Valentine's day boxes for adults in the workplace
February 4, 2013 9:30 AM   Subscribe

Do you have any suggestions for a group of graduate students doing Valentine's Day boxes at our desks at school (like we did for our elementary school Valentine's Day parties)? I need help with both box design, as well as suggestions for the Valentines themselves!

This year, I proposed setting out Valentine's Day boxes in our graduate student office. You the ones we set out in elementary school for all of our fellow students to put candy and cartoon character-themed cards in? I thought it would be a fun thing to do in our gloomy basement office this time of year. My initial thought is for all of us to make some kind of box, set them on our desks on Valentine's Day, and put candy and cards in the boxes throughout the day (we all have desks in two big shared rooms, which are open throughout the day).

However, I've discovered that I have no idea how to adapt the magic of the Valentine's Day box/classroom candy exchange to the graduate student office environment, either for the boxes or the candy/cards. I remember possibly cutting out pictures from magazines and gluing them onto shoeboxes, but I was wondering if anyone more creative than me had any better and less time-intensive ideas. I've been browsing Pinterest, but the suggestions there seem distinctly geared toward those elementary school parties (although I kind of like the Kleenex monster boxes).

I'd also welcome ideas for kind, small, cheap candy/gifts/cards that I could give out, besides kind words to my colleagues printed on SpongeBob SquarePants card stock.

We have several international students in my office who have no idea what I'm talking about when I say "Valentine's Day boxes," so pictures would be helpful.

We are psychology/linguistic students studying language processing, in case that matters.
posted by joan cusack the second to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Here's what the Google Image Search yielded. If you do a search on Valentine's Mailboxes for kids, you'll get a butt-load of craft ideas.

Conversation Hearts are a typical gift, although they are "Chalky and Unpleasant!"

Heart-shaped boxes of chocolates come in a variety of sizes.

As a joke, because they were so broke when they were first married, my Dad bought my mom a HUGE heartshaped box, but instead of bon-bons, he filled it with Hershey's kisses.

You can make your own valentines cards. I'm personally looking for the old school, corny pun cards. Because they are awesome!

I Choo Choo Choose you!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:38 AM on February 4, 2013

I know exactly what you're talking about here, but this is the kind of fun nostalgic thing that can get lost in translation when you've got a big group of people from different places and backgrounds (like grad students). People may not have enough understanding of the tradition or enough time to be super creative, especially if they have to make both valentines for everyone AND a box for them to go in.

Why don't you have a box-making party a few days before Valentine's Day? People will be more likely to spend time/be creative if they're being social as well, and those who didn't grow up with this activity will get a better sense of it. Then, having already been exposed to the idea, they can figure out how to do the valentines for everyone (whether handmade cards or cheap lollipops from a bulk bag).

"Card box" as a search term will bring up the kind of boxes that people make to put on gift tables at weddings & parties. They are often highly decorated/DIY, and that might set you on the right track if you're really wanting to do something that will take a lot of work and is more adult than the valentine-mailbox route. But I don't think you need to adapt this too much for adults. I mean, it's a pretty childish activity. I would not appreciate something like this in my professional work environment, for instance, but it seems like a fun throwback/distraction for grad students. If I was in your group, I would go and get the box of Phineas and Ferb valentines at Target and give those out, unless I was feeling super energized and wanted to make cookies or something.
posted by aabbbiee at 9:57 AM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

As for the Valentine's themselves, here's a few suggestions:

"Roses are red, ABDs are blue, sugar* is sweet, and so are you"

A picture of library bookshelves (bonus for a picture of your own library), overlaid with the words "Wishing you stacks of love on Valentine's day."

What field are you in? I'm sure there must be a TON of chemistry jokes you could make. If you do anything with statistics, you could go for "Our differences aren't statistically significant."

* replace "sugar" with anything appropriate for your university.
posted by OrangeDisk at 10:17 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

We have several international students in my office who have no idea what I'm talking about when I say "Valentine's Day boxes,"

I know it seems like a cute idea, but this will only lead to regret. I guarantee you that feelings will be hurt .
posted by mdrew at 10:45 AM on February 4, 2013

Where I work for Christmas we put out paper bags, 1 for each staff member, a few weeks ahead of the date for people to leave trinkets/candy/cards in if they choose.

Maybe purchasing bags would help those who don't really get the tradition? If you bought plain red bags people could still decorate them if they wanted.

At work our bags were just pinned to various bulletin boards because there's over 100 of us.

I think doing something for Valentine's day is a really fun idea !
posted by MadMadam at 11:22 AM on February 4, 2013

Would you consider doing one box for the entire office and then having people toss candy or stuff in that? Individual Valentine's are a cute idea, but maybe not so easy to execute or understand for someone who didn't get the same cultural upbringing.

Plus, only one box to decorate.
posted by 26.2 at 12:33 PM on February 4, 2013

Yeah, I'd just go to a dollar store and get paper bags. That worked at my work.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:19 PM on February 4, 2013

I taught second grade last year and we just decorated brown paper bags with crayon drawings and a few construction paper cut-outs we glued on so I can vouch for the elementary-school authenticity of this approach.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 3:24 PM on February 4, 2013

Here are some DIY printable Valentine boxes .
posted by biscuits at 6:35 PM on February 4, 2013

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