I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day candy. JuJu Hearts and Cinnamon Lips aside, I believe the more delightful confectionary holidays are later in the year. The real reason I enjoy Valentine's Day is because of the valentines themselves, or maybe more accurately, their receptacles.
Do you remember making valentine boxes back in Elementary School? So much fun! Sometimes they were shoeboxes wrapped in tissue paper; other times they were elaborately themed works of art, but either way, their purpose was the same: to collect valentines from your classmates.
While the most intricate valentine container I ever constructed was a robot with heart eyes, my older sister was legendary in our family for her 6th grade masterpiece.
The infamous "Valentine Pig" was created in the same way you'd make a piñata: with a big balloon, newspaper strips, and a pasty glue mixture. Once it dried, Big Sis painted it pink, cut a paper towel tube into hooves and a snout, and finished it off by adding a curly tail and some of those googly eyes from craft stores. It was, as I remember it, the coolest valentine receptacle of my childhood. It was also pretty ahead of its time seeing as gourmet shops now sell chocolate bars with bacon pieces.
In addition to these scholastic creations, my family also made individual valentine envelopes to hang on our bedroom doors. Every sibling and parent created and decorated a valentine envelope that was inspected daily for special deliveries...which, now that I think about it, was probably the beginning of my need to obsessively check my email.
But more importantly, these Valentine's Day memories were also the beginnings of a very essential life lesson. Each of us needs a "valentine box" because we all need to receive the love of others. If not, then how on earth can anybody give it away?
That's what this day is all about for me: reminding us to be a little bit more open to love in our lives. And mediocre candy aside, what's so bad about that?