What do you get when you mix fifty mom bloggers and a holiday party? A lot of fun and a lot of swag! When Jill announced a couple of months before BlogHer that the Silicon Valley Moms group wouldn't be putting together a BlogHer swag bag, I completely understood the validity of doing away with swag in the midst of such a crappy economy. Even when BlogHer '09 turned into the biggest swag fest ever, I was kind of proud that the SV Moms hadn't added even more swag to the mix.
Little did I know that she was saving all the sponsors and swag up for last weekend's Silicon Valley Moms Holiday party. Generous sponsors such as HP's Photosmart Premium, Chevrolet, Nintendo, Bosch, and many more showered us with presents large and small.
But honestly, it wasn't all about grabbing swag and filling up a bag -- really! The brains behind SV Moms came up with a fun, brilliant way to mix swag, networking and fun. Partygoers got "bingo cards", which were stamped by sponsors after the blogger stopped by their table. After their bingo cards were all filled up with stamps, the blogger got to pick up a swag bag at the end of the party.
The great thing about the bingo card system was that bloggers actually got to meet with and talk to the sponsors -- no skulking behind some other blogger, grabbing a piece of swag and slinking off. Not that any SV Moms are like that. Okay, maybe I'm kind of a swag whore, but I would never accuse my fellow SV Moms bloggers of anything so base.
But the point is, the swag was secondary to the opportunity to meet with the sponsors, learn about their products and see whether working together would be a good thing for both parties. The sponsors were very well chosen, with products and services that were truly relevant to this mom (and dad) blogging audience. I really enjoyed discovering new companies like Dillon Rogers and the Astak Mole Camera. I appreciated learning about alternative permanent birth control methods and organic skincare. I was happy to see my friend Rick from Tiny Prints and ooh-and-ahh over their latest designs. And I was overjoyed to meet the designers behind some local children's products that I already know and love -- Wati, Livvie and Luca, Giddy Giddy, and Lucky Jade.
What made it even more fun is that the sponsors provided plenty of opportunities to interact and socialize with the other bloggers. The HP Photosmart booth was crowded with bloggers printing out their holiday photos and admiring each others' beautiful babies. At the Nintendo station, ladies lined up for the chance to beat each other's scores on the Wii Fit. And the Nestle Coffemate table was actually accepting swag -- gently used office and professional clothing, that is -- to donate to Dress for Success.
All those little fun booths were, indeed, fun, but after three years of blogging together, I don't think we need all of the gimmicks to have a great party anymore. Our get-togethers have become true social events, an opportunity to gossip and laugh and tweet together, a chance to get together with some good friends IRL (in real life!).
So congratulations to the organizers of the Silicon Valley Moms Blog Holiday party -- Jill, Beth, Tekla, Akemi and Linsey -- you got the swag part of the party right, along with the rest of the party!
Credits: All photos in this post were taken by Carla Duharte Razura. When I saw Carla that night with her camera I put mine away, knowing she'd get better photos of the event than I ever could. Thanks, Carla for putting the Bongga in Bonggamom that night! For more of Carla's exquisite photographs, head over to her website at babyjidesign.com, and head over to our party Flickr page for more of Carla's photos of the SV Moms Holiday Party.
Disclaimer: I did receive lots of swag (which I will write more about on my review blog, Bonggamom Finds) at the party, which I am enjoying very much, thank you, but I was not required to write this post. I didn't even have time to eat the free food.