Contributing to a Candy Culture

When I married my husband, we both agreed that we didn’t need a holiday to tell us when or how to express our love to each other. After a few years without extra romance on Valentine’s Day, however, I sensed that I was the loser in my opinionated stand against the candy, card and flower industry. I softened that stand and have since given and received thoughtful expressions of love on that day and others. Now, I may be hardening my heart, again, toward this holiday with the current trends in Valentine’s giving amongst elementary school-age children.

When I was in elementary school, we distributed our valentines into foicandyheartsl-covered boxes decorated with paper doilies and construction paper hearts. We anticipated opening those identical white envelopes to read the messages from our friends and to see if we received a surprise candy heart or two. While this is probably nostalgia for the “rosy-age” of elementary-school Valentine’s parties, the focus did seem to be on our feelings for each other.

When my oldest daughter was in first grade, eight years ago, I noticed the change. While cards were still a part of the celebration, candy dominated. She came home with as many bite-size candy bars as she did on Halloween.

Now, my third grader and fifth grader are preparing for this year’s celebration. At the grocery store a couple weeks ago, I rejected the sorry selection of Bratz cards. Then, I found a crafty idea. But, it just didn’lollipopt say 10-year-old boy. I finally made it to an unnamed super center and walked up and down the seasonal display aisles looking for the usual boxes of 24 cards. When I couldn’t find any, I discovered the real truth—the card is now right on the candy. We seem to have left the cards altogether and now just give the candy.

So, my daughter ended up making construction paper cards and attaching lollipops to them. And my son? He said this, “I’m not going to bother even writing the names on mine since it’s just candy anyway.”

I said, “Please bother.”

And then he gave me a Valentine when he said, “I’ll write them tonight,” and my heart softened again.


  1. DO
    Feb 14, 2008

    You don’t think your son wanted to give out those cute little mice. This year my kids also made their own valentines that we affixed dove chocolates to. We demonstrated where they should cut and fold, gave them a nifty pen, and sent them on their way. Well, they turned out about how you would expect homemade valentines to turn out when created by a 7 and 9 year old. I had to laugh when my wife reported that my 9 year old son got more creative in his messages then his cutting. He wrote to his teacher, “I hope you don’t get a virus for Valentines Day” along with his best drawing of said virus. I’m sure there is some influence from his 16 year old sister in that one. Another card read simply , “not hate, love”

  2. Michelle at Scribbit
    Feb 15, 2008

    Maybe I’ll have to work up some Valentine dragon flies in honor of the boys out there. For next year 🙂

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