Valentine’s Day as we know it today dates back to the middle-19th century first in England and later the United States. The first mass-produced cards were themselves Valentine’s crafts, decorating simple cards with paper lace and floral decorations. Yet, in these cynical times, Valentine’s Day is simply known as a “greeting-card” holiday that causes problems in relationships—for not getting the “right” gift—or makes the single feel that much more miserable.
All this may be true, but we parents can still avail ourselves of the opportunity to highlight the “good” parts of the holiday for our children. Any excuse to show or tell the people you love that you love them is a good thing and can be a valuable experience for a child. Yet, rather than simply buying chocolates or tear-along-the-dotted-line Valentine’s cards, take the time to create your own special greetings.
One idea would be for boys and girls to create Valentine’s crafts that don’t reflect their own tastes, but what the recipient likes. For example, if your son is football-obsessed and eschews all things “girly,” why not have him create a card (for his mother, sisters, or his “crush”) full of lace and glitter and hearts? And vice versa for girls. Thus kids can still express themselves, but do so in a style that another person appreciates, a bit of “artstic selflessness” if you will.
Another idea would be to pair Valentine’s crafts with action. For example, leave a trail of Valentine’s clues around the house that lead to your own Valentine’s greetings for them. Then, they can do the same for you. Or, with the help of an adult of course, kids can treat their mother or fathers to Valentine’s day-themed foods. Heart-shaped breakfast foods (French toast, pancakes, or omelets if you are so-skilled) or later-in-the-day treats can be Valentine’s crafts you can eat.
There is no clear meaning of “Valentine’s Day” beyond doing something nice for people that you love. Regardless of the cynicism surrounding the holiday, any excuse to do things with your family is a good one. And, with memories of Valentine’s Day like this, it will never be a sad holiday for them.