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Valentine’s Day Office Etiquette

Valentine’s Day is a day full of warm and fuzzy feelings that come in the form of cards, candy, and flower arrangements. But what happens when you try to celebrate this day of cherub love in the office? Let’s go over some ground rules for dishing out cards and treats to co-workers. Choo-choo-choose wisely; your decision on what to gift can either make or break your reputation.

Rules for cards

office card

Thinking of handing out cards around the office? If are going to go down this paper-filled road, opt for a card that does not mention any of the following words: love, heart, passion, yearning, lust (you get the gist of it). Steer clear from affection and opt for a neutral card that shows affection by saying “you rock” instead of “love you”.  Avoid cartoons and superheroes to dodge comments that you’re too immature and stick to inanimate objects and animals. Want to be funny? Keep it punny – that’ll be sure to crack people up and have them focus on the friendly, humourous message you’re trying to convey.

What to gift


If you decide to participate in this day devoted to love, spread the love to all co-workers. There is nothing worse than a few people being singled out from the rest. Avoid favouritism by choosing a gift like baked goods or chocolates which can be shared with everyone in the office. Keep the icing hearts and x’s and o’s for family, and keep things platonic with your officemates. Pink and red icing are in the safe zone as long as l-o-v-e isn’t written out in icing across the top of anything edible.

Rules for what not to gift

While we’re on the subject of giving, here is our Valentine’s Day blacklist for gifts that you shouldn’t give out in the office:


  • Flowers on Valentine’s Day are romantic. Sorry if we’ve burst your bubble, but if you’re planning on sending a co-worker red roses, dodge the awkwardness that follows flowers in the workplace and make potpourri with them instead.

Heart-shaped anything

  • Heart-shaped candy, heart-shaped cards or teddy bears holding a heart can be left at the store for people gifting to someone other than their co-workers. Don’t let any of those items cross the threshold of your office’s perimeter. Don’t do it. No hearts. Period.

Perfume or cologne

  • Don’t send scented gifts in the form of perfume or cologne. Wanting someone you work with to smell a certain way or to wear your favourite scent will send them running all the way to HR.
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