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Cynicism About Valentine's Day

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

I am officially old enough to have grown cynical about Valentine's Day. Don't get me wrong: I'm not cynical about romance. I still believe that anniversaries are events to be celebrated. But I've just about had it with Valentine's Day: the overpriced, half-dead flowers, the sale of plush animals, the packed-to-the-gills restaurants with amateur-night cuisine.

But no irritant is as acute as the school celebrations of this holiday. Almost universally, kids "celebrate" Valentine's Day in a dull, empty way. Every kid gets a Valentine from each child, most of them cheap, straight-from-the-pharmacy-checkout-display affairs stamped with latter-day cupids like Hannah Montana and Spider-Man. (A minority of cards, however, are lovingly hand-crafted, leading me to wonder suspiciously what kind of child -- or parent -- has the time to create such works of art.)

As a public service, I remind those of you with elementary-school-aged children that you have exactly one week to prod your kids to scrawl a name on each Valentine, which is an excellent argument for smaller class sizes.

The process is designed to ensure fairness, so that no one gets shut out of the Valentine-giving and no one's feeling get hurt. This is a noble impulse, but it hollows out the whole meaning of the holiday and serves mostly as an excuse to have a brief classroom party with heart-shaped cookies (though even the sweets are slowly disappearing from the Valentine's Day celebrations).

There are two ways to go with this kind of attitude: I can grit my teeth, push up my sleeves, log on to the Valentine's tips section of ParentHacks and accept that this is every bit as big a deal for a 9-year-old as the Obama inauguration. Or I can silently plot to drive Valentine's Day out of the schools and back where it belongs: to the lovers who are old enough to have outgrown Snoopy cards but too young to require a babysitter (have a blast, kids).

I'm leaning toward the latter. Where do you come down?

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  February 5, 2009; 12:07 AM ET  | Category:  Elementary Schoolers
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Comments


And what, exactly, is wrong with an excuse to have a party with heart-shaped cookies? :-)

Ya know, I hate Valentine's Day -- well, not hate it, just hate the artificiality of being required to demonstrate your love on a given day with mass-produced material items. DH and I usually don't do much, if anything. And I REALLY resented it in preschool, when it basically meant that I had to make a whole bunch of cards for my kid, who was too young to even understand the concept, to give to other kids, who were too young to even understand the concept.

But now that I have a kid in elementary school, oh boy is it a big deal. DD is at the age where she just love-love-loves anyone giving her anything (apparently, the girls at school show each other they like each other by doing things like giving hairbands, pens, notepads, etc). So the whole class is just all over the whole deal. Never realized it until earlier this week: we're out of town all next week, and when I told her class she was going to miss the party, the kids were disappointed, and one of the boys was just crestfallen. On the one hand, I'm totally not ready for that! But on the other, it suddenly seemed like a cute, innocent way for kids to start that whole terrifying process of showing that they like someone.

Oh, and best thing I ever discovered was last year: there are websites where you can print off cards, like 8 to a page -- you just cut them out and have the kids color them in (or, heck, color them in on the computer, then print). Took all the hassle out of it -- three sheets of paper and some twizzlers, boom, you're done.

Posted by: laura33 | February 5, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

I agree, dumb holiday. I'd rather the kids have extra recess, music or art time than a stupid valentine, st. patricks day, christmas, hanukkah, instert holiday here _________ party. The religious holidays should be celebrated with families. The hallmark ones should be celebrated outside of school. I'll keep MLK day, President's Day, Veteran's Day because they could include an actual civics lesson as a course of study. I know some people will say I'm taking the fun out, but there is plently of fun for our kids. Read this blog and see that few kids are suffering from a shortage of activities, toys or parental attention.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | February 5, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Brian,

How can anyone outgrown Snoopy cards? Geewiz! You do know that you are suppose to send Valentine's Days cards to your daughters, even if they are 26 & 23?

Frieda and I had our 33rd anniversary last weekend. I guess I need to trudge down to the store and pick some stuff up by the 13th for all the females in my life!

Posted by: Fred_and_Frieda | February 5, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

ahhh Stacey - i was all ready to jump on your bandwagon until Fred_and_Frieda crushed me!!! of course!!! celebrating my love for my daughter on valentine's day is the perfect solution!!! Thank you F&F - i can't believe i hadn't come to this conclusion yet.

