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Ashland's annual Abundance Swap draws a capacity crowd of donators and shoppers to the Ashland Historic Armory each year. Tidings file photo

Celebrating without over-consuming

The 17th annual Abundance Swap is set for 1:30 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St. in Ashland. Doors open at 1 p.m. for set up.

The Abundance Swap has become a holiday tradition since it came out of Thanksgiving week discussion on JPR’s Jefferson Exchange in 2002. To counter the frantic consumerism of Black Friday’s shopping stampedes, host Jeff Golden looked for an alternative that would preserve the gifting aspect of the holidays.

Two weeks later the first Abundance Swap hosted about 50 people in a small dance studio. Last year’s event at the Armory was attended by about 400 participants.

Anyone interested in attending should select three items from their own possessions (without making a new purchase) in very good condition that would make valued gifts to someone else. They then bring these gifts to the Abundance Swap and lay them out for display (no dropped-off items, please). Then, according to a simple process designed to savor the selection of items, and to encourage personal interaction, everyone will have opportunities to select items to take away as holiday gifts for their friends or family.

People are also welcome to bring a favorite home-made holiday finger-food to share with others.

Children are very welcome, both to bring items of their choosing and to select items to give to other children. All children under 12 must be in the company of an adult throughout the event.

Admission is free and there are no cash transactions of any kind.

Since it was founded in 2002, the Ashland Abundance Swap has become known as a celebration of generosity and community and been replicated in numerous cities around the Northwest and a few others around the U.S.

More information and accounts of some of the earlier Abundance Swaps can be found at www.abundanceswap.org.

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