whitnall Hwy, Burbank (aka the Friendship Hall of the American Lutheran Church)
Coordinator: Gavin Claypool ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it )

Donations of food, drinks, and disposable tableware are desired. Please let us know as soon as possible what you would like to bring, so we can coordinate everyone's efforts to maximum effect.

by Leigh Strother-Vien and others, 2007 - 2015
revised 2018 December

The Gift Exchange is open to all active LASFS members who are not in arrears to the club nor under any other
sort of administrative stigma.

You must be present in person - - NO PROXIES! You should expect to attend the entire event. 

Dues will be collected as usual.

To participate in the Gift Exchange, bring an anonymous, wrapped gift, with a value of at least $10.

The gift must be related to Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Fandom (if unsure, see GUIDELINES & SUGGESTIONS, below).

The gift you place in the Exchange should be considered a donation.

Because of the wide range of gifts that may be contributed and because of varying tastes, you might not receive a gift that you really want!

You might in fact get a gift you don't want at all! In this event, please bear in mind that THE PURPOSE OF THE GIFT EXCHANGE IS TO HAVE FUN. (If you also happen to get some nice loot, that should merely be considered a very nice bonus!)

On entering the Gift Exchange, you will receive a registration number. The registration numbers will be randomized, to determine when each person will be called to choose a gift from the table. The first person called will choose a gift from the table, open it, and show it to the audience. Make sure the rest of the crowd knows what the gift is, because that lets the crowd have fun, and THE PURPOSE OF THE GIFT EXCHANGE IS TO HAVE FUN.

The rest of the participants, in the order called, will each choose a gift from the table, open it, and show it to the audience.

Force Trades: If the person who has just opened a gift desires, he/she may "Force Trade" that gift with any gift that has been previously opened. THE PERSON HOLDING THE DESIRED GIFT MUST ACCEPT THE TRADE. The first person in the Gift Exchange is allowed the last "Force Trade," after everyone has selected & opened a gift.

Crud Calls: A "Crud Call" may occur if a gift is deemed unsuitable. "Crud Calls" may only be made if (1) the gift has insufficient value or (2) the gift is not related to Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Fandom. "Crud Calls" may NOT be made merely because a person is unhappy with a gift, if it otherwise meets the requirements. If you don't like it, trade it away. THE PURPOSE OF THE GIFT EXCHANGE IS TO HAVE FUN.

The person opening a gift may make a "Crud Call" at that time. Also, a person receiving a gift on a "Force Trade" may make a "Crud Call" at that time. "Crud Calls" are not allowed at any other time. "Saves" may be made after a "Crud Call," if any participant wants the gift that has been declared "crud." If more than one person wants the "crud" gift, the person holding it may choose among the gifts offered in exchange. If only one person offers to take the "crud" gift, the person who made the "Crud Call" must accept the trade.

After the trade, neither person may make another "Crud Call" on either of the two gifts in question. A participant may trade his/her future gift choice on a "Crud Call." The person making the "Crud Call" will then select another gift at the appropriate time. The acceptor of the "crud" gift may not make another "Crud Call" on it.

If no one volunteers to "Save," a "Force Trade" with the perpetrator of the "crud" gift - - whether an already opened gift or a future selection - - is mandated. The participants may overrule a "Crud Call" by a majority vote if they consider it unjustified. If a Judgment Call is required in any instance, the decision of the Gift Exchange "Producer" is FINAL!

Please note:
Gifts in the Gift Exchange are considered the Property of the club until the Gift Exchange is officially declared "over." If you are in possession of an opened gift and need to leave (either the room or completely), you must leave your gift with someone else. It is still open to "Force Trades."

Tantrums will result in the person or persons having Tantrums being banned from future Gift Exchanges. Tantrums are Not Fun. AND THE PURPOSE OF THE GIFT EXCHANGE IS TO HAVE FUN.

Free Trading: After the Gift Exchange is over, Free Trading of gifts may occur. Free Trading is outside the Gift Exchange rules and is done by persons willing to trade all or parts of their gifts with each other.