(btw, fwiw, wife and i agree that v.day is ridiculous. if you need a 'national day of recognition' for your s.o., then you've got some issues)

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | February 5, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

I think I have celebrated Valentine's day three times in the last 10 years.

Part of that was because my ex and I were married on Feb 13th. We celebrated Valentine's Day our second year of marriage and decided that it was insane to be out in restaurants on Valentine's Day. We simply celebrated our anniversary. Not one Valentine's Day card or gift were exchanged in our marriage after that. We did give each other very thoughtful anniversary gifts.

The first year my husband and I were together we did takeout and watched a romantic movie on Valentine's day. We skipped the next year and this year? We have the kids so any celebration would be on a different day. I asked him last night if he wanted to celebrate Valentine's Day and he wasn't sounding too enthusiastic.

I personally don't care that much about Valentine's Day. I would much prefer that my husband and I celebrate our anniversary which is special to us.

Posted by: Billie_R | February 5, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

DH and I don't really celebrate V-day (I'm not much of a rose lover, anyway). I do think it's a sweet holiday, especially, as some have noted, when it's an opportunity for for some daddy-daughter bonding. When I was a little girl, my dad used to bring my sister and I each a little toy every year, and I still remember how special it felt. I hope DD will feel the same way. (plus, this year, I'm REALLY looking forward to v-day, because daughter #2 should be here by then.)

Posted by: newsahm | February 5, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Do you need a reason to have a party in elementary school? It's a nice day, you get to eat cookies and trade cards. So what? I think it's the grown ups who have screwed up the meaning of the day. Those kids will be glad to get those "cheap" cards from their friends. It helps kids (especially the little ones) practice their handwriting. What kid doesn't like a cookie?

How many adults will be let down, again by their lovers or spouses? How many adults are so screwed up that they think they don't get to celebrate Valentine's day because they aren't "seeing anyone", yet they are surrounded by friends and family who love them, who would love for them to express that love, even if it's only on that one day?

Lighten up, dude. It's just a party.

Posted by: catweasel3 | February 5, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I really don't get why parents think this is a big deal. If your really strapped for cash you can get the cards at the dollar store. Last year I got the kind with the lollipops (Dora and Carebears) at the dollar store. I am sure they had some kind of boy card too.

This year we sprung for the kind with a sticker and a pencil. I believe it was $2.50 a box for 16 cards (with pencils) and $2.50 a box of 35 cards (with stickers).

If a kid can write, just do a few a night and you will get the class done in about a week.

I don't bother to do hand made cards. But if my child was capable and interested, I would certainly help them do a few a night. But it would require notice of about a week to get them done.

Honestly, I remember as a kid it was fun to get the card. Back then, no one required kids to do a whole class. It was a real popularity contest. But now, it is just nice.

Now some parents go over board but most stick to a nice card or a small goody bag. Not a big amount of cash or time.

Kind of sad they cut out the sweets. Childhood is getting duller and duller.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 5, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

DS, who in 6th grade is in his first year at middle school, actually asked me what I thought they would be doing for V-Day this year. I had to break it to him that middle schools don't "do" valentine's day :(
DH and DD will actually be out of town for the weekend, so maybe DS and I can do some mother-son bonding.

Posted by: lorenw507 | February 5, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Pain in the patootie. I remember doing cheapo cards in elementary school but now all the cards have to come with candy -- in fact most of the cards are just candy holding devices! My kids come home loaded down with sweets like it was Halloween. Exchanging Sponge Bob or Spiderman cards, I doubt they have any idea the day is supposed to be associated with love or romance. (Oh gross!)

Posted by: annenh | February 5, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I was never a large fan of the day. And when I worked in manhattan and commuted, well, it made it worse. I was in penn station on my way to my train to take home, and the florist - who never looked like he had a customer any other day - was bombarded by men in suits trying to get some flowers. It's what's made me incredibly cynical.
My DH and I don't celebrate it much - we used to go out to dinner, but never on the day, always another day, so it wouldn't be so crowded. And now we don't.
For the kids -yes it is definitely fun. But it's a pain in the neck, especially when the kids could barely write. And there are plenty of classmates who spend a small fortune on the silly cards. I'm not one of them (see: yesterday's post). I don't think he feels bad if he doesn't have the same cards as other kids, but who knows.
But yes, it is a big pain and an annoyance for the cards. Party? well, sure, have another excuse, no big deal...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 5, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

We have no plans as a couple. I'll either have a baby, be in labor, or be 40 weeks pregnant, so I won't be feeling particularly romantic. We really don't get into it anyway. The most we do is a fancy dinner at home and cards.

