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One more box = one more happy child

The Gift Box Project needs your help more than ever before; with the situation in the countries we help the boxes are more Humanitarian Aid than just a Gift Box. In 2019, 3,051 boxes were collected and donated to needy children.

The children receiving Gift Boxes are suffering in some of the worse conditions ever, not helped by the Coronavirus, making it particularly difficult for everyone. Their parents are unable to do very much as many have lost their jobs and others suffering from the virus or quarantine, lack of help and medical attention, no money and short of food, no schooling and no computers for online teaching, to name just a few of their problems. Life is difficult for them no matter how hard they try or how caring they are. 

Thank goodness the trucks are still able to transport the gift boxes and the mission's local staff are still willing to take the risk in distributing the boxes to those in need in each country. Please help and try to bring a little happiness and joy to the children who are suffering so much.

The website has been updated since last year; there are helpful videos and more useful information. The many different ways you can donate to the Gift Box Project if you are unable to make a box has been added.

Boxes accepted from 29 October until 16 November (last day); the truck will be collecting on 17 November. The drop off points will be on the website soon.

We very much hope you will all be taking part in the collection as your boxes are so needed, it is very important we try to help these children with a Gift Box of hope and love.



Enter our competition to win a copy of The Expert Guide by Diccon Bewes, published by Bergli Books! If you haven't heard of Diccon Bewes before, then check out the many other books he has authored: Swiss Watching, Slow Train to Switzerland, Around Switzerland in 80 Maps, Le Suissologue, Der Schweizversteher; False Friends and How to be Swiss both published at Bergli Books. We wrote an article about Around Switzerland in 80 Maps in 2015 at this link

It was time to catch up with Diccon again and ask him about The Expert Guide,"I wanted the book to be fun as much as factual, so every page has a colour photo, information is in manageable chunks, there are lots of ideas for making the most of life here, and every expert has their own voice." Thanks to Bergli Books for offering one lucky knowitall.ch reader to win a copy, see below.

Why did you start? What has been the inspiration?
I know from personal experience that it's hard to live in another country in a different language. There's so much to get your head around, and so little information available in English, that it can feel overwhelming. I was lucky because when I moved here 15 years ago, I could ask my Swiss boyfriend for help. Not everyone has that lifeline. That was my starting point for this book, making it as useful as possible for anyone living here already, just arrived or thinking of moving here. But I also wanted it to show that life here is wonderful so alongside all the practical information, it is packed with inspiration for travelling around Switzerland, enjoying your free time and making friends (which isn't always that easy here). A sort of work-life balance in one book.

Have you been working on this idea forever, or was it something that came to you recently?
It was fairly recent as I've been busy with other projects. About two years ago, Richard Harvell, my editor at Bergli Books, asked me if I'd write a new book to help foreigners living here. I knew one was needed but I was about to go off on a five-month world trip so we put the idea on hold while I was travelling. By the time I came back, I'd realised that although I know Switzerland really well, I wasn't the right person to give in-depth advice on the likes of tax, visas, pensions or schools. My solution was to ask the experts, and suddenly we had a great concept for the book.

SCAMMER images

By Lisa Cirieco-Ohlman

I'm going to share a horrible experience I had on 10 July this year, in the hopes that it helps any of our readers to avoid this. This is the email I sent to my friends right after it happened:

I had such a trauma this afternoon. I had someone try to scam me. I have something on FB to sell (a closet, see top left in photo) through a FaceBook group I have not used before called Genève Petit Annonces. This person (Stephanie Dumont, see bottom left Messenger insert) contacted me to say they want it. They asked if they could pick up tomorrow so I said yes and gave all my home details and phone number and email.

They were in France and I didn't see all the 'red flags' until after the whole ordeal was over. They said they were using a courier service and that the money would be sent to be via them first and then they would also pick up the article. (I didn't give bank details fortunately.) So I said, "OK you can send me the money first" (right? sounds ok).

So I get 3 suspiciously written emails from servicedpdexpress28 @gmail.com asking me to pay for the insurance (suspicious... why would dpd have a gmail email address?). Stephanie told me that she would reimburse the insurance by adding it to the total so I wouldn't have to pay anything extra. Insurance would have been €100. I said that the emails were suspicious and they didn't look legit and I was calling off the transaction and didn't want to deal with her anymore.

She told me that she had already sent the money through and they wouldn't reimburse her and if I didn't click on the link in the email to pay the money that she would take me to court!

She sent a lot of nasty messages after that and I ignored her except telling her that I had called the real courier company that I found online. They had no record of anything as there was no reference number in the emails; nor address or client service number. There were spelling mistakes and it looked like this email had been forwarded many times (see photo on right).


The new stamps from the Swiss Post Office were released a few weeks ago. It is so exciting to see what they have come up with. My favorite ones this time are the Ceneri 2020: the set of 10 stamps is actually 5 sets. They can be used separately as 10 x Fr. 1.- or used as a row of Fr. 2.- as the image is panoramic and the middle stamp is of no monetary value. They would brighten up an invitation or holiday card envelope.

The other one is oversized and I wasn't expecting that when I ordered! It is celebrating the 900 years of Engelberg Monastery measuring 10.5 x 7cm! You won't be able to use this on a regular envelope as it would cover up the address. Think of this one if you are sending a package or giant birthday card.

As the Geneva Airport is celebrating its 100th anniversay this year, a commemorative stamp was released. It has a vintage vibe that I really like, so this will be my stamp of choice for awhile (and I can't resist a "jet d'eau" illustration either).

We wrote about the beer-themed ones already at this link; great to use for a party invitation! They still have them on order so I got a new sheet as I can’t resist these ones. Unfortunately the fondue one was no longer available... it is always a good idea to get your sheet when you see it as the stamps never get outdated. See the article at this link to see what I'm talking about. I ended up framing the fondue sheet as artwork!


Know-it-all passport® is happy to announce a great opportunity for our creative community again! We are currently seeking vendors for our 5th edition of Know-it-all Marketplace that will showcase local* creative people who have a passion and love to share this passion. We can already count on some of our regular's such as Chocolat Madouce'Heure, Spice Angel savory jams, Lanxel candles, Sue's handmade greeting cards, Création Ose's decorative plates, Oh la Vache's amazing cow patterns, as well as many more. We can host between 50-65 vendors in our 250m2 space!

Even with Covid-19 as our new norm, we know that between masks, hand sanitizer, and social distancing, we will be able to maintain a fun and healthy environment. Planète Charmilles have informed us that there was an increase of sales in July this year compared to 2019... people are still buying and wanting to have a normal life. When we announced will be holding the shop this year, this is what one of our client's wrote to us: Thank you for the wonderful news that your creativity will bring joy and happiness again this year. And surely also the magic of Christmas, so thank you... it's a beautiful gift that you give us and your welcome is always so friendly and smiling.

Corinne from Création Ose wrote, "Thanks again for all the effort in organizing this again; I am delighted to relive these moments of sharing which each year are magnificent."

This 5th edition pop-up shop (temporary shop) will be held in Planète Charmilles, a central Geneva location, for the weeks leading up to Christmas. If you dabble in any of the following areas, or one that is not listed (even better) then please ask for an application form:

  • fabric items
  • mosaic
  • stained glass
  • painted furniture
  • painted items
  • paper items
  • metal items
  • handmade candles
  • ceramic
  • porcelain
  • perfume
  • jams
  • honey
  • jewelry
  • serving plates
  • soap
  • Christmas decorations
  • quilts
  • cards
  • local authors
  • leather items
  • items for men
  • upcycled items
  • etc.