The Meaning of Valentines

stack of hearts, paper hearts, homemade valentines, valentine hearts, craft hearts, make your own valentines, colorful hearts“What was Valentine’s Day originally for? For sharing love?”

That’s what our third-grader asked as she glued hearts onto her  shoebox Valentine mailbox for school. She had just finished gleefully and proudly writing out Valentines for her classmates. She’s the third child so she gets store-bought Valentines now. I found cute ones that she loves, but I laugh and shrug at one more thing that I’ve let go of as the years pass: Homemade Valentines.

When the kids were younger, they created exuberantly, sitting among construction paper hearts, white lacy doilies (with all the little teeny flakes that fall out as you pull them apart) and scraps of pink, red and white. They rubber stamped cupids and hearts and Valentine’s Day wishes, they decorated rectangles into book marks and glued and glued and glued.

I drew the line at glitter. Have you ever tried to clean up a glitter spill? It will never ever actually completely go away, you will still see glitter at Christmas and in time for the next Valentine’s Day.

As my Mom did growing up, each Valentine’s Day, our tradition is to have a special family dinner. I’ll set the table homemade valentines, making valentines, what do valentines mean?, why do we send valentines?, valentine mailbox, doilies, valentine doilies, in the dining room with linen napkins, candles, Valentines and a small package at each place, a new book for each kid. I don’t make my own cards either, I buy my Valentine’s, too. (I’m a Hallmark girl – I love buying and sending cards!)

I savor selecting the perfect cards. For Nick, I often choose several. This year, I mailed a funny one to his office and he’ll have another waiting at dinner. I’ll find Valentines at my seat, too. Those poems and pictures lovingly made at school that warm my heart and the one that makes my heart flutter as I catch my husband’s eye across the table.

Our Valentine’s Day is about all of my sweethearts: the man I married and the three I birthed. We don’t need February 14th to ourselves, other evenings, Nick and I will have our date nights.  But tonight, we’ll reminisce about our first Valentine’s Day together 20 years ago and we’ll enjoy our kiddos and family time.

valentine love letter, love letters, sealed with love, wax seal on letter, hand written letters, red wax seal, sealed envelope, romantic letter, While the old-fashioned, nostalgic fun of making your own Valentines has perhaps seen it’s day in our house, in the end, it really doesn’t matter. Valentine’s Day is about the intention and the thought. It’s about acknowledging and appreciating our friendships and relationships.

At eight, Anna said it perfectly: Valentine’s Day is all about sharing love, however you do that.


Update: I guess we still have some homemade Valentine’s … I found this Post It Valentine on the bathroom mirror this morning.

post it valentine, I love you this much, love you to the moon and back, homemade valentine



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15 Responses to The Meaning of Valentines

  1. Love this post. I suddenly have the urge to break out the felt and make my husband an old fashioned valentine. Tonight my family is having pizza by candlelight.

  2. tqote says:

    Glitter is a hot mess. 😉 My husband and I have a hard time sending each other really mushy, lovey cards. Even though the sentiment is there, the cards almost always have to be tongue in cheek, sarcasm and dark humor. But, regardless of the fact that I can rarely show the kids the cards, the house is full of love. And that’s what matters!

    • Leah DeCesare says:

      That’s truly what matters! We all show it in our own ways! My husband got his funny card at work today. I often do both, humorous and sentimental. Even though I write, sometimes those cards just hit it on the head!

  3. This post made me all warm and fuzzy inside. I LOVE the special dinner tradition you do- what a beautiful idea. And I helped my oldest daughter craft cards this year, but that’s because I only have one in school and we started a week out! I know it won’t last forever. 🙂 And the little notes and cards are precious. What a heartfelt family post!

    • Leah DeCesare says:

      Thank you, Jen! Starting a week ahead is so smart especially with newer, slower writers. Taking the pressure off actually makes it more fun!

  4. I made a Valentine onesie for Addie… she is COVERED in sparkles. Never again- I wish I’d read this first.

  5. Glitter? {shudder.shudder.} I let go of Valentine’s crafts long ago. I retain a faint hint of guilt of this but mainly I’m ok with it.

  6. I am such a slacker on Vday crafts! I love this post though!!! You guys have such fun Vday traditions!! xo

  7. Candice says:

    I can’t wait until G has to bring valentine’s to school. I was just telling my hubby how things seemed to have changed quite a bit since we exchanged them back in the day.

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