There is a party at daycare. I'll probably cut out some construction paper hearts and have my 2yo put stickers on them. I'll sign up to bring drinks. This isn't a big time or money drain. My daughter is at an age where she LOVES parties, so I'm all for them.

Posted by: atb2 | February 5, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

DH and I celebrate VDay because its the anniversary of our first date. We were in college had no money to go out to dinner. So we bought Chef Boyrdee pizza in a box and Ben & Jerry's chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream for desert. I used an old thank you note from high school graduation to write a note to him (rather than buy a VDay card). 14 years later, the kids love the tradition of ice cream but DH draws the line at the box pizza.

Posted by: MomTo2Kids | February 5, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

"the florist - who never looked like he had a customer any other day - was bombarded by men in suits trying to get some flowers."

Yep, for most married men, it's just another day to pony up the marriage dues.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | February 5, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

It is a "pain in the patootie", but my four-year-old seems excited about it. I guess I need to go get some V-day cards for her.

My ex and I were married ON Valentine's Day. Yea. That's fun.

Posted by: plawrimore1 | February 5, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I guess in my mind, Valentine's Day is best as a kid's holiday. Making a special little message for each kid in the class is a really nice idea, and the kids love reading all those valntines; I did, too, at that age. As an adult, I have no expectations for Valentine's Day, and just give sweets and cards to my family members. It's nice, but no big deal. Let the grade school kids enjoy this!

Posted by: sparrow5 | February 5, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Brian,
C'mon, what is wrong with you? Valentines day is nice. There is nothing wrong about a party where they serve cookies and give out heart shaped cards. And the fact that everybody gets one just means that no one feels left out or unpopular, which makes it so much better (if less meaningful). Put yourself in the shoes of those less popular kids who would otherwise get less cards or treats and tell me you like it better that way.

Sure, Valentines day is kind of cheesy and artificial, but so what? It is a chance for a party in mid February. It involves telling people how much you like or appreciate them. It is just an easy and nice mid-winter tradition. My son loves it, and I am all for it.

Posted by: emily8 | February 5, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

What is wrong with all of you Valentine's Day grinches? It's a fun holiday to celebrate all kinds of love. The kids seem to understand this, so why can't the adults get into the spirit? And you only have to resort to expensive chocolates and wilted flowers and cheesy cards if you're also the sort of person who gets Christmas gifts from those pre-wrapped endcap displays at the grocery store and Sears (plug-in travel mugs, change sorters, every color of makeup in one kit. Who gets this stuff?). Show some creativity--have your kids make Valentine's keychains (the kind that kids love to attach to their backpacks) from Shrinky Dinks, show your husband or wife that you're still in love by sticking up little "I love you" notes everywhere he/she looks that day (bathroom mirror, coffee pot, steering wheel of the car, etc.), send your kids on a "Blues Clues" style Valentine's hunt around the house. You don't have to spend a lot of money and you don't even have to spend a lot of time to make the day fun.

Posted by: Sarahfran | February 5, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

My kids' school doesn't celebrate Valentines Day, they celebrate Friendship Day. I think this is actually a pretty creative way to de-commercialize this and make it more practical.

As for your comments Brian, they made me kind of feel for you. Essentially, you are from the school of cynicism that is so complete and far-reaching that you dismiss or question ANY parental response to the holiday. Those that buy pre-made cards are suspect; those that require their kids to make cards are suspect.

Where I come down? My daughter likes friendship day. She enjoyed making the cards. Beyond that, my response to the work imposed by the holiday is irrelevant. I mean, it's not about me...

If you actually wanted to be constructive and realistic, you could encourage your school to broaden this to make more about friendship and relationships.

Posted by: DavidinAz | February 5, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

My Mom loved Valentine's Day. Up until she passed away last year, we had a special family Valentine's Dinner. The dining room and table were decorated and she always had little gifts (like stocking stuffers) for each of us. But most importantly, you could not come to dinner unless you brought her a hand-made valentine - no exceptions. This took time and creativity but was a always a big reminder that just taking the time to do something special showed just how much you cared. So for me, Valentine's Day is above love and thoughtfulness - maybe not so much about canned romance.

