The FP Confronts Valentine’s Day

I think Valentine’s Day is a silly holiday, and I would like to go back in time and tell Geoffrey Chaucer* not to start the whole thing. It comes with too many expectations, too much romantic competitiveness, too much obligatory cheer.

But my children will have to make up their minds on the subject, and, well, Valentine’s Day at the preschool/elementary level is A Thing. I successfully dodged this Thing last year by scheduling a doctor’s appointment for the boys that morning and not taking them to school (it wasn’t their usual day of the week anyway), but this year Big Brother goes to school every day.

Obviously, I did not go out and buy printed cards for his preschool classmates. Rather, Big Brother and I spent an agreeable hour together making extremely simple construction paper doodads like this:

As the printer was broken, I hand wrote on the back of each one, "To: Friend. Happy Valentines Day! Love, [BB]

As the printer was broken, I hand wrote on the back of each one, “To: Friend. Happy Valentines Day! Love, [BB]”

The beauty of the design was that we could really work together. Big Brother worked extremely hard cutting out all 16 paper hearts while I cut the squares and wrote on the backs. Then we glued a few together; he got bored gluing and put on stickers while I glued the rest.

We already owned the paper, stickers, and glue stick, so the cost in new materials was $0. Priceless: Big Brother’s obvious pride in his hearts.

How do you work Valentine’s Day? Those with older kids, how have you negotiated the minefield of expectations?

*Geoffrey Chaucer’s piece The Parliament of Fowls, about amorous birds, is the first known reference to Valentine’s Day as a romantic holiday. 

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About frugalparagon

I'm a part-time librarian and mom to two small boys. I blog about striving for the long-term goal of financial independence while running a tight ship at home.

5 responses to “The FP Confronts Valentine’s Day”

  1. FP grandma says :

    Very nice.

  2. J says :

    The toddler room at my daughter’s daycare was having a party. I loved all the holidays as a kid, but do one year olds really need to exchange Valentine’s? My daughter is too young to really help make any or know that she’s giving them, and she’s just as happy when I tell her the junk mail is for her as when she actually gets a card. I ignored the list of her classmates names that we found in her cubby since she wasn’t going to be in school the day of the party, but I do feel a little guilty, wondering if she’ll have a bunch of unreciprocated Valentines waiting for her next week. I love your approach with BB!

    • frugalparagon says :

      Yep, both boys got a bunch of unreciprocated cards last year! I refuse to feel guilty since they were never supposed to be there and the cards probably came in big multi-packs. I agree that one-year-olds are too young to get much out of V-Day. They barely notice Christmas! Even Little Brother, at two and a half, would have gotten much less out of making cards as he can’t cut with scissors.

      Most of BB’s classmates gave him purchased cards with licensed characters he doesn’t know! (Like Doc McStuffins, and the kids were kind of frightened of the ninja turtle.) Most of had no sign of child involvement–unless maybe the kid folded them–but I did see a couple on which a precocious tot had scrawled his own name. Sigh.

  3. David says :

    It’s been two VDs (insert venereal disease pun here) since the goblins were in school, so I can’t remember for sure, but I’m pretty sure we just boycotted it. The amount of crap they got was a bit ridiculous, and basically all of it was forgotten within a day.

  4. Mrs. Frugalwoods says :

    Love it. I’ve been wondering how frugal people with kids navigate this consumeristic/weird holiday and I think you found a perfect solution. That’s what I did growing up and I enjoyed making little handmade Valentine’s for my classmates. Makes sense to me to turn it into an actual project the kid can enjoy and build skills from.

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