Valentine Swap 2016

Update: Entrance to the annual valentine swap is now closed. Thank you to everyone who filled out the form – as of Feb 2nd, all addresses have been collected, shuffled, and sent back out. If you do not see your email, first *please check your spam filter*, and if that does not work, email me directly at valentines@auntpeaches.com. Please keep all contact to that email address only as it allows me a direct reply and it is very difficult for me to keep track of everyone’s info/inquiries over multiple social media platforms (I’m sure you understand). Thanks!

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It’s that time of year: THE VALENTINES EXCHANGE!

For the sixth year in a row, I am inviting my readers to participate in the biggest, most snazztastic valentine swap of all! Last year more than 600 folks participated from all around the world. That means more than 1,800 Valentines were exchanged between total strangers. Keeping track of all this can get dicey, so I’m making the sign up slightly different. The sign-up window is shorter and you will need to email me to request access to the signup form.

I know it’s a small hurdle but I want to ensure only the most dedicated Valentine makers will participate. All are welcome – but this is not for folks interested in getting some free cards. Long story short: Do not bother reading the rest of this post if you not equally enthused about making valentines as you are about receiving them. I have loved watching this swap expand every year, but I am okay with it getting smaller if it means all participants do just that: participate. Okay? Okay.

Now. Y’all ready for this?

valentine-exchange-2016

I know what you are thinking….

Gee, I love the sound of this valentine swap. How does it work?

Well friend, I am glad you asked. This is the nitty-gritty: You send three handmade valentines to total strangers = You will receive three handmade valentines from total strangers.

That sounds fun! Where do I sign up? How do I exchange addresses?
Good question. Let me break it down:

– You send me an email and you will receive an automated response with a link to the form.

– You fill out the signup form before midnight CST on Jan 30.

– You receive an email from me before the end of the day on Feb 2nd with the addresses of three total strangers.

– You send one valentine to each address you receive, no later than Feb 8.

-You receive three valentines sometime before/around Valentines Day.

What sort of Valentines should I send?
Handmade! It could be a simple scrap of paper with a doodle from your kids, or a stitched up and sequined masterpiece. Adding some glitter or a buttons to a pre-existing valentines is OK too. Just as long as it has a handmade touch and can fit in an envelope, it’s game.

I’m in! What else do I need to know?

– This exchange is open to anyone, anywhere, any skill level. No one is expected to buy anything except stamps (heads up: people who read this blog are scattered around the world, so we all might need to double up on stamps).

– You are welcome to include a note inside your valentines with information about yourself, your blog/website/etsy business etc…but it is not required or expected.

 – This is not an advertising opportunity. This is just a simple way to exchange random acts of kindness and send some love out into the world. No Debbie Downers, por favor.

– If you feel weird disclosing your name and address, I assure you I will not compile and use this information for any other purpose besides sending you valentines! PS: Please be sure to include your name. Some folks like to omit their name for privacy purposes and then the post office refuses deliver the cards, so just include your initials or nick name if you are uncomfortable with everyone getting up in your business.

HERE ARE SOME MORE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS...

I don’t like filling out forms, can’t I just reply in the comments or send you an email with my info?
Nope.

What happens if I get busy and can’t send a valentine? Can I back out at the last minute?
Good question. If you back out before Jan 30, no problem. Just send me an email (valentines@auntpeaches.com) — no harm, no foul. If you back out after Jan 30, that’s a problem. Your address will already be in circulation to three other people who will be sending cards to you. Those three people would be pretty peeved if they knew they were sending valentines to someone who was not holding up their end of the bargain, as would the three people who will not be getting your cards. So altogether, that’s six people who will be ticked at you. SIX. Do you really want to risk those kinds of karma points?

Is it okay to send my valentines after February 8? Or back out altogether?
No. It’s not okay. There will be 3 people who were assigned to receive your valentines and your lack of participation will ruin the swap for them. I am not okay with that. Also, people are very vocal about complaining to me about missing Valentines, so it is easy for me to figure it out who dropped the ball. And even if the recipient doesn’t know who didn’t send them a valentine, I will. And I’ll have your name and address.

*True story I like to share: There was one woman in Georgia who signed up for valentines two years in row and never sent any in return. Not one. When she didn’t respond to my emails – and there were multiple- I sent her an envelope of hair. Just hair. No return address. Just some trimmings I scooped off my hairdressers floor. I’m not sure if she ever traced it to me but I’m pretty sure that freaked her out. HEY GLORIA!

Can I share pictures of the lovely valentines I made and received?
Yes. I would love that! We would all love that. Please post them on any social media platform using hashtag #auntpeachesvalentineswap. If you aren’t into hashtags, post the picture on my Facebook page.  In the past, some folks have even become friends with the person who received their valentines. It’s pretty swell!

Can I request certain countries or areas of folks I want to swap with?
Nope. All assignments are made at random. FYI, in recent years around 70% of participants were located in the United States, 10% Canada, 10% UK, the rest were scattered around the world. One year there were like 40 people in Bulgaria. It was pretty rad.

Can I skip the swap and exchange valentines with you instead?
No. As much as I would love that, you would end up with the short end of the stick because I would not likely send one back (Yeah, I’m a bad person)…and that would just give me something to feel guilty about, which something I would like to avoid. Instead, I suggest sending a Valentine to someone you love who is not expecting one. It will make their day!

Can you tell me if my Valentines were received and what they thought of them?
No. This is a hard one for many people to understand, but I need to ask you to respect this policy. I know we all love feedback on stuff we mad, but this is the nature of anonymous swaps; we rarely hear back from the other person. This is the gift of giving without expectation of return. Also: logistics are hard. With hundreds of participants x3 cards each, I’m not able to act as a go-between. This is another reason why I encourage everyone to post images on social media. But don’t get ticked if you don’t see yours posted – not everyone is so tech savvy.