Posted by: DCGirl13 | February 5, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Seriously, do we need a reason to buy more "stuff"? I don't want another goody bag full of pencils and tiny heart shaped erasers we never use. If we were really celebrating friendship and love then maybe we could come up with a day where you actually "do" something special for someone you care about as opposed to giving them more stuff, most of which really is crap made in China. I'm all for people loving each other, I'm not all for wasting school time (every school administrator I know says they don't have enough time) and money for what is mostly an empty gesture. DH treats me like a queen every day. Nothing sadder than the women who wait all year for Valentines and Anniversary days because those are the one day that they feel special and recognized. No thanks.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | February 5, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

The kids love Valentine's day in my classroom (4-5 year olds). We'll have a little party, juice boxes and maybe a cookie (or a mini-cupcake), pass out cards, and send them home. It is pretty low-key, but fun:)

Posted by: cookie75 | February 5, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Simple way to drive Valentine's Day from the public schools. Go to the origin of the holiday it is a Catholic feast day of St. Valentine. Remeber the St. Valentine's Day massacre in Chicago in the 1920's.
Once schools realize they are celebrating a Christian holiday you can "kiss" the classroom celebrations bye-bye.

Posted by: terryader | February 5, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"What is wrong with all of you Valentine's Day grinches?"

It's no fun for the diabetic kid or those on special diets to sit around and watch his/her classmates indulge themselves in sugar saturated goodies. And that sugar-free stuff is made with sorbital, or at least it used to be, tastes terrible, and is a known laxative.

Yeah, go ahead and laugh, but does that answer the question?

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | February 5, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Totally idiotic holiday. Maggie is at Jewish kindergarten where they don't celebrate it at all. D is at a secular private school and he is all over it. Mostly because he is controlled by his sweet tooth and he knows it is second only to Halloween in candy. I remember loving it as a kid - - just an excuse to party and have a different kind of day. So . . . if the cheap drugstore cards make 'em happy . . . ok with me!

Posted by: ElaineatLipstickdaily | February 5, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Ok, I have got to say I love Valentines day. It is a day to celebrate those we love. I make a special dinner for my kids, we use candles, table cloth, red kool-aid, cupcakes for dessert. It is easy and they LOVE it. I make them each a fun Valentine that tells them why I love them and they keep them all year, either on a bullentin board or taped to their wall. It is a fun family tradition for us. As for my husband, I have bought him a bunch of Valentines day cards and I started giving them to him on Sunday. He loves it and it means I am thinking of him and the life we share. It doesn't have to be hard, or expensive, it has to come from the heart. Make good memories for yourselves and those you love.

Posted by: magnificent7mom | February 5, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Nothing sadder than the women who wait all year for Valentines and Anniversary days because those are the one day that they feel special and recognized. No thanks.

Moxie, that's kind of a strawman approach, dontcha think? Just because you like Valentines day does not mean you are neglected the rest of the year. Not that it's such a big deal for the adults in my house. But I think it's a sweet holiday, and as far as I am concerned, people should celebrate it in whatever way they want, or not celebrate it at all if they don't wish to. What bothers me is people who insist on making other people do things their way. So my sense is, if you enjoy Valentines Day (or any other holiday for that matter) celebrate it in whatever way you feel is appropriate. If you don't like it, fine, don't celebrate it. No skin off my nose. But don't try to take it away or change it for those of us who do like it. Now that's just mean.

Posted by: emily8 | February 5, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

"Yeah, go ahead and laugh, but does that answer the question?"

Um, no, it doesn't actually. My daughter has multiple food allergies and can't eat the stuff at the school parties and we throw away the candy that comes home with her Valentines, but that doesn't stop her from enjoying giving Valentines to other people or from having fun at the party.

Posted by: Sarahfran | February 5, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

What is wrong with all of you Valentine's Day grinches?"

It's no fun for the diabetic kid or those on special diets to sit around and watch his/her classmates indulge themselves in sugar saturated goodies. And that sugar-free stuff is made with sorbital, or at least it used to be, tastes terrible, and is a known laxative.

Yeah, go ahead and laugh, but does that answer the question?

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | February 5, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse


Whacky,
Actually, that is a good reason for doing away with the sweets. But you could still do a healthy party, with fruit, veggies, and maybe some fun activity.

