Cooped up in our little NCLAC office, still shaking off the cold from our commute to work, our thoughts turned to warmer things this week, like the idea of soon making Valentines this year for our loved ones.
When did people start making Valentine’s Day cards? Surely they didn’t start out as a ploy to sell tons of chocolate roses. Did you know Valentine cards have been finding their way from one love to another for over 500 years? Now that is what we call a “tradition!” Love songs, poems, and red-colored notes became especially popular in the Victorian era. Their popularity only increased as postal routes become more regular and reliable through the 1800s. It wouldn’t be long before businesses began to take notice and mass-produce their own brands of the Cupid-laden cards.
You can still make your own Valentine’s Day cards though. Children especially love to craft a Valentine gift by hand, and with a little glue and paper it’s easy to do! Accordion-fold paper as if you’re going to make paper dolls, but instead cut half of a heart out of the side of the paper, that will become a full heart once unfolded, and hang the “string of love” over your doorway or bathroom mirror. For school lunches you can cut sandwiches, fruit and veggies (and of course cookies) into hearts with a cookie cutter. Valentine decorating can become a life-long family tradition of love that your kids will never forget.
Anyone can learn to make Valentine’s Day cards, but if you are the determined-un-crafty sort, there are plenty of other things you can do to demonstrate your love, even when on a tight budget!
Homemade “gift certificates” are a great present, for example, “one long walk to be redeemed at a time of the recipient’s choosing,” or a promise to do “one dreaded household chore.” Certificates like these are also great for things like “an impromptu dinner out sans children,” or an “outdoor movie:” hang a sheet on your fence or wall and project a movie.
Take a moment to recall something you really enjoyed doing together that has gotten lost over the years, and make it a priority again by gifting it to your loved one this year!
Jessica Slaughter and Laura Hunt Miller