I’ve been obsessed with Valentine’s Day ever since I was a kid. But this year, with all of the political turmoil, I didn’t feel like celebrating a day of love — until I heard about Handmade Valentine Exchange.
My friend told me about this project that was launched three years ago by Julia Parris, which basically entails mailing Valentine’s Day cards to strangers. The thought of sending real Valentine’s Day cards to people I had never met helped get me out of my funk.
Here was a real way to spread love remind people that we’re not alone; that despite all the bullshit happening in the world, love will always matter.
So here’s how it works: By signing up, you commit to making 10 Valentine cards for people around the world. You’ll provide your mailing address and you’ll receive a list of names and addresses from people from around the world to send Valentines to. By signing up, you’ll get 10 cards, too!
Parris started this project five years ago, but she said this year more people were eager to participate.
“This year we received overwhelming participation from countries including U.S., Mexico, Canada, UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Poland, South Africa, India and New Zealand!” wrote Parris, a Brooklyn-based photographer and art director, via email.
The project first began simply because Parris loves receiving mail the old-fashioned way — you know, in a mailbox. Participation has grown to include over 2,000 people worldwide.
For inspiration, I checked #handmadevalentineexchange to see what people were creating.
CREDIT: Facebook/Caitlin LeMoine
People are so creative!
Some creations sent messages of hope.
While others reminded strangers how beautiful they are.
I turned to Lotería for my inspo.
CREDIT: Araceli Cruz
I used the cards to send messages of empowerment and love.
I wanted my culture to be reflected in my card, while reminding people how beautiful love is. What do you think of the finished product?
CREDIT: Araceli Cruz
I know they’re not as elaborate and stylish as the other ones, but I sent them with the best of intentions, lots of love, and that’s what counts, right?