Take Any Heart

This year’s Valentine’s Day celebration / penance wasn’t cards for selected individuals: It was a benevolent lucky dip for everyone at work. Here’s how it came together…

The first task was learning to make an origami heart – these are the instructions I followed.
I bought a roll of red paper, cutting it into 7cm squares.
Why a roll of paper? There needed to be one heart for every member of staff present that day, plus a few spares.
I assembled 121 of the things.

121 Origami Hearts

I ended up using around 110, but still.
To work out how big a bowl I needed to buy, I poured them all into food bowls to see how much volume they’d take up.

A Stainless Steel Bowl filled with paper hearts. This is that purchased bowl. Thanks, Pound Land.

Then I decided to cut the spare tabs off the backs, to make them a little neater.


Obviously, more people would take a heart if there was an incentive. I bought a selection box from the supermarket, and checked how many chocolates were inside.

Selection box of chocolates. No fancy flavours like champagne or orange for people to dislike.

You’ll have noticed on the top photos that the origami hearts open at the front. As there were 20 chocolates in the selection box, I stuck a shiny gold star sticker inside 20 hearts. This made the odds of winning around 1 in 6, with odds improving the more hearts were taken from the bowl. Putting the stars inside also meant it wasn’t obvious which hearts were winners until you’d made your selection.

Origami heart with gold star sticker inside.

To make sure no-one missed my setup in work’s reception, and to give concise instructions, I made a sign from more paper, double-sided tape, a wooden spatula, and a (clean!) toothbrush holder from the bathroom. The holder was stuffed with kitchen roll to keep the spatula upright.

Spatula-based sign.

Final office-based tasks included emailing HR (to make sure springing this on people was OK), setting an email to all staff to go out at a later time (as I had the morning off), leaving the kit with the receptionist the night before and explaining the plan to them.

The next afternoon I showed up, and the result was waiting:

Valentine's Day Lucky Dip setup, in situ.

It didn’t exactly set the world on fire (or anyone’s heart), but all in all, it cost little more than a fiver and made a bunch of people happy. Even if one girl did cheat and draw six hearts until she won…

One thing I liked about this idea is that, unlike Valentine’s Day itself, even the single and separated people were welcome to join in. There was even the chance that more single people would win chocolates than married folk – alas, I don’t know who all the winners were, so can’t confirm if that came to pass.

Did you guess the post title reference? Here’s the answer.