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Ideas for Creating a Secret Valentine Gift Exchange

Judy has been an online writer for eight years. She enjoys writing about topics such as holidays, parties, dogs, and travel.

Learn how to host a Secret Valentine gift exchange. Heart-shaped candy would make a great gift!

Learn how to host a Secret Valentine gift exchange. Heart-shaped candy would make a great gift!

The Concept Behind a Secret Valentine Exchange

Many people are familiar with the concept of a “Secret Santa” gift exchange during the holidays, where people agree to participate in several days of gift-giving. The idea is that the participants don’t know who is giving the gifts each day until the final day when the Secret Santa is revealed.

Here’s a new twist on an old idea: Since Valentine’s Day is all about expressing love, consider setting up a Secret Valentine’s gift exchange with a group of friends, co-workers, or family members the week preceding Valentine’s Day on February 14th. With the December holidays all but a memory and winter in full swing, the concept of a gift exchange that doesn’t involve an “over the top” attitude is a welcome one.

Things You Will Need to Get Started:

It is simple to arrange the Secret Valentine exchange program if you follow these tips:

  • Have one person coordinate the names of participants, and have that person notify each participant who they will be gifting throughout the week.
  • Invite your potential participants in mid to late January to join in the fun in order for them to purchase or make the gifts that they will be giving.
  • Each participant will be assigned someone in the exchange to give a small daily gift to over the four work days leading up to Valentine’s Day and one bigger gift for the final day of the exchange (more on the final day later).

Suggested Dollar Limit

A suggested dollar limit should be agreed upon by all participants at the start of the exchange. This helps set the tone for the exchange. Typically, the participants should agree on a total dollar amount for the entire exchange (say $20.00) so as to encourage lots of participants to join in.

A lower total dollar amount not only encourages more people to join in but also makes gift giving easy as there are many, many low-priced Valentine’s day trinkets suitable for the gift exchange to be easily found. Keep in mind: It is the thought that counts and the fun of trying to guess who one’s “Secret Valentine” is.

The Final Day of the Exchange: The "Big Reveal"

On the final day of the exchange, all participants should gather at a designated location in order to reveal their Secret Valentines.

One by one, participants should award their final gift to the person they have been “gifting” all week, as well as guess who their Secret Valentine was. This provides all participants the chance to thank their Secret Valentine as well as to be thanked for their participation.

This gathering can be done during a social hour for the group, with treats and beverages being served. It is great fun to see and hear the group discussing the tricks that were employed in trying to remain a secret!

A stuffed animal can be one of the daily gifts!

A stuffed animal can be one of the daily gifts!

Gift Ideas: The Possibilities Are Plentiful!

  • Chocolate (a "no brainer" right?!)
  • Candy Hearts (Remember the hearts with the words written on them?)
  • Novelty items such as window clings, heart key chains, etc. make good “daily gifts”
  • Homemade treats (There's nothing like some homemade yummy cookies or chocolate-covered pretzels!)
  • Valentine tea towels (Every powder room or kitchen could use some hearts.)
  • Gift cards for stores such as Target or Starbucks, local restaurants, movie theaters, or even an Amazon Kindle gift card where you can set your own giving amount make a good “final gift”
  • A paperback book
  • A DVD
  • Valentine’s candle holder
  • Coffee mug with hearts on it (Better yet, fill the mug with chocolate or candy hearts!)
  • Office supplies: heart-shaped post-it notes, valentine’s pens and pencils, etc.
  • Stuffed animal (a cute teddy bear or anything with hearts on it fits the bill)
  • Valentine socks (There are lots of colorful socks on the market these days!)
  • Hand lotion
  • Packets of hot cocoa or assorted tea (You might want to put these in a mug as well!)
  • Photo frame
  • Find out something about the person you are gifting and give something that they are fond of—say some merchandise from their favorite sports team or college or university.
  • A magazine (This is another spot where you can give a magazine that is tailored to the person's interests and/or hobbies.)
  • Use free printables to create some fun, crafty items.
  • Coupons to the local car wash (a unique and often appreciated gift)

Be creative—the possibilities are endless!

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Read More From Holidappy

Walgreens stores have a seasonal aisle with interesting ideas for gifts!

Walgreens stores have a seasonal aisle with interesting ideas for gifts!

Great Places to Shop for Gifts:

  • The Dollar Store—Get lots of the daily gifts here.
  • Target (especially the dollar bins in the front of the store)
  • Walgreens—The seasonal aisle has many choices.
  • CVS—Check out the sale prices.
  • Kohl’s—Good for the final gift.
  • Rite-Aid—Think outside of the box for some of the daily gift items.
  • Your local grocery store or discount store—you might be surprised by what you find!

A Secret Valentine’s Day Exchange Is the Perfect Activity for Lots of Different Groups

A secret Valentine’s Day exchange is a low-key, yet fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day in style, and it helps to chase the winter blues away as well!

A secret Valentine’s exchange is a great idea for:

  • school staffs,
  • sororities,
  • book clubs,
  • youth groups,
  • scout troops,
  • church groups
  • teams,
  • or any other group or organization that wants to have some fun!

This can even be made into a one-evening event—such as a girl’s night out—where guests bring a wrapped gift to exchange, and numbers are pulled. Then, beginning with number one, each person chooses one of the gifts to take home.

Let your imagination run, and you will find that a Valentine’s gift exchange is one idea that people will love!


Judy HBerg (author) on January 15, 2014:

Thanks AlyGutier for sharing your great idea! It seems like this would be a perfect fit for "Secret Valentines"!

AlyGutier on January 14, 2014:

I sent Surprisemegifts for birthdays and Holidays. its Just $10 and all the gifts have been great

Judy HBerg (author) on February 01, 2012:

Thanks and congrats to you as well!

Best wishes for a bright second year hubbing!!

craftarrific from California on January 15, 2012:

Sweet ideas! I see this was written almost a year ago but the timing is perfect. I also wanted to congratulate you on one year at Hubpages. I just hit that milestone too.

Judy HBerg (author) on February 08, 2011:

Deborah thanks for for checking out my hub as well as for your comments.

Deborah Demander from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on February 07, 2011:

Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination. This was an interesting hub. Thanks for writing.


Judy HBerg (author) on February 06, 2011:

Thanks Ripplemaker for your comments as well as the nomination. I am honored to have been nominated!

To Alernative Prime, thanks for your comments and enjoy this time of year!

Alternative Prime from > California on February 06, 2011:

Hi Judy, Congratulations on the Nomination,

Excellent idea and sounds like fun. "Valentine's Day" is absolutely one of my favorite times of the year, the romance, passion, suspense of finding out who that secret admirer is. It's just a lighthearted and spirited time.

THX for sharing the idea.

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on February 04, 2011:

Hi Judy, absolutely an excellent idea! If one can bring creativity into any occasion, that will surely bring the best out of it! To your joy this Valentine's Day!

Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. Do check it out:

Participate in the Hubnuggets forum:

Judy HBerg (author) on February 04, 2011:

Avamum thanks for your comments. Like you, I ran into a Secret Valentine's exchange at work and I agree it was a hoot.That's why I wanted to share the idea!

Sarita Harbour from Yellowknife, Canada on February 04, 2011:

Good ideas here and I like the way your hub is organized. When I was working outside the home we did Secret Valentine's every year at the office and it was a hoot! Congrats on your hubnuggets nomination.

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