Wednesday, January 16

Finding the Perfect Valentines


I took the girls to the store yesterday to pick out their class Valentine cards.  Yes, nearly a month before February 14th.  That's how we roll regarding holidays.  Except Halloween, that one we start planning for 2 months in advance.

The trend these days is definitely for kids to make their own cards.  There are so many adorable ideas out there.  But I love the old time-y feel of going to the drug store and picking out the box of cards.  I love the little envelopes (although they rarely come with them anymore.)  I love the cheesy pictures and clever sayings. 

My affection for these boxed Valentines was strengthened while we were living in Luxembourg.  The girls attended an English international school and it was there that I learned that English kids don't exchange Valentines or have a class party.  I delighted in sharing the Valentine traditions we have in the US, including the boxed cards - you know how I love little differences.  Instead of seeing the cards as commercial and uncreative I began to see them as an endearing part of our shared culture in the US.  A tradition that is unique to us in the US (don't know Valentine traditions in countries other than the US and England - please share if you do!)  It also reminded me of how much I loved choosing my cards as a kid; Garfield or Peanuts?

My girls love this tradition too.  We had some great discussions over the merits of Pet Shop cards over baby animal cards.  Or Monster High over Scooby Doo.  Simple childhood fun.

One part of the new Valentine card culture that I refuse to participate in is adding candy to class Valentines.  The marketing geniuses have made this seem like part of the deal.  It is not unlike Halloween with mini versions of nearly all varieties of candy.  Valentines Day is about the cards.  Period.  It is about friendship and kindness.  There is no candy needed for that. Or little toys (pencil, eraser, sticker, cling) for that matter.

We as parents don't want our kids to eat all of that candy.  Why do we add it to Valentines?  The point is clearer if you think of the cumulative effect of all 26 kids in class adding candy to their cards.  Then you end up with 15 cherry lollipops and 6 boxes of Conversation Hearts like we did last year.  Yuck.  It is too much.

What are your thoughts on Valentine cards and candy?  Please weigh in. 


Mad about Craft said...

Here in the UK, we only give cards to our sweethearts, anonymously! There aren't cards for children to give to other children as in the US

likeschocolate said...

They had this discussion on the radio the other day. The announcer was talking about how she was making cute valentines with her daughter using I think a pencil as the body for the butterfly. The the other guy said that she shouldn't be the mom who gave the pencils. My kids were in the car and they said they hate that too when they get pencils and would much rather have candy. Given my life is so hectic. I went the easy route and bought ours at Sams Club. They are bubble gum test tubes. The boys are so excited to pass them out!

suddenly sahm said...

Oh Katy, I couldn't agree more - the candy and little toy thing with the valentines drives me nuts!

Lena said...

I love your take on the traditional valentines with the cute sayings. I, too, have gone that route of "creating our own" but your point challenges me to reconsider, especially since soon I will have two in much larger class sizes than preschool! And those cards are pretty darn cute and fun. I guess I will see what the girls want to do. And yes, please NO more candy! I want to be the one to excite my kids with a treat on Valentines Day!

Unknown said...

ohh how I miss going to the drugstore and picking out valentines cards. I always wanted the strawberry shortcake ones! given our circumstances...we make our cards, usually some assortment of red/pink/white construction paper hearts and paper doilies. We'll see what comes out this year. love you xo S

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