Thursday, February 9, 2017

Yes, Virginia, Valentines Day IS for Everyone!

I love a celebration!

I'm not quite sure how I got started on my Valentine's celebrations, but love is always a good thing to express in tangible ways, so I wanted my kids to learn that. I also wanted to show love to people who might not have a "significant other".



When our kids were growing up, we had a Valentine's mailbox. These were works of art by the combined efforts of my four children. We made them on or near February 1. And we made them BIG! Every year I'd think, "We don't need a box this big," but every year by Valentines we had cards spilling out and piled up beside the box!

What the box needs is to look Valentinsy--red, pink, purple, white, lace, hearts, glitter.

And it needs a mail slot in the top or side.

After the mailbox was made, I set up a "Valentine's Central" on a corner table in the kitchen. I left supplies of construction paper, wrapping paper, glitter, lace, glue, tape, markers and crayons. This was where anyone who had a minute or two would come and make a Valentine for someone else and "mail" it in the mailbox.



I told my children to think of something they love, appreciate, or admire about the person they are making the card for and to tell them in the card. This could be a challenge when it's a brother or sister!

Since I wanted everyone to receive a Valentine from everyone, I made little charts for each child to check off when they had made a Valentine for someone. But...organization was never high on the list of characteristics of the Fleming children, much to my husband's dismay. (Yes, they get this from their mother.) However, in fairness, I'm happy to say that as they've grown older they have developed this quality...I digress.

Then we decided to include their unmarried teachers from the school for missionary kids that my children attended in Bogota, Colombia. So I sent invitations for a Valentine's dinner. The first or second year, I got a phone call from one of the teachers saying I had invited every unmarried teacher except one, could I include her? Of course! And thus the Fleming's Annual Valentine's Party tradition began.



One stipulation was that every guest also had to make a Valentine for everyone who would be present. It took some doing to get a firm list of who was coming in time for everyone to create their Valentines. 

Our guests were  the best sports. Some of the Valentines they brought were:

  • A poem written especially for each person
  • A coveted peanut butter cup (not available in Colombia these had to be imported!) for each one
  • Drawings
  • Paintings
  • Each person's favorite kind of candy (this took serious research!)
  • a flower for each one
  • An origami swan for each one
  • A personal note to each person

We very seldom had cheesy kids Valentines. When everyone arrived, they "mailed" their Valentines in the box.

After a meal of as many red or heart shaped things I could think of and before a dessert of something gooey and chocolate, we played "Valentine's Games".

Some of our ideas:

  1. Starting with one person, they had to sing the line of a song that has the word "love" in it (everyone joins in if they can). Then the next person had to come up with a different song. And the third person still a different song, going around until someone couldn't think of one. There are two ways to continue here--just jump over that person, or have them be "out" and keep going until there's only one person left.
  2. Have everyone tell their favorite Bible verse that has the word "love" in it.
  3. Get some to share about their first crush way back when.
  4. Have a few tell about a time someone made them feel truly loved.


Then we read a version of St. Valentine's story. There are many and I'm not sure which one is true, but they all have reason provoke thought on true love. I googled this just now and found this one and also this one to get you started.

Finally, came the moment everyone had been waiting for: 
The Opening Of The Valentine's Mailbox!

My kids delighted in passing out the Valentines. At first people seemed pleasantly surprised that they got a Valentine or two. But as the pile grew, we often heard them say, 

  • "I haven't gotten a Valentine since grade school"
  • "Oh, thank you! That's so kind of you to say that!"
  • "This is the best Valentine's I've ever had!"

Remember, if we had 15 people, each one got 14 Valentines!

Then came the gooey chocolate dessert--what is it about chocolate that feels like LOVE?

Everyone, even the "macho" male teachers, took all their Valentines home. One of the teachers would take the box back to her classroom for the whole class to get in on the love, because romantic love isn't the only kind of love there is.

So, yes Virginia, Valentine's Day is for you, too!


For more inspiring Valentine's ideas click here.

Special thanks to Lil from Embracing the Lovely for sharing her stock photos.



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6 comments:

  1. This is a wonderful story and a great tradition for your family. It is something I would like to start to do in my home. Since my daughter moved out of the house, Valentine's Day just doesn't seem the same. This would be a great way to bring the love back to a special day. I would love it if you would share this and any other posts at the This Is How We Roll Link party. It is live now. See you there.

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  2. Lovely tradition! And a tangible way to show God's love on a day many people feel singled out and lacking. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. I didn't realize you had been (are?) in Colombia! My family took a short term mission trip there in 2009 and still sponsor a child who attends school in Villavicencio.
    This article is so full of wonderful Valentine's Day ideas. Thanks for sharing it at the Healthy Living Link Party.
    I'll add the idea of giving a flower or other remembrance to each widowed person at church. We do corsages and boutonnieres.
    Blessings, Leigh

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    Replies
    1. We lived in Colombia for 16 years and were in Peru for 8 years before that. We visited Villavicencio in 2007, the year before we left Colombia. All the previous years it had been terrorist controlled and too dangerous! So great you support a child there.

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  4. What a lovely tradition. I also believe that Valentine's Day is for celebrating all kinds of love, including loving yourself. Happy Valentine's Day to you!

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