Okay, I’m in! Let’s get this party started!
Send an email to (THE SIGNUP WINDOW IS NOW CLOSED)

It’s an autoresponder so don’t worry about a text. Just use subject line “valentines” (or something) and within 90 seconds you will receive an email with a link to the signup form. If you don’t see it in your inbox – check your junk mail.  I’m not publishing the link in this post because I want to be 100% sure your email account will recognize future emails from me (that has been a problem in the past and it will be important on February 2nd when you receive your three addresses).

If you are singing up on behalf of a friend or family member with the same address, please use a different name each time you fill it out. I will assume if one name appears twice it is an accidental duplicate. After you fill out the form you will receive an automated confirmation email.

AND JUST BECAUSE THIS POST ISN’T LONG ENOUGH…

A special request from me. And this is a little awkward so I hope my meaning here is clear: Please feel free to invite a friend to join the swap, but please do not share this post on social media or in mail exchange forums. This swap is open to everyone, but I do not want to facilitate one-way valentines for people who found out about it on Facebook or a Reddit forum and couldn’t be bothered to read directions. (Can you tell this has been a repeat problem in the past?)

I’ll be honest, I nearly cancelled the exchange this year because so many of last years participants complained they were missing Valentines. This makes me feel awful. Many, many hours were spent on a follow up emails, most of which went unanswered. I’m still confident the good outweighs the bad, and I want to do this again, but I need to be sure that I’m not setting people up for disappointment.  I’m inviting participants who are invested and CANNOT WAIT TO SEND OUT THOSE VALENTINES! I want you to be just as excited to send as you are to receive. Sound good?

Awesome. Send me an email: (THE SIGN UP WINDOW IS NOW CLOSED)

PS: Here are some of the fantastic Valentines from the 2015 swap…

Comments

  1. Tracylee says

    I wish I could do it, but mail service in HI is unfortunately unreliable. To & from. Who knows what gotten lost in limbo (I’ve given up hope that juno’s drawing made it here, sorry)
    I’m in the Swap in spirit though definitely!
    ALSO
    Congratulations again on your pillows, I can’t wait til you sell ’em online and I can grab one!

    • aunt peaches says

      Oh dear…I am almost positive Juno’s portrait went out ages ago 🙁 Next time I’m on a portrait binge I’ll do another and send it with a TRACKING NUMBER. What use are these modern conveniences if we don’t use them?

  2. Katelyn says

    Once I have submitted the form, is there a confirmation email?

    • aunt peaches says

      Yes. You should see the confirmation email within a couple minutes. I *very* often goes directly to junk though – check your spam.

  3. Meg C says

    I participated for the first time last year and I loved creating and sending the valentines. I was in the craft store the other day and picked up some cute valentines themed sin catchers to paint and send with a card, but was bummed to see your post about being unsure of it working/participation issues of the past l. I’m so glad it is continuing! Thank you for all your hard work!

    • Meg C says

      *sun catchers!! (It’s kinda a pain to type on the phone…)

      • aunt peaches says

        Ha!…I like the idea of sin catchers more 🙂

  4. says

    I’d love to participate …swapping always jump starts my creativity when I’m feeling stuck & who doesn’t like to send & receive fun mail?

    • aunt peaches says

      Agreed!

  5. says

    What fun! Sent my email and waiting for the reply… and thinking designs while I wait.

  6. Lisa says

    So sorry to bother, but can you confirm that there is not a confirmation screen after submitting my info on the sign up form? I want to make sure I did everything right so I can begin working on mine! Thanks for your time 🙂

    • Lisa says

      Sorry again, I meant to say that a confirmation email would arrive, as I haven’t received anything within a couple of days of signing up. I did check my spam folder, and there is nothing there either.

      • aunt peaches says

        Yes, Lisa, assuming your zip code is 55417 I got your form. The confirmation email would have gone out Jan 28, 2016 at 7:48 AM. There is nothing vital in that email, but if you don’t see it that could indicate Gmail recognizes emails from me as spam, which could be trouble on Feb 2nd when the important email comes. So if it gets to Feb 3rd and you don’t hear from me – holler. 🙂

  7. Kate Coates says

    Hey Aunt Peaches! I am glad you are continuing your Valentines Swap. I have done it for I think three years in the past, and it has been wonderful to see what people have sent me and to see what others have made/sent on the blog. I am taking a year off, but I just wanted to give a shout out and say thanks for doing this every year and I do hope it goes a smoothly as possible this year! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  8. Katie Cope says

    Peaches,

    I didn’t get a confirmation that i was accepted.

    Katie

  9. says

    YAY! I’m so glad you did choose to do the swap again – email just sent and am eagerly awaiting the link!

  10. says

    Dang it! I missed the window to get into the Valentine swap this time. Rats! A friend and her daughter are moving into my third floor suddenly, urgently, but temporarily, and the past week has been chaotic. Maybe next year.

  11. Lynne says

    I appreciate all your hard work, and hope this doesn’t cause you more.
    I got my own name/address as one of the three. First I responded to the email, which actually put me in touch with a lovely gal named Valentine who knows nothing of the swap. Then I wrote to the valentines-at-aunt-peaches address, which, curiously, got me an “AWESOME” and a link to sign up — which of course i didn’t click since i know it’s closed, oh so closed. So now I’m hoping that I can reach you through the comments section. I don’t need to receive a third valentine, but I would like to get a third name, if possible. If not, I’ll be working on my two valentines tonight.

    • aunt peaches says

      Hey Lauren – please send me an email direct valentines@auntpeaches.com (I can’t reply here with someone’s private address) Thanks!