Friday, 3 February 2012

This Valentine thing

http://www.imagehousing.com/image/370217
So they say, this Roman priest defied the Emperor and continued to conduct marriages for couples in love.  The Emperor, see, felt that the best soldiers were unmarried men.  A lot of the new grooms and Valentine himself were martyred for their defiance.  And so the world turns, Valentine is beatified and we attach great importance to his work of putting love first. The romantic heart shape gets involved and somehow we end up with a day celebrating this saint.  Don't misunderstand me, I'm perfectly happy about it.  
I've visited about half of the WOYWW desks so far.  What struck me is the number of our American friends who are making gifts for friends and family, kids are making cards for classmates, wreaths and decorations are being hung and there is an air of preparation and 'holiday' about it all.
How does it go here?  Well,  really only restaurants and card shops do all the decorating...I've never seen a Valentine's wreath on a domestic front door for example. Sometime in the next week I will make one card.  For Mr D.  If he remembers to swing by the nearest card selling shop en route to work, I will get a card from him.  I realise that other couples will make more of an effort.  But I'm not aware that normally these plans extend to giving others gifts or baking a cake or having a party.  Generally, it's a bouquet and or a nice meal.....or am I so totally embedded in the safety of my old and lovely marriage that I've missed something?!  I don't know.  Is it that famous British reserve?  Is it too soon after Christmas - the weather can be foul and the bank account may be a bit wobbly.  Or are we just lazy and can't face another 'holiday'?  Have we just got to let it evolve like Hallowe'en has?  Is it because it's one 'holiday' that we British girls would really like the boys to step up and take charge of, so we do nothing, and are eternally disappointed?  I don't know.  But tell me:    Have you made loads of Valentine cards? Are they to sell or to give to friends and family?  Have you decorated?  Have you got plans?  
Are you horrified by my 'one card' effort!
Won't it be amazing when the world turns again and we have a day of giving and helping to celebrate the life and saint hood of Mother Theresa.  

39 comments:

Craftilicious said...

I've made loads of valentine cards, but not actually one for my hubby yet. I only make them for challenges and because I'm doing a charity card sale on the 11th and figured there may be some teenage girls who want to buy some!
Unless you're throwing a valentines party to get your single mates together, I really don't see the point of heart wreaths and decorations, but I did buy a string of heart lights for my stall!

Ohhh Snap said...

When my daughter was younger, I used to buy a box or two of the pre-made valentines at the local dollar store for her to disperse to her classmates.

I've never been a big Valentine's Day person myself, but I'm also very happily divorced lol. For our family it's more about familial love rather than romantic love. My teenager has been come painfully aware of "Single Awareness Day" as she and her friends call it so I made her a funny card and some handwarmers.

Carolyn Phillips said...

For myself I do as you said, make one card for DH and most of the time get one from him and occasionally some flowers. We don't do gifts for V-day unless one of us just happens to spot something small and silly that is also just right, but since we don't frequent the shops that often, it doesn't usually happen.
This year I am doing a craft fair on 11th, so I have made a few more small valentine items, but tried to do them so they will be suitable as heart shaped gifts or any occasion cards as well.

Annie said...

Like you Julia, I make one card and am lucky if I get one in return :-) It's not really a problem for me cos mine will buy me flowers as his mood takes his fancy and I don't doubt that he loves me every day [cos he tells me without fail :-) ]. Valentine's day is just another way for the shops to rip us off cos they double the price of everything to help us celebrate.
Hugs,
A x

Lou said...

I have been amazed at some of the decorations and effort that our ‘overseas friends have gone to – I have seen so many V.day decorations on blogs, 2 decorated tree's, (like Christmas trees but decorated with hearts etc..) Which all look lovely but I do struggle to understand why???? Hubby and I, have never done anything much for V.day, I make him a card and he might get me one from a garage or something! We never go out on V.Day, because the prices of meals are usually inflated, So No plans, and just 1 card too! A Mother Theresa Day sounds lovely though! Hope you have a great weekend. Lou x

Deena said...

we are located in the centre of Canada (Manitoba) and here the children have valentine parties at school and hand out goodies and treats with little valentine's to their classmates. I think we do it more to break up a long cold winter than anything else...within our family the kids and hubby usually get a small box of chocolates and a card, but all the grandparents buy for the grandkids little tokens of love for them...here you are completely bombarded in the stores with trinkets and decorations even before the Christmas stuff is put away...it is hard to avoid and not get in the spirit...but it makes for some fun on some freezing cold days.

Lunch Lady Jan said...

This is a thought provoking post! As a hater of the false bonhomie of New Year's Eve, I think that there is an expectation that we are pressured to live up to about the whole Valentine's thing. I treasure each day with DH, having weathered his health issues, and I tell him so. We don't need some manufactured day to say 'I Love You'...

