The big box stores have made it so convenient to pick up packages of the latest superhero or princess themed Valentine's Day cards, slap on a commercially packaged piece of candy and call it a day. I need to remind myself often when school parties roll around, it's not about the convenience, it's about the thought. To me, Valentine's Day is about showing those you love that they are treasured in your life, you care about them. I think the best expression of this is something homemade and from the heart. That's probably why I'm so big on gifting food! All my hard work in one little dish that's specially planned for my friends.
A handmade Valentine is not about trying to be the best class mom. Truth be told, I have only been in one of my children's classrooms ONE time this year. (Parent teacher conferences and open houses aside.) I do not have the luxury of a couple "free" hours in the middle of my day ( ...yet!) however, I DO have 30 minutes after they have gone to bed, to stamp, cut and paste cards together.
The boys help me pick out the theme, their stamp and the colors. It's fun for me to see them brainstorm and to get creative with me on how our vision will come together. They are getting old enough now that they're pretty good at cutting, gluing and even stamping! It may not always be straight but we're not teaching perfection here! I'm trying to groom them into thoughtful young men with deliberate actions. I hope that by spending time with them and showing them the importance of making things with your hands, it teaches them to be more resourceful later in life as well as heartfelt gift givers. After all, books are written about the love letters men have written over centuries. They're not written about the man who picked out the most sentimental Hallmark card!
Personally, as I look through all the cards I have saved in my life (and I am NOT much of a sentimental trinket keeper), those that I stow away always have handwritten messages to me or some aspect of handmade art to them. If I know someone has put their time into creating it for me, I have a hard time separating myself from it. I hope my boys will not only remember the time we shared together creating these cards, but carry on the tradition throughout their own lives.