***SPECIAL RULE: The "Chocolate Covered Manhole Cover" is a traditional feature of the Gift Exchange. While not an acceptable gift by itself (due to insufficient monetary value - if you have possession of it, you got it for free), it can be added to any gift. Whoever ends up with the Manhole Cover at the end of the Gift Exchange is charged with the responsibility to see that it is reintroduced in the next year's Gift Exchange. The possessor of the Cover does not have to add it to his own gift...just see that someone does.***

  • If you wouldn't be happy to get a gift, don't put it in the Gift Exchange. Others probably won't like it either.
  • Having participants fight over an expensive gift ruins the spirit of the Gift Exchange. THE PURPOSE OF THE GIFT EXCHANGE IS TO HAVE FUN. If you bring a gift worth MORE than minimum value, do not expect equal value in return.
  • Craig Miller's Corollary to Rotsler's Rules for Masquerade Presentations #21 can apply to Gift Exchange presentations as well: "Short is better than long; funny is better than non-funny; short and funny is best."'
    Do not put anything offensive into the Gift Exchange. Lewd, crude, or rude gifts are not funny. THE PURPOSE OF THE GIFT EXCHANGE IS TO HAVE FUN.
  • If it took more than 20 minutes to wrap the gift, it will take too long to unwrap it at the Gift Exchange. Keep the wrapping simple, so that it can be opened in a reasonable amount of time. When giving books that are part of a multi-part series, it is considered good form (and perhaps even good taste) to include the first book (and perhaps all previous books) of the series.
  • Some gifts that were very popular at previous Gift Exchanges were: stuffed animals (especially those from comic strips); telescopes; recently published books (in new condition!); toy ray guns; coffee table books about S.F., Fantasy, or Space; and stuff for computers. High quality gifts of chocolate are considered Fannish! Please note that, prior to 1996, "quality" alcoholic gifts were also encouraged. THIS IS NO LONGER THE CASE. The use of alcohol is your own business, but the Club would prefer to NOT encourage alcohol in the Gift Exchange, as more and more members are either abstainers or minors!
  • Items that bombed: miscellaneous (dull, boring, mundane) food, hand-crafted "artwork," used paperbacks if small in number or poor in condition, and anything having to do with Zotz! or the Hubbard Decology, unless Crud Insurance (high quality chocolate, for example) is included.

Q. What exactly does 'related to science fiction, fantasy, or fandom' mean?
A. If you don't know what's related to science fiction or fantasy, you're in the wrong club. Fandom- related things are associated with the activities of organized fandom: e.g, mementos from conventions, propeller beanies, chocolate, costumes, computer hardware and software, comic books, collected fanzines, manuscripts from pro authors, bookshelves, video storage devices, interesting toys, games, puzzles, sheet music and/or recordings by Filk artists, miniatures, leather-craft tools, chainmail, etc.

Q. I've just been force traded a large box of "Magic The Gathering" Cards. I don't like "Magic The Gathering." Am I allowed to call Crud?
A. No. The nature of the gift is unquestionably related to science fiction, fantasy, or fandom. The value of the gift is unquestionably in excess of $10. There are no other criteria. Your options are to (a) hope that someone force trades for the Magic cards, leaving you with something else, or (b) wait until after the Exchange and try to obtain something you prefer during Free Trading.

Q. I've ended up with the Chocolate Covered Manhole Cover, but I think it's a silly tradition and I don't want to deal with it. Can I throw the darned thing away?
A. Only if you want to be ostracized by all of organized fandom. Most people don't have that much masochism in them, so you would be advised to simply give the Cover to someone who takes it more seriously than you do.

Q. I've picked the Pournelle Box (greed is good!), but someone wants to Force Trade me a box of "Magic The Gathering" cards for it. Should I allow it, or scream, whine and complain in a loud annoying voice until they relent?"
A. In the first place, they won't relent. The rules are on their side. In the second place, throwing such a tantrum would only get you thrown out and banned from future Exchanges. Your only real option is to make an effort to act like an adult (yes, it's terribly hard, but necessary) and allow the trade without putting up a fight.

Q. I'm on a diet, but the buffet table looks so tempting. Should I eat more?
A. Yes. The club always lays on too much food for this event, and we have no place to store leftovers. Feel free to eat us out of house and home. Diet later!

ADDENDUM: If you are bringing an under- age child, you are responsible for them and for their behavior. It is not acceptable to hand off the responsibility to another person and boisterous behavior by the child, uncontrolled by the parent or guardian, will result in the child and the parent (and/or guardian) being asked to leave. Apologies afterward are nice; but, nicer still, is not having the ruckus in the first place.

ADDENDUM TO THE ADDENDUM: If, by any chance, you bring an adult guest to the Gift Exchange, the previous paragraph applies to you and the guest, too.

If there is something special in a gift, put a note in the package to let the opener know of it

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 December 2018 )

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