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Celebrating Valentine's Day the Old-fashioned Way

by Mary Emma Allen     <>

Valentine's Day was one of the more memorable days of my childhood, possibly because my sister, brothers, and I didn't have television, movies, videos, and electronic games to entertain us. The simpler pleasures Mother devised and which we children elaborated upon brought excitement into our lives.

The Valentine Box

At school there was the Valentine exchange with all the students putting cards, mainly homemade, into a decorative box. At the end of the school day, we had a Valentine exchange.

At home, we four children made a Valentine box and had a family party at suppertime. We decorated it for our Valentine mail box and "mailed" cards in it throughout the week before Valentine's Day.

Making Cards

For days before that, we youngsters were busy creating cards for all the family members at our farm, which included Mother and Father, an uncle who boarded with us, the hired man who was a substitute grandfather, and brothers and sisters. Often the dog and cat were included on our card list.

Using materials on hand, such as colored paper, brown paper bags, bits of lace and fabric from Mother's sewing, we turned out what we considered masterpieces. (I wish I had some of them today to show my grandchildren!)

Our Party

On Valentine's Day, after school, Mother let us decorate the cake she'd made, put streamers and heart decorations around the kitchen. Perhaps, as an extra-special treat, she had Father buy at the general store in the village some heart-shaped candy, the type with sayings written on them.

Father also always bought Mother a heart-shaped box of chocolate candy. We children looked forward to this because, of course, Mother didn't eat it all herself.

After supper, the postman (one of the children) delivered the cards around the table. Then we'd munch on cake and candy.

Festive Valentine Treats to Make

EART-SHAPED CUT-OUT COOKIES always appeal to youngsters, especially when they can help make them and then frost them. Pink tinted icing is festive on these cookies. Cinnamon candies can be added for decoration.

HEART CAKE - If you have heart-shaped cake pans, use them at Valentine time. Make your cake, either from a mix or recipe, and bake in heart pans, then decorate with pink or white icing. Add candy hearts and silver decorettes to make it even fancier.

CANDY HEARTS - The candy hearts with inscriptions on them can be used at Valentine time when you decorate cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. Even add a few of these and cinnamon candies to the top of a dish of ice cream on Valentine's Day.


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