One of the lesser known drawbacks of large public school classes: all the Valentine’s Day cards your child (read you) has to make! Fortunately, I rather enjoy creating Valentines, and so do my kids. Phew!
When I was little, the ladies in my family would help me with my own mass production. My mother, an artist, would draw animals on her hearts, which I then reserved for my very best friends. Or my step-mother would create collages from exotic scraps – a piece of pink metallic wrapping, origami paper, or little jewels – that she’d carefully saved for the occasion. Together, we’d cut hearts and glue glitter and ribbons, or sometimes even make heart ornaments out of baked dough. Though certainly more time-consuming, making individual cards was also more fulfilling and fun – the stuff of memories. I also recall the other children who every year made the most coveted cards. Wouldn’t Erik Palin (no relation to Sarah) like to know that, thirty years later, his legacy is still the best cards in Orleans Elementary!
My children are a bit young to cut a million hearts themselves. So I solved the problem (and saved my fingers) by folding tissue paper over and over; one cut produced about 10 Valentines. Thus with markers, hearts and glue sticks strewn about the table, we were able to craft 40 lovely cards in about 1 hour. This was still a bit longer than the attention span of one pre-schooler and a kindergartener, so in the end I was left to finish up the last few myself. But I didn’t mind. For me it was not only fun, but the continuation of a treasured tradition.