LLJ xx

mamapez5 said...

I have to admit that I haven't made any Valentine's cards. Not because I don't love my husband, but after all these years he doesn't need a card to know it, and nor do I. Maybe having five sons has knocked some of the romanticism out of my life, but we live an idyllic life here in sunny Spain and we are secure in one another and that's what matters.
When I was at grammar school (some 40+ years ago) I had an American pen friend, and she always sent me a card and gift on Valentine's day, which I thought was very strange, so it is not a new thing across the Atlantic. Kate x

GLENDA BROOKS said...

I make several cards for this Holilday. But then again I have 4 grandsons and they always expect me to send one along with a little money tucked inside. I'm sure it's all about the money! I may be old, but I'm not stupid!

Helen said...

When I was married I made a Valentine card for the hubby, (it was about the time I got into card making but not the reason I am no longer married!) but now I don't - and never went overboard with all the rest. Call me an old cynic but it's just a load of over-hype by the card retailers/florists to make money (hmmmm perhaps I SHOULD join this bandwagon!!!!)

Danielle said...

Like you, we don't take it very seriously around here. I make cards to send to the godchildren and that is about it. Maybe one for dh as I may get one in return if he gets around to it. We always felt that we express our love all year long and our anniversary is the day we celebrate it.

Now, I feel like cake!

Leslie Hanna said...

When I was a kid, we had cheap little valentine exchanges, but that was it. In our continuing effort to over-do anything until you never want to hear about it again, we here in the USofA will go to any length. Door wreaths? Seriously? Geez.

I, personally, don't buy into any fabricated holidays. Do you have Grandparents' Day? Boss' Day? Sweetest's Day? Any excuse for hallmark to sell cards.

Bah, humbug.

Artyjen said...

It is a much over rated day! If one speaks love to another for the rest of the year....why line the pockets of commercialism?!
;)
xoxo Sioux
I much preferred my departed DH's approach to vouch undying love all year than to make an almighty effort for just one day!!! LOL

505whimsygirl said...

Hello Julia,

I really like this post! I am a single woman with no prospects (in the USA). Not that that's a bad thing. Where I live there is a saying "The odds are good but the goods are odd." That is so true!!! There are days that I would like to have a man in my life -- the older I get the less frequent these desires raise their head! haaaa

So yes, I think we Americans go over the top for too many holidays. Now, if I did have a man in my life I would enjoy a nice dinner out and maybe a movie - or if there was a dance, maybe go to that.

I do have a male friend that I was kind of interested in but then I thought about it. I wouldn't want to lose the friendship so that's where it's stayed. It's nice in that I don't feel weird about calling him and he calls me.

I will now go back and read other's comments to see what the general consensus is.

Hugs,
Kay

Lisa said...

I've challenged my OH to buy me the 7p Smartprice card we saw in Asda the other day and alter it, lol. We don't go overboard at all- we say I love you every day and mean it, and that's worth any number of Valentine's days.

alexa said...

Like you, it's not a particularly memorable date for us here either! Mostly it passes us by - and we're quite happy!

fairy thoughts said...

Gosh this has got us thinking.
I'm with LL Jan. I treasure the man I have all the time and dont make too much of it,(neither does he)Last year he 'altered' the card I made for him the year before. LOL
Anyway in our house for the last 21 years it is daughter no 3's birthday not valentines day!
janet

The Librarian said...

I'm with Lunch Lady Jan - is it because we were born on the same day? I can't see that a minute after midnight on 31st December is any different to a minute before. I love Christmas, and when people say 3 days later Did you have a good Christmas? I say Yes, and I'm still having it! Our Christmas doesn't finish until 6th January, when the tree comes down. I give my other half a small chocolatey something to mark Valentine's Day, he gives me nothing. Because we first met on 22nd February, that's when we celebrate and go out for dinner. Personal to us, and not commercialised!

...the yorkshire fox... said...

...gorgeous photo love the way the bubbles hug the heart...I confess I did not know how Valentines day came to be so i've learnt today...being a romantic i celebrate love every day...and the symbol we associate with love being the Heart always makes me smile...love=hope=life...so thankyou St Valentine...Mel :)

Dragon said...

I'm with you and Lunch Lady et al... I have been SO VERY FORTUNATE in my life to have found two, yes 2 men who truly love me... sadly my first died of a massive heart attack and I was not there... but I still love him and know he would never have left me voluntarily!! The second is a great bonus, younger than me by a few years (tee hee...) but just as loving and as very caring of me and my happiness... what more can I want?? I didn't and don't need a special card or day... I shall make one and I feel sure he will do something, but I don't like - in fact I quite resent - the hype and false pressure we get nowadays on Valentine's Day...
phew !! that soap box got VERY high!!!
Love and light
Frankie
xx

butlersabroad said...

