Make a swap for EU-participants only?

I was reading in a swap-thread and saw a post about not being able to join because of high postage, custom fees and such. Which made me wonder if it is possible to host a swap for only people living in EU. That way postage would (hopefully) be lower, and there is no custom fee.

Is this allowed, to limit a swap like this? And it is something people are interested in. Im thinking that if there are enough people interested, we can discuss what to swap later on.


I would be interested in joining if one is started. It would be much faster and cheaper.

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I don’t think there’s anything against it in the swapping guidelines, someone just needs to set it up and have people join :slight_smile:

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Absolutely you can do that. We’ve had a few US only swaps so you can definitely do a EU only.


I remember Canada only swaps in Cster

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I would join it. Remember Uk is no longer Eu and has also the custom problem


Yeah, I know. :confused: Its such a shame!

I think that’s a good idea.

I’m in the US, and was shocked at postage to EU or Canada ($17-20 for a small package/padded envelope!). Both the US and the EU changed postage rules this year, so a padded envelope costs as much per ounce as a box.

I feel bad to choose the “won’t ship internationally” option on swaps because I hate to exclude people, but that must work both ways. Does anybody want to spend their crafting budget on postage??

You can still get “forever” international stamps in the US for $1.50 each, which are good for first class postage on 1 ounce in a plain, flat envelope.

Another possibility would be to set up a central point swap, where all swap items are sent to an organizer, who sorts them into boxes for each participant and ships them on.

I’ve participated in this kind of swap, but never organized it. Everybody sends a set amount of postage along with their items.

It certainly takes extra effort from organizers, but it’s fun to get a big box full of goodies.

Maybe just do it for international items; everything bound international gets sent to the organizer, who either:
–sends them all in a single package to an organizer in the EU (or UK or Canada, or whatever), who then sends them off to individuals, OR
–sends all items for a single swapper in a package directly to them.

Just possibilities…


I am lucky to be able to build shipping costs into crafting budget, very grateful for it too. It’s a lot & understandably not an option for everybody.
I’ve also gotten very good at crafting flat items, not always an option but often possible.


Wow, that’s a lot!

The big change is that until a couple of years ago, anything that fit into an envelope, could be sent in a flat envelope for a low price (€5-ish) and you didn’t have to fill in a customs form for it. You could just put it in a post box.

Then a couple of years ago a new international law came into force and now non-paper flat items need to be shipped as a flat parcel, and need a customs form. Then suddenly pricing exploded. I sent a flat parcel (what we call a postbox parcel) from Europe to Australia a while ago for €11 (which is maybe 12 USD) I think the price is the same for the US. For a large swap item, a card and some extra’s, that’s not bad. But I didn’t even dare to check what sending a “real” parcel cost.

I am really annoyed that we don’t seem to be able to create any succesful international legislation except for mail regulations that ruin swapping :confused:


Hi! I am all for an EU only swap! I think it is a great idea to help our overseas swappers participate more!

That being said, we do not allow the process where you send to the organizer or one person and that person sends it on its way. One of the unique and great things about LC (and it’s predecessor Craftster) is that all our swaps are guaranteed by Angels. If everyone sent to one person and that person fell ill, just didn’t send, or if the package got lost from the organizer to the intended swapper, we would be responsible for the replacements. For this reason you have to send directly to your partner.
Hope this doesn’t change anything and you still get to enjoy an EU exclusive swap!



I remember Australia/NZ only swaps from the olden times too. Postage is a real issue now, these days I think hard about what kind of swaps I can join, so that hopefully it’s worthwhile for me and my partner. I like to do substantial swaps, or swaps with smaller but time-intensive items (e.g. embroidery), so even if it costs quite a lot to mail, it feels worth it. Otherwise flat is great, and I love the 4x6 art swap. And I especially like Invite Your Partner, because then you can both be clear about what you’re able to commit to.

