While she was at school, my informant partook in a Valentine’s Day activity wherein each child in the class makes Valentine’s cards for everyone, and then makes a box and decorates the box. Children then go around and put their cards in everyone else’s box. She said that she was not very good at arts and crafts as a young child and so she thought her box was terrible and plain compared to everyone else’s. According to my informant, the other children’s boxes had dancers and straws and ballerinas and other fancy figures on the side of the box, and she felt very embarrassed about the state of her box. Later in life, she said she realized that the other children had fancy boxes because their parent’s helped to make them.
When I was in elementary school, we too participated in the ritual of exchanging Valentine’s day cards. We made our own box, but we usually just went out and bought a set of Valentine’s day cards at the store, which came in packs of 16 or 20. Also it was tradition to tape a small portion of candy onto your Valentine’s cards. Cards were given to every student regardless of the gender of the giver or the recipient. For us, Valentine’s day was less about the making of boxes and more about getting free candy.