Posted by: emily8 | February 5, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

moxiemom: I had to laugh at your response. We are giving out those pencils. Personally, my kid loves those decorated pencils. She carries them in her pencil box. When she wants to draw something "important", she chooses one of those decorated ones. Her favorite trick or treat item was a plain pencil.

Anyway, I with Emily. If you don't like it, don't participate. My husband treats me well all year round too. In fact he is far more romantic then I am. But I like Valentine's day. Even as a child, my mother always gave us cards (hand made), chocolates and small gifts. My father brought my father flowers and one small carnation for me. It made me feel great.

As a family, we actually get together with our two closest family friends. The three families will have dinner together. It just reminds us that we love all kinds of people.

We give small gifts, chocolate and cards to each other. We will also decorate cookies for my daughter. She is crazy about sprinkles. She chooses different sprinkles for every possible occassion.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 5, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

edited: My father brought my mother flowers.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 5, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad my kid is in middle school. Having a Valentine's Day party in elementary school never made sense to me. They're prepubescent kids. In this day and age do they need to be propagandized into some odd, sanitized version of romance? It always worried me what kind of cards to get. Would they be weird and embarrass my son? Always stressful. My son never really cared, he just wanted the party and the cookie. So have the party and the cookie for...I don't know, MLK day? Arbor Day? Who cares. Maybe it's just me. A structured Valentine's Day foisted on kids never made sense.

Posted by: floomby | February 5, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I've always liked Valentine's Day. My junior year in college I'd gotten a Snoopy valentine with him in the kissing booth that said $1 per kiss, and I still have NO idea, 31 years later, who shoved the dollar bill under my door!

My wife and i will go to dinner at a nice little gay-owned bistro that we like. Already have reservations for that night! This Saturday, I'm picking up a pendant w/ a diamond heart on it at a local Zales outlet. Can't WAIT to see her eyes when she opens it!

Posted by: Alex511 | February 5, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

. My junior year in college I'd gotten a Snoopy valentine with him in the kissing booth that said $1 per kiss, and I still have NO idea, 31 years later, who shoved the dollar bill under my door!

Posted by: Alex511 | February 5, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

It was ArmyBrat....the kisses in the booth have gone up to $10.00.....what did you do with the dollar bill?

Posted by: jezebel3 | February 5, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Alex - is that supposed to be sarcastic?

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | February 5, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I have fond memories of Valentine's Day in elementary school and before having a child I didn't think much of it. But I was kind of annoyed (and a little surprised) that I was given a list of names for card exchanges from daycare where the class is full of children 8 months and younger. Is it wrong to feel it unecessary to give a 4-month old a valentine card? They can't read and they don't eat candy. It's just another thing to make a new mom lose her mind in all the new things to get up to speed on with kids.

Posted by: dcmarva_girl | February 5, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I gotta agree that Valentines day cards for the infant class at the daycare is kind of ridiculous. Maybe the two year olds care, but my 14 month old would probably try to eat the cards, and if that didn't work, she would then proceed to rip them up.

Posted by: emily8 | February 5, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

funny. i saw a list on the counter last night that (now that i see your comments) must have been the list for the valentine's day card exchange. LG is 15 months.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | February 5, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

What about a Father/Daughter Valentines Day dance? Does anybody else think this is a little on the creepy side?

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | February 5, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Last year DD was only offered pretzels or goldfish at her kindergarten party. This year I let her send a candy gram to herself. The one dollar contribution goes to a local hospital.

DH and I actually met on Valentine's Day so we usually go out around that day with DD and call it our meeting day. DD was born on the 14th in another month so we consider 14 to be our lucky number.

Posted by: shdd | February 5, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

We got a list from the day care too. But it only included the older kids. The babies were not on it.

Emily, my son would try to rip up the card too! Baby boy is 7 months now.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 5, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

What about a Father/Daughter Valentines Day dance? Does anybody else think this is a little on the creepy side?

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | February 5, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it's kind of creepy. But not as creepy as those purity dances (the kind where daughters promise to not have sex before marriage and there is some kind of fancy dance where the father takes the daugher. Ick!!!!

Posted by: emily8 | February 5, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Foamy - I can't believe your baby boy is 7 months old now. This last year has gone by way too fast.