I’m also very grateful that I can afford to pay the postage, so I’m always happy to mail internationally. But I never want to put pressure on people to mail to me, and I never want any of my lovely Lettuce friends to feel bad about prioritising creative supplies over shipping. At the same time, I don’t want to give up swapping. This community has brought me so much creative inspiration and joy over the years.


i’m lucky to have angels that are family related in the UK and US (Son and daughter) so when swapping or buing in US or Uk it goes to them. They know the drill. Making pictures and i’ll get it a bit later.
Getting a parcel out of Belgium is not that difficult : we have the paper work and the expensive postage but Ok. But getting one in, we always get a fine as a parcel may only cost 25€ (but that includes the postage cost) and there is the problem. You can make a gift of 10€ but if they have to add postage for 20€ on it, you get a fine and on the fine an administration cost and on all of that VAT. That why i do want to swap outside EU\Uk unless my angels are used.


Wow, I’m surprised they are so strict in Belgium! I’m in the NL, and I’ve never had to pay customs for any swap items I receive. When people declare the goods as “handmade gift” the value is just set at 0. Sometimes it does take a lot of time.

It is much more expensive than it used to be to receive goods that I’ve bought overseas. I used to buy a lot of supplies from the UK, but now I rarely do. I visit there quite often and try to buy what I want when I’m actually there. When I have an order sent to me in the NL I have to pay customs if it’s worth more than €25, but when I take the train there, I can take up to €430 in goods home without having to pay customs.

It still feels so strange that the UK is now not part of Europe anymore. They’re still our next door neighbours, and I go there all the time, just like I visit Belgium and Germany quite often. Now I suddenly can’t even bring cheddar home anymore.

:first I thought that when a parcel was declared as a gift they would look at the price of the gift but that’s not the case here: the value is price and postage and so you are always above those 25€.
I did found it out when i contacted them by phone because i got so many fines each time my son did send me something.
And Yes Cheddar is a problem, we miss it too, we have to become smugglers.:slight_smile:
But not only that . You may only buy for 300€ in the Uk or you have to declare it to custom when arriving in Belgium.
We had the problem when we went shopping for our sons wedding as he lived in the Uk. So all customs and bridesmaid dresses and grooms customs were bought in the uk. when we arrived in Brussel. The customs employee My husband bag with his custom and ask what we bought and for how much. So we were above the 300… So we didn’t lie about it and paid hoping they wouldn’t look inside the luggage where my husband second blazer was and my 2 dresses :slight_smile:
the couple after us did start to discuss and had to open their luggage and as you can imagine there was a lot more in, so not only had they to pay the VAT + a fine. We didn’t get as we agreed immediately to pay the VAt hoping …
So when we be in the Uk next month we will be more careful.
And it is really Belgium because in june we went with the car to the Uk and the French border control didn’t say or do anything but if you get he flying custom patrol at the belgium border, you will get in trouble

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We usually take the train and we’ve never really had anyone pay attention to what we brought in. I don’t think we’ve ever exceeded €430 but they were only interested in very dangerous foreign cheese and ham.

I don’t know if it’s the same in Belgium, but in NL, when you can prove you already paid VAT in another country (which I assume you did in the shop in the UK) and you have to pay it again at the border, there’s a form you can fill in to ask the money back, because you’ve technically paid VAT twice (in the UK and at home).

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Tell me about it :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes:

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I’m so sorry for everyone who lives there. Some of our tabloids make fun of all bad news from the UK, ha, serves them right for Brexit. But I’ve visited the UK countless times and it just makes me really sad to see things go downhill. And I feel bad for all my friends there, who are working harder than their cousins on the continent and earning less.

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I shipped a lap quilt to Canada for $55! It was one of my Laps Full of Love donations. I could afford it but asked to not have a non US destination for a while.
It’s really a shame. We need to keep connected world wide and mail is one wonderful way to do that.


Because of your post, I checked our exact rules and it seems like in NL you can receive gifts with a commercial value of up to €45 without paying taxes, and shipping costs don’t count towards the €45. The commercial value of any swap package is less than €45 (unless you throw in a lot of valuable extra’s) so swapping is always tax-free here.

I’m actually quite surprised those rules are so different in other EU countries, I thought VAT was all arranged on the EU level. Apparantly not the exact amounts that are exempt.