All across the country, people are being ding-dong-ditched by mysterious strangers. But this particular case is a bit different from your typical teenage prank. When people open their doors, instead of annoyance, they’re met with a heartwarming surprise.
The movement was started by a group of moms who wished to spread joy during quarantine season. Wine seemed like the universal choice to cheer people up, so they decided to initiate a Facebook group called “Sisterhood of the Traveling Wine.”
From there, women would collect the addresses of wine lovers in their communities and ask which varieties of wine they prefer to receive. They then create a personal gift basket and deliver them to doorsteps, ringing the doorbell and running for cover to keep in line with social distancing. Decked in wings, tutus, and magic wands, participating members call themselves “wine fairies,” and you can “wine” and “be wined” as many times as you’d like.
The idea caught on, and soon people started creating their own wine fairy communities in their region. Active groups currently cover 10 states, and the mystical, do-good fairies hope to eventually launch into all 50. The movement has become so popular that some Facebook communities now total over 78,000 members. Alternative versions of this gift-giving group have also sprung up, including the “Brotherhood of Booze and Beer” and a nonalcoholic version for kids.
“It is a true ding-dong-ditch to bring happiness and to let you feel like you’re being supported by an amazing community,” Tracy Murley, the founder of Canton Sisterhood of the Traveling Wine, told Good Morning America. “It is not an expectation to receive; it is an opportunity for giving, and when you do receive, you know someone is there for you.”
While the group is known best for wine, gift baskets also include coffee and other non-alcoholic drinks, food, and self-care items like face masks and bath bombs, according to Lyssa McClenahan, a member of the Canton chapter. It’s even grown so large that local businesses are offering items to include in the baskets. A local clothing company in Canton volunteered to make T-shirts for the group and donate 70 percent of the proceeds to a woman’s shelter in Ann Arbor, Mich.
According to Facebook group moderators, the baskets not only brighten each other’s day during the coronavirus pandemic, which is often leading to increased feelings of loneliness, but serve as a way to build a community. In the Facebook group, women are connecting and bonding with people around them they’ve never met over things like having similar tastes in wine, being single mothers, or enjoying the same hobbies.
After the pandemic, chapters are hoping to expand the idea to bigger communities with the possibility of in-person gatherings down the line. Cara Rindell, founder of the Raleigh chapter, told Good News Network that they’ve even been receiving messages from cruise lines about a potential cruise sisterhood.
“We get so lost in everything we do every day and running kids here and there and everywhere and we get so competitive,” said Murley. “I think this has really united our community and opened us up to where we’re willing to know our neighbor. Maybe it took a pandemic to get us here, but let’s not lose it.”