If you love someone then you love them all year and not just on VDay. We call this sort of day a Hallmark Holiday as it's only the card companies that make anything from it! I might make a Valentines card is a challenge calls for one, which I'm sure they will this weekend, but I don't send or give them!!

Hugs
Brenda

Katie said...

I think flowers and a nice dinner is perfect for celebrating Valentine's Day!

I do go all out for Valentine's Day as far as card making and decorating, but because its a holiday that makes me very happy, its all pink and hearts and love (three of my favorites!) We will do a nice dinner over the weekend, and I'll make us a nice dinner at home Tuesday night with a crazy dessert (chocolate chip-oreo-brownies!) and a dvd set AJ's been wanting. But all in all, our celebrating is nice and relaxed, its just about getting to spend some time together with no distractions.

I do know one couple who does nothing because the guy "doesn't believe" in Valentine's Day. That just makes me sad, especially because the girl seemed sad when she told me that. At least a card is nice, I think!

scrappymo! said...

I make my DH a card and he always buys me one.

Other than that, I might get a nice kiss and hug.

I do up a little package for my grandkids. So far I have a small container each of Hershey's kisses and a little "mader" towtruck for Mr. P and some capcake fancy paper and decorating picks for Miss C.

voodoo vixen said...

As a child I went to an American school and was shocked that all the kids (all being about 11 of us total) handed out Valentine's cards to each other, girls to girls!! Since being in odd places I have adapted and reverted to the British way of doing things... Dh gets a card and pressie from me and he does the same. I won't allow roses to be bought because I see it as a total rip off that they for a few days triple the price they are normally... so this year I am hugging my new Big Shot quite happily!! LOL

Barb King said...

I do make lots of Valentines because I sell them in some local craft shops in my small town, and since many people here in the States do exchange cards, people are happy to be able to purchase a locally hand made card. My husband and I always exchange cards, even though he shows me he loves me all year, I appreciate a special message from him. Often we'll go out to dinner, sometimes he give me flowers, so I guess we do it up. Recently I stopped by a friends weaving studio, and as we were chatting, i recognized a card on display that i had made and had put in the craft shop. She said her husband has given it to her almost a year before, and had written a very touching note inside, so she had saved it. That was gratifying for me to know that people appreciate my work. Have a great week. I love the WOYWW group, I have seen so many fascinating blogs, thanks so much for doing this Julia.

RosC said...

I also agree with those who avoid the Hallmark Holiday syndrome and generally, I don't do 'Days'. New Year prompts me to ponder my best intentions, birthdays are a personal celebration of living, and anniversaries are thankfulness for being together. I make one St V card sometimes receive one. I probably make moreThank You cards than anything.
Ros.

Elizabeth said...

Oh dear, Julia, look what you've started. I think I must have the most romantic husband in the kingdom ... he always gives me a card, and, well, it used to be chocolates but as I can't have them anymore, it's flowers, or it might even be a plant, we have a special celebratory meal in and later watch one of our favourite DVD movies together. So, yes, I make one special Valentine for him and any others are just for DT projects. My daughter and her husband don't bother, considering it a waste of money to buy cards that will only be tossed a day later! They don't signify as much as they once did. My great-grandfather, whilst he was a soldier in France during WW1, sent to my great-grandmother the most beautiful hand embroidered Valentines each year. She kept them and had them framed, a lasting tribute to a wonderful man who died tragically young ... rather like Queen Victoria, she was a widow for a great many years.

Other days worth celebrating with a card: Hogmanay/New Years Day ... I'm Scots so it's obligatory and cards used to be popular but today we are more likely to send them only to ex-pats living abroad. Christmas, however, I do think the holiday is an expensive overly-long production - narrow it down to a day or two and I'd be happier. Mothering Sunday (Mothers' Day elsewhere) - never missed it when my own mother was alive. Ditto Fathere's Day. Easter, of course, though I don't make a lot of cards and I receive even fewer. And that is it. I have never received any Grandmothers' Day, Boss's Day, Secretaries Day, etc., etc., cards and never expected to either. However, I would like to receive a few more Thank You cards ... is saying thanks a dying art - now there's another debate entirely! Elizabeth x

RobanStudio said...

I'm in total agreement with you and I'm an American gal. I can't stand Valentine's Day personally, even though I have cards in my shop for this day....(hey it's business.) My husband and I say I love you enough throughout the year. We don't need one day to remind us of that. Love your post Julia!