Posted by: emily8 | February 5, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Moxie, that's kind of a strawman approach, dontcha think? Just because you like Valentines day does not mean you are neglected the rest of the year.

___________________
Please read more carefully. I did not say that everyone who likes valentines day is neglected the rest of the year. I did say that people who count on this holiday as the one day that they will be treated nicely are sad. I prefer to choose where and when to tell the people I love that I love them. Doing it on valentines day for me is less special than flowers or a card for no reason at all. I don't care what people do on their own time and if you want to head to a crowded restaurant and be rushed out with the herd, then be my guest. We'll be out another weekend when it is more plesant. I do not like having time taken out of school for silly things like valentines and st. patrick's day when they only have recess once a week. As I said before, none of the children I know suffer from any shortage of fun and delight.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | February 5, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

But Moxiemom, the way schools celebrate Valentine's Day combines several educational elements. There is the art/craft/creative aspect to making cards, writing the names of classmates/personal notes, and of course, there is social value associated with every group celebration. Why not make education fun, or at least part of it?

If you ask me, it's love, romance, and the silliness of human tradition that make the world go round and round. I'm just glad public education hasn't taken this from the kids.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | February 5, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Whacky, seriously, I don't think many kids in this country are undersocialized or under crafted. What they are deficient in is music, exercise and math. I'm all for making learning fun, but not everything that is fun is learning.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | February 5, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm... Never thought father daughter dances were creepy - the suggestion seems weird to me. But my Dad is a terrific dancer, and it was a very special treat to get to dance with him. Both my sisters felt that way too.

Older son doesn't care about dancing, but younger son seems to have inherited the dance-genes, so DH and older son make the music, while younger son and I cut the rug, and everybody has fun. Doesn't matter if it's Feb. 14, or any other day of the year.

And moxiemom had a valid point about *only* receiving expressions of love and affection on the red-letter days. Or maybe I'm as spoiled as she is, because I get surprised with flowers pretty much all year round. Sometimes from DH, and sometimes one or the other of the boys decides that mom needs some flowers just because...

Posted by: SueMc | February 5, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

fr emily1:

>Yes, it's kind of creepy. But not as creepy as those purity dances (the kind where daughters promise to not have sex before marriage and there is some kind of fancy dance where the father takes the daugher. Ick!!!!

Oh, I SO agree.

Posted by: Alex511 | February 6, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Decorating the "mail box" (kleenex box) with hearts--always a beloved class activity. Loved it as a kid, loved it as a room parent at school, still enjoy it as an old woman. Send someone a card from "a secret admirer" and smile all day.

Posted by: Yorktown | February 9, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

My wife is a 5th grade room parent at a Montgomery County Elementary School. She tried to organize this year's V-day party around the idea of giving rather than receiving. As such, her plan was to order bulk gloves, hats, scarves (you can find them online for pretty cheap) and have an ice-cream party at school where the kids would decorate the kid-sized clothing (not the adult sized ones) and make v-cards. once done, they were going to deliver them to area homeless shelters. She figured that we are in the middle of winter and homeless people are more than likely lacking in necessary winter clothing. Total cost per kid would have been less than $5.

She even had a plan where she insisted the kids not just be given $5 by their parents. She wanted them to work for it, either in the house or somewhere in the community. 25 cents for doing the dishes. $2 to wash the car. whatever. she just wanted the kids to work for the money. These kids get so many parties throughout the year and they have so much in their lives, taking Valentines to let the less unfortunate know that other people care about them and wish them well seemed to be a great way to go.

believe it or not, the idea was shot down by the school. it floors me that this wasn't jumped on as a fantastic idea.

Posted by: DreamOutLoud | February 10, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Well, as a single mom I always felt that having to go buy and get together extra stuff like valentines for grade school kids was more stress and trouble and I was not too fond of it. But valentine's day is not the worst in the scheme of things. It only lasts a day and requires a box of schlocky cards which are cheap and easy to come by. I was and still am much more stressed out by christmas and its endless obligations.

As an adult, when I was married my ex was completely unromantic - no flowers, cards, anything, said if i wanted something, go buy it. So I told myself I didn't care either. But now I have been in a relationship for a few years that is sweet and romantic, and I find I do like it. I don't think it is necessary to go overboard, but a day celebrating love is a nice thing.

Posted by: catherine3 | February 10, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

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