90 Valentine Cards Later: A Retrospective

Seventy valentines: cut, glued, decorated and names signed. The twins are ready for Valentine's Day at preschool. C has made, for the 3rd year in a row, heart-shaped key rings using Shrinky Dink paper (go ahead, say Shrinky Dink with a straight face - it's not possible) and for H's classmates we cut out heart-shaped pirate skulls and glued them to computer printout that read "yarrrrrrrrh okay valentine!"
Perhaps we are not up for any awards for creativity or execution of design but they are all done and no this isn't a post bemoaning the lack of hand-made valentines exchanged among children. But it is a post bemoaning all the candy that's sure to be attached to the cards my children will bring home on Thursday. 
And for parents who refuse to attach candy there are pencils, stickers, temporary tattoos, fake Japanese erasers (made in China) and other items that are all too similar to the stuff that gets packed into party favor bags only to be spilled in the back of your mini van on the way home from the party and to lay there unnoticed and unloved in the back seat until the next time the car gets vacuumed out.
When did this start? Since when did Valentine's Day become such a grab fest? Since when do we have to attach something to the valentine? Isn't the valentine enough?
For the record and in case you haven't guessed, my children will be passing out nothing but cards - and Shrinky Dinks. 
Sure there's been candy associated with Valentines Day since the dawn of time or at least since cupid got his likeness stamped onto a box of Whitman Samplers. But a box of Whitman Samplers far outshines a bag of Nerds or Wonka Fun Dip - that crap that hardly qualifies as candy.
Are you a bewildered parent like me? Would you rather not contribute to tooth decay but feel social pressure to pass out candy - after all - it comes with the box of valentine cards right? Wrong! Don't do it! Take a stand. My kids valentine bags smelled so sugary last year it was nauseating.
It's enough to give a card. Why up the ante? I was happy with just a card and I don't think our kids would be disappointed with just a card. Besides there's the school party with cupcakes, candy, and pretzels. The junk food or plastic in the bag is just extraneous.  
But wait, what's that you say? It's fun to give out candy or small presents. The holiday is about fun after all so therefore why are you, Joanne, such a party popper?  
Oh I don't know. I guess it's because C's ten which means I've been swimming upstream for a decade now with no spawning ground in sight. Let's take back these holidays people. Somewhere, between the extreme DIYers who are crafting exquisite heart-shaped containers from cereal boxes and buying a box of Lego Ninjago Masters of Spinjitzu Sticker Puzzle Valentines there's construction paper and a pair of scissors.

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