Doone said...

he was right, if the act of marriage is that you care more for your partner than you do for yourself, no man would go to war and die, such a man would be brave enough to choose peace, at home with their wife and childers.


him and me celebrate by studiously ignoring the hype and exchange naff keyrings, which is kind of what we do for birthdays anniversaries and Christmas, and if external peer pressure exerts a 'bah humbug' censor we just shrug and say well we ain't married anyway so Boo yah.

regarding paintings - I don't ever know when a thing is finished, I just sell/give them away so I can't work on them any more, some things stay hidden until I feel inspired to rework or overwork or tiddly diddle with them...

every day I meet angels and saints that give without getting, the world is truly a wonderful place.

oddly (tis truly not one of my lies) I was given a huge 18ct gold wedding ring by a beggar in Paris

I had no money on me so i could not even buy her a sandwich in return, she insisted I keep the ring...she said it would be lucky for us both, I hope someone else gave her dinner....

the ring will go in the scrap book with her story and stay there forever, I won't forget her or the other street people who freeze to death every day.

Dx

Craftychris said...

Like you, I make one card only, for my husband. Msybe is I ever get to sell my cards, I will make more but only the one will be special! xx

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

You have made one more V day card than me this year, but you know, I'm not much of a card maker, or a stamper.

One year I hosted a V day ATC swap on my Yahoo group, and got a few players. The next year, I hosted an unrequited love V day ATC swap and got tons of people who joined. So I think you are on the right track.

I used to decorate my entire house for V day, but in the last couple of years, I've gotten lazy, or more interested in creating art, than decorating (and packing it all away after the day). Not sure which.

Sylvia/LittleTreasures said...

I'm in the USA and I have decorated for Feb 14th for years, I guess I take down Christmas in January and things were so bare I put up Hearts. My mother was a crafty person, before her time with stitches, and we always gave homemade Valentines to most of our family members. And we all saved them forever. And we still do this.
As the years went by, I saved those my 2 sons made and I'll have a post on those in a few days. What treasures they are.
I have a year round grapevine tree, post on that is coming which is decorated for the seasons/holidays. Another year round tree in our family room upstairs and in our lower level. I guess I just have accumulated a LOT of STUFF and use it when the occasion arises.
It is a lot of work, takes up a lot of space and as I get older, I sometimes wonder WHY do I do this?
But I can't imagine not having things I treasure displayed now and then.
I'm surprised not so many do this.
But to each's own.

Hands to Work, Hearts to God said...

No I am not making valentine cards, but then I didn't make a single Christmas card either! I don't remember ever having a decorated house for valentine even when I was young! Patsy from
HeARTworks

KAT said...

I like Valentines day a lot...so many great memories of my childhood and exchanging little valentines with the boys and girls in school. We always decorated a shoe box to be our "mailbox" on our desks and went around the classroom depositing our valentines into everyone's decorated "mail"boxes. we always had a cookie or cupcake treat and played a few games for the afternoon Valentines party.seems like Valentines Day was our wish for winter to not be so dreary and we started looking forward to Springtime coming. At Home,.. My father always made a special candlelight dinner for my mom. they were very loving and my dad really really enjoyed special events like Valentines day and birthdays and any reason to celebrate. He loved my mom very much and to make her feel special. Valentines Day was just sort of taken a little more seriously as far as making sure to give messages of love and flowers and candy and maybe a candlelight dinner if you were lucky as my mom was to have my dad.

-KAT

Ann B said...

Have made valentine's cards in the past but only for Mr B and now both of our cards go back in the drawer and come out the following year - it gives us a bit of a giggle and created a lovely family 'tradition'.
When I was young, a long, long time ago you only sent cards to those you lusted after in school - well maybe not 'lust' exactly but quite fancied. It was all very innocent and you got a real laugh looking at all the cards in the shop - now some of them are more likely to make me blush rather then giggle - and writing silly verses on the back of the envelope.
Like some much now, the fun has been taken away and replaced by sheer commercialism. It doesn't just apply to Valentine's Day - my mother would never let us buy her a Mother's Day card or a present saying it was just a way of getting money for the card-makers, instead we would let her have a special day with all of us there

stephanie said...

It has been couple of years since i have "decorated", but when the kids were in elementary school, they exchanged class cards, cookies were bought in and it was just FUN. I throw on a tablecloth with hearts and create something yummy for the table with candles and "red". If my "honey" is around I will make a nice meal, give a card and give him an extra big smoosh and hug...When the girls were home they got chocolate hearts... I loved it, and even though girls are gone and my honey is out of town this month I still enjoy any excuse for a celebration and an extra hug :)

Dragon said...

This was SO interesting to read... great post as always Julia... and thanks for your LOVELY sympatico message - much appreciated at the time, and now
Frankie
xx

Sue from Oregon said...

I say...any reason to celebrate...go for it Julia! I do not decorate...too lazy to care I guess. I make a few cards...but I realllly love to make heart shaped cookies to share with co workers and my kids. That's my big effort.

Raven's Rest Studio, Jennifer Conway said...

oooooo - your desk looks exciting. Lots of fun stuff has been happening! I'm curious about the stapler now.....

"see" you next week! *smiles* ~Jen