It has become a challenge for every holiday: how to honor its intent, not the commercial qualities. This is especially true for Valentine’s Day.
How did Valentine’s Day come to mean the most romantic holiday? Well, St. Valentine’s Day began as a celebration of one or several early Christian saints. There are a number of stories about martyred saints with this name. But the holiday first became associated with romantic love around the 12th century when it was connected with courtly love. Geoffrey Chaucer, the English poet, popularized the holiday with his poetry about “valentines” in the 14th century. The holiday continued to evolve until, in the 15th century, lovers commemorated the day by giving one another “valentine” cards and flowers or candy. Eventually, printers began creating “Valentines” expressing affection creatively for people to give to one another and in later years, to mail to one another. The style of Valentine cards varied over time, ranging from tintypes to lace trimmed paper to decorative wreaths.
What can you do to acknowledge Valentine’s Day and demonstrate your affection for your beloved? Here are some gift ideas that involve more than ordering red roses from the florist (although that is a wonderful start to the celebration):
1. Make it an occasion for the two of you. Prepare a special Valentine’s dessert. If your Valentine is a lover of chocolate, make a mini-chocolate cake: one for each of you. Maybe one with a molten chocolate center would make it a truly special event! Or just make a fancy version of your beloved’s favorite dessert.
2. Locate a good photo of the two of you and place it in a very special frame. You can make one (construction paper and lace trimmings) or purchase one. Give it to him or her with a poem you wrote yourself.
3. Build a Valentine box by locating an antique wood box or small metal one. Spruce it up with glitter or rhinestones or ribbon. Or even, if it is wood, take the time to refinish it into bright, satiny wood. Inside, place a special gift. Perhaps a gift card or “IOU” for some activity you can do together. After the gift is used, your Valentine can use the box for other items. But the memory will linger for years.
4. Using heavy-stock paper, cut out hearts and fold them over. Inside, place different messages of love. You can even use this gift to make it “Valentine’s Week” by placing heart messages around the house for him/her to find. Alternatively, you can include photos from times you have spent together and put those in the hearts that you scatter around the bedroom or places your Valentine relaxes.
5. Plan a romantic evening. Make reservations at a romantic or favorite restaurant. After dinner, place candles around the living room or bedroom to set the mood – or continue it. Perhaps place a bottle of wine nearby to toast another year of love. Rent a romantic couples’ movie and watch it together. Or play soft, romantic music to enhance the mood. Remember, this is your time to appreciate one another and the feelings of love you share. Perhaps you can conclude the evening with a sensual massage.
In the busy life that is typical of modern society, we rarely make the time to focus on one person. Make this Valentine’s Day a special one by giving the gift of time and you to your beloved.