When Did Valentine’s Day Get So Complicated?

When I was a little girl, Valentine’s Day celebrations involved picking up a box of crappy little Valentine’s cards from the local dime store (dollar stores hadn’t been invented yet), and putting your classmates’ names on them. That was it. 

I might have might deliberated over which card should go to which friend, but that’s as far as it went.

But now? Now there’s the internet. And crafting blogs. And f”ing Pinterest.

glue guns and wine don't mix

Now we moms are supposed to spend hours with our munchkins handcrafting cards personalized with special poems for each pint-sized valentine…even though they can’t read yet.

We’re supposed to go to town with our hot glue guns, and our sparkly puffy paint, and our heart-shaped rainbow buttons.

We’re supposed to add lace doilies from the Ukraine, peacock feathers from Mexico, and ribbons made from yeti hair.

And once our masterpieces are done? We’re supposed to attach gift bags (made exclusively of recyclable materials, of course) full of homemade chocolates and organic conversation hearts and origami doves made from extra virgin rice paper.

And we’re supposed to do it all with a smile.

A smile that’s not allowed to dim even one watt when we watch our precious bundles of joy crumple those exquisite pieces of art into little balls as they shove them into their crepe paper covered mailboxes.

But internet? This mommy doesn’t play that game. I’m not even sure if I own a hot glue gun.

When we set out for the store, I was determined to run in, get her one of those classic packages of Valentine crappiness and call it a day.

Little did I know that valentine cards for the elementary school set now get their own aisle.

Or that you can’t even buy a simple box of Valentines anymore.

They all have puffy stickers, or packages of sugary goo, or self-belly button-piercing mechanisms.

After vetoing a batch of Hello Kitty tattoos, I considered myself lucky to walk out with cards sporting only some Tinkerbell lollipop flair.

They don’t even have envelopes.

At least they didn’t until Tori looked up at me with her saucer-sized baby blues and asked, “why I can’t have envelopes for my cards, mommy? You always do.”

A few minutes later, I found myself trying to improvise with some pink construction paper and, ahem, a hot glue gun.

Which just goes to prove…there’s not much I won’t do for my smallest Valentine.

Love is not only blind…it’s stupid.

Happy Valentine’s Day!







11 Comments on When Did Valentine’s Day Get So Complicated?

  1. Meagan
    February 14, 2013 at 8:46 am (3 years ago)

    I’m lucky. My boys were perfectly happy with the box of valentines from the store. Some of Sam’s classmates did fancy stuff. We’ll see what Wil gets today.

    But I agree: it’s becoming ridiculous, this kind of one-upmanship. Of course, I also refuse to go nuts with birthday parties too.

    • Amber
      February 14, 2013 at 10:06 am (3 years ago)

      SHe gets so excited though…it was pretty dang cute. I was just in full on snark mode last night.

      • Meagan
        February 15, 2013 at 12:27 pm (3 years ago)

        If the boys wanted to make them, I’d be fine with that. They’d just do something with construction paper and markers and stickers. But some of these are really elaborate. And from 3 year olds. Those parents are spending a lot of time and money on them.

        From Wil’s class of 23, he got 3 or 4 little gift bags full of stuff but mostly just paper cards with maybe a sticker or candy. To me, the cards were great. He was very happy with them. (Actually, the cards just get recycled and the candy eaten. My boys don’t pay much attention to the presentation at this age.)

        • Amber
          February 15, 2013 at 12:35 pm (3 years ago)

          Tori’s favorite were the tattoos. We got a lot of gift bags…I was just trying to make a funny.

  2. Stephanie
    February 14, 2013 at 8:07 pm (3 years ago)

    1. This post made me laugh

    2. The blog next to yours on my reading list is defending making handmade things and is upset other mothers give her stink eye for it.

    3. I would like to say, for the record, we made felt bracelets for FUN and gave them to the 8 kids in her class ( If we had 30 kids it would be different). It was super fun, she actually made them, and there was no element of competition.

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • Amber
      February 15, 2013 at 12:34 pm (3 years ago)

      Laughter. That’s what I was going for. So I’m glad you laughed. I’m all for homemade! I just don’t have the craftiness gene.

  3. Amanda C
    February 15, 2013 at 8:06 am (3 years ago)

    The Montessori School encourages the kids to make their own Valentines. Luckily, they don’t have to make them for every kid in the class. I suggested we do stickers on construction paper, and Vincent said he wanted Angry Birds and Transformers. Two days before V-Day, I’m at Target looking for the stickers–and they don’t have what he wants. So, I go to the Valentine’s aisle. They have a box of Angry Bird Valentines and a Box of Transformer Valentines–with erasers. The only Valentines with stickers were for girls or Lego Star Wars (which he didn’t ask for, surprisingly). We improvised and cut up (gasp) the bought Valentines and glued them to construction paper, and we taped erasers on each one. They were cute and all Vincent’s (except for some of the cutting and gluing). He even wrote all the names on them.

    Yesterday, he came home with a bag full of Valentines, almost all of them homemade. I could see which ones were done by the kids themselves and the ones done by parents of the youngest kids. Regardless, Vincent was so excited to get those little paper hearts or whatever, and he had so much fun making his own. And, I did, too. :)

    • Amber
      February 15, 2013 at 12:31 pm (3 years ago)

      I think that’s sweet and I wasn’t dogging on those who choose to work a little harder at it than I did.

      I was just having some fun, going for laughs…hope you guys didn’t think I was being serious!

  4. hollow tree ventures
    February 15, 2013 at 3:44 pm (3 years ago)

    I always think I’m going to get all fancy, then at the last minute I make a run to the store for the pre-made variety. Pencils from the movie Brave, Lego with stickers – but foam heart stickers make them look practically Pinteresty. Right? RIGHT???

  5. Jessica
    February 18, 2013 at 12:20 pm (3 years ago)

    At my kid’s school I saw so much over-the-top Valentines day junk being exchanged it was a bit too much. When did this little holiday become big where my girls received as much candy as they do on Halloween? I think a lot of it is parents competing against each other, so they can say to themselves, I’m the best Mommy and if I’m going spend sleepless nights gluing on imported polish doilies and gold leafing hearts, then so be it.

    When I was a kid, everyone just traded store bought valentines and I may have made one or two special cards for my boyfriend of the month, and I would receive the same from my classmates and maybe a few valentine cards from teachers too.

    Now that I’m grown up and have kids of my own, receiving all the handmade cards seem nice, but really, I don’t want all that junk cluttering my house, so after a day, it all goes in the trash. Most of the cards clash with my house decor so it only makes sense. The girls might object but they usually change their mind when I take them shoe shopping. Girls and their shoes.

    Instead of passing out candy or licensed character cards, my girls passed out iTunes gift certificates, something the kids really want. I thought about other gift cards, like nail & hair salons for girls and certificates for Gamestop for the boys, but I thought some of the parents may not like those stores.

    Parents just need to stop trying to impress one another when these little fun holidays are really for the kids.

    Now the present from the husband is a different story. It better be impressive and sparkly.

  6. Lady Jennie
    February 25, 2013 at 3:01 pm (3 years ago)

    I run from hot glue guns!!

    I made little heart-shaped valentines for my sweeties with all the things I loved about them.


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