I am a sucker for homemade valentines. I love helping the kids and we've made them every year since they could scrawl a mark on a paper to indicate their own name. As in, we've always made them. I keep boxes of store bought valentines around, with leftover doilies and stickers and whatnot that I pick up after the holiday as a habit from teaching days. When February rolls in, I get the bag of festive stuff from my storage room and dump it on the kitchen table. I used to help with the cutting- using the corners from one paper heart to make more, smaller hearts, never wasting scraps. I encourage them to use the store valentines, but to cut them up and add them to the collage of stickers, doilies and hearts. The result is personal and shows some thought.
But it really isn't what the holiday is all about any more. We have a four day weekend (report cards plus President's Day) so classes swapped cards today. They didn't have official permission for parties, but the classes made do. Both the kindergartners and third graders decorated paper bag mailboxes and exchanged cards. Pink frosted cookies were eaten. The teachers requested that kids only put their own name on cards, and leave the recipients names off. This makes the distribution process faster, I know. But it feels so generic.
They came home this afternoon and dumped their paper bag mailboxes on the kitchen table. "I want candy!" Bug yelled (six times). I sorted through the cards while he sorted through the candy. Lot of candy. More than half the cards came with candy, many came with tatoos, and many were unsigned by the givers. Many of the kindergartners had their names written by parents. One was printed, including the givers name, on a computer. One child, a third grade boy, cut out paper hearts and wrote "happy v-day" on each. Most were straight from the dollar store to you.
Pook is not embarrassed by my request to hand make cards, he loves any art project still, and doesn't yet associate Valentine's Day with romance. (When asked if either of them wanted to give someone in their class a special card, they both looked at me cluelessly and asked "why?") So, I will keep my bag of stickers and doilies for another year and enjoy this while I can, since I'm sure the end is near. I suspect I'll be getting one myself, since I've already seen Bug's endearing "I luv yeu Mama" written at least once.