Valentine Swap: It’s On!

Update: The Signup is now closed. If you already signed up, look for your email on Feb 2nd. Thank you!

It’s that time of year: THE SEVENTH ANNUAL VALENTINES EXCHANGE.

I’m going to be honest, I nearly backed out this year. But so many folks contacted me saying they wanted something to look forward to – and I feel you on that front, ladies – that I backed off on my backing off. However, sadly, this will probably be the last year for me. I’ll find an alternative swap to recommend next year, but this rodeo takes a way more administrative time than I can handle these days (or afford to hire out). Bummer right? Sorry folks, I don’t like talking down either, I’m just letting you know, in case you wanted to sign up but never have…THIS is it.

For the seventh year in a row (SEVEN?), I am inviting my readers to participate in the biggest, most snazztastic valentine swap of all! Last year more than 1,600 Valentines were exchanged between total strangers. 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.

Now. Y’all ready for this?

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 fill out the signup form before midnight CST on Jan 28.

– 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 can 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 28, no problem. Just send me an email (valentines@auntpeaches.com) — no harm, no foul. If you back out after Jan 28, 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!

If you have signed up in the past and did not mail your valentines, the likelihood of me hearing about is around 100%. Your name is on a list. If you don’t get an email from me on Feb 2nd, this is why. Also, if you posted pictures of your valentines on social media and said anything less than stellar compliments about those Valentines, your name is also on a list and will not be receiving an email Feb 2nd.

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!

Click here to fill out the signup form.  (SIGNUP IS NOW CLOSED) One signup per person, please. Some folks like to signup for each of their kids – that’s fine, but please use a different name and email each time you fill it out. I will assume if one name appears twice it is an accidental duplicate.

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?). Okay, enough with the Debbie Downer stuff, let’s get cracking on those Valentines! Here are some of the fantastic cards from swaps in the past…

Comments

  1. says

    As Tina Belcher would say “my heart just pooped its pants.” But like….with excitement. Woo! I love Valentine’s Day and I’m gonna get started on these tomorrow!!!!

  2. Laurinda says

    I almost backed out this year too! But I DO love knitting little valentines…

  3. Cassandra Miller says

    Hello,

    I participated in the Valentine exchange 2 years ago and would love to participate again! I am living in a very rural area of Namibia, and only go to town once a month. I’m interested in participating, but I would need to have addresses by January 29th because our town trip will take place on Jan 30th. Would you be able to send three addresses my way a bit earlier?

    All the best,
    Cassie Miller

    • aunt peaches says

      Send me an email and I’ll see what I can do valentines @ auntpeaches.com 🙂

  4. PlumpKitty says

    Thank you for organizing this…I am sure that it is a world of work, but I so appreciate it! I have participated the last three years, and it has been a highlight of my winter.
    All the best wishes to you, Peaches!

    • aunt peaches says

      So glad you got in on the fun!

  5. says

    Such a good game. I bet every people that can read this will surely join. Valentines is coming near and love is everywhere.

  6. karen merrill says

    FYI — I’m happy to be on the back up list if anyone gets flaked. Heart are my ‘thang’ & I love doing mail art so…..just sayin’ but I KNOW you wont need that ( I’m still here for you though just in case)

  7. says

    So maybe someone here, one of your loyal readers who would be interested or willing to take over the swap! I’m not great with technology, but I would be willing to help out with what ever I could!

    • aunt peaches says

      I helped two other bloggers set up similar swaps, and I would refer you to them, but both quit after two years. I’m going to be really blunt: It’s 50-100 hours of work, depending on the size. No money, mostly data entry and dealing with complaints, folks who want exceptions to the rules that require reconfiguring the data table, folks who didn’t read the email, or trying to track down people who didn’t send their cards. It’s somewhere between customer service and debt collection. I love y’all, but there is a time to call it a day.

      If someone wants to pickup the baton, I am *more than happy* to hand it over, but I would feel horrible if someone signed up not knowing what they were getting. It is a lot of work.

      • Amy Doherty says

        Hi Aunt Peaches!

        I have had both customer service AND debt collection jobs in the past…I have 100 hours to spare (no, I’m not kidding) and would like to learn how to run this on the level you do (which is amazing). I have a friend who had me sign up (my Valentine cards are already done and ready to address) and wants to help me do it. She has participated in this for many years and I am her office assistant. She uses the exchange as an example to her art students (kids) as ways we can spread creativity to people we don’t even know and brighten their days. I am ok with chasing down people who don’t send cards. Sending them hair? I was thinking dead bugs. There is always a nice pile of them in the corner of my garage come spring time. 🙂

        • aunt peaches says

          Awesome! If you can set up a site with a means of collecting form data (or a facebook page + survey monkey account sort of thing – I suppose there are a lot of ways to do it)…let me know by the end of 2017. Most of the work goes on late January and early Feb, but people start asking right after the holidays. I’ll know where to send them! 🙂

  8. says

    Sound coming good and i really like it. you suggested so good way to celebrate valentine but i don’t have more knowledge about it.

  9. Karen says

    I loved participating a few years ago- this is such a fun activity, thanks for your years of organising!! If this is the last year, I’m definitely in!

  10. Dana says

    Aunt P–I’m so glad you’re rallying for all of us and hosting this spectacular love fest one more time. I’m sure it’s a tremendous amount of work to manage and play postmaster but we do appreciate it and love you much! Excited to participate for the first time ever.

  11. Allison says

    Do you have a P.O. Box where we could send valentines to you?

    • aunt peaches says

      No, not anymore. People have been so kind to me in the past (as mentioned above)…but I am rarely able to reciprocate, so I tell folks, Take the card you would send to me and send it to someone who would not expect it – they will appreciate it the most! 🙂

  12. Dana says

    Well, I must say I’m disappointed and a little sad. I only received 1 valentine. Perhaps this is the reason you’ve decided not to organize this anymore–too many flakey people. It’s only the 16th–maybe the other 2 are simply late–fingers crossed. Anyhow, just wanted to thank you again for organizing this. It was so much fun to participate in. Hope you’re V day was a goodie.

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