How to Start a "Wine Fairy" Group in Your Neighborhood
Plus, everything you need to make a wine fairy basket your recipient will love.
For many people, 2020 has seemed like one big blur. Due to the novel coronavirus, many saw their jobs put on hold, and nearly every parent was introduced to homeschooling in one form or another. Additionally, most parts of the U.S. were put on lockdown, closing all but nonessential businesses and restricting travel. This year has probably found you inside your home, doing a lot of Netflixing, banana bread-baking and maybe even a little more wine-drinking than usual.
One Pennsylvania mom had enough and decided to do something about it.
Enter: the wine fairies. A simple Facebook group search brings up hundreds of such groups across the country with thousands of members, from Texas to Minnesota, North Carolina to New England. It's where Taylor Alexander, a consultant and mom of three in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, put out her first call for a pandemic pick-me-up.
She posted the wine fairy idea on her personal Facebook profile, noting that if anyone was interested, they could share with their friends. More than 4,000 members later, it's safe to say the joyful trend has caught on. "I never would have imagined this group to grow as much as it did," says Alexander. "The fact that it blew up was heartwarming."
The idea for the group came to Alexander from a friend in New York. "She shared how much she enjoyed putting baskets together and how fun it was being covert to drop them off," she explains. "I love where I live and thought this would be a neat way to make it more special."
So Alexander modeled her group after others she found on Facebook. She divided the group into local school districts and created folders for each one. Because the group is invite only and set to private, women could feel safe entering their addresses under the right folder. They could also name their favorite wine (or even non-alcoholic beverage), snack or sweet and candle scent.
Alexander notes that these items aren't the criteria for giving, "just inspiration as to what you could share. We try to emphasize anything you give is awesome—no one should feel their gift isn't enough."
The rest is simple. A member picks a person from the group at random, pulls together a basket of items and delivers it. Some drop it off under cloak of darkness, while others dress up as fairies or unicorns and "ding dong ditch" their parcels in the light of day. It's up to the recipients to post when they've been "dusted" by a fairy so there are no duplicate drop-offs.
At first, Alexander says, the people in the group were those she knew. "I worked with all these lovely ladies in one way or another." But as it grew to include more women, she knew she needed help to manage the group.
"I saw the group picking up and enjoy organizing things, so I reached out and asked if she wanted some help," says Amy DeLong, a payment analyst and mom of two. "We didn't know each other in the beginning," she notes of the group's four admins, "but we quickly became friends, and it feels like we've been friends forever."
The admins have come up with some guidelines for starting a group, which they say has helped them manage it. DeLong stresses, "Do not try to do it all yourself!," noting that the admins spent hours a day monitoring comments, requests and posts. She adds that it "helps to have multiple personalities working together. Between the four of us, we found our niche, and our combined efforts helped make everything run smoothly."
With more admins, it helps to be organized. Kristina Shimer, a realtor and mom of three boys, explains, "We have our own group chat that we use for input and to clarify moves we make within the group so that we are all on the same page."
In addition to keeping the group private, some of the group's rules include no one under 21, women only, no spam, no begging and being kind. Alexander adds, "Try to keep posts related to the subject of the group. No outside shenanigans, no down-talking any received gift or posting about a lack of reaction. It's not the point." Don't be afraid to enforce the rules of your group, notes DeLong. And don't make exceptions to those rules, adds Shimer. "They were created for a reason."
If you're going the Facebook route, set up questions that are required to be answered prior to joining, such as "Are you 21 ?" or "Have you read the group's rules and do you agree to follow them?" Shimer suggests commenting on posts and engaging with the members to keep things going.
Above all, have fun. "When delivering baskets, I did my best to make each one extremely personal with a little something extra," says Shimer. DeLong adds, "I loved being a fairy and how much joy it brought to people."
While the gift-giving has slowed down somewhat, with the warmer weather and easing of stay-at-home restrictions, the group feels a fall uptick in dusting is on its way as some schools prepare for virtual learning. Says Alexander, "I think it could come back a little bit more with the holidays coming, especially if we stepped in and encouraged women to go for a round two. Maybe a spooky basket or a thankful basket."
One thing's for sure: It's never too late to start a group where you live. "There is something really special about people doing good anonymously," says Alexander. "It always seems like when someone was given a gift, they received it at just the right moment. I believe women have that kind of intuition. We kind of instinctively know who needs what when."
We've put together a few ideas for wine fairy gift baskets to get you inspired. These are just suggestions—the idea is to put your own spin on it. Think of what your recipient will like, and sprinkle some joy on their doorstep (a bottle of wine is totally optional)!
Wine Fairy Gifts Under $10 and $20
- On Cloud Wine Coloring Book
- Stainless Steel Wine Glass Tumbler
- Stainless Steel Wine Stopper and Pourer
- Herbal Bath Tea
- If You Can Read This, Please Bring Me Wine Socks
- Lavender Shower Steamers
- Wine Lips Lip Scrub
- Red Wine Face Mask
- Vintage Merlot Wine Soap
- Chocolove Dark Chocolate Bar with Sea Salt & Almonds
- Unbreakable Silicone Wine Glasses
- Merlot-Scented Candle
- Maybe Swearing Will Help Coloring Book with Markers
- Badass Affirmations Book
- Wine Coasters
- Wine Pairing Chocolate Bars
- High Heel Wine Charms
- Wine Saver
- This Is Probably Wine Travel Mug
- Merlot-Infused Coffee
- Wine Lover's Tea Towel
- Blooming Lollipops
- Drink More Water Bottle
- Moisturizing Foot Mask
- Whipped Soap