Valentine's Day Fun

February is the month of Valentine's Day. When I was a little girl at school, we made homemade valentines, a box or bag for them to be delivered to and covered a classroom mail box with hearts and lace. Later, in the long years of being a single teacher, I developed some other customs I'd like to share.

One is getting a bargain and sharing the joy. On the day after Valentine's Day, many stores have remarkable sales on fresh cut flowers and valentine's candy. I used to buy as many of the flowers as I could afford - often a rose or a bouquet was 50¢ - and I'd spend $10 or so. Then I would drive around the town where I lived. Twice I rang the doorbell of a facility for mentally retarded adults. I said, "Please put these on the table at dinner tonight." They didn't know who I was or why I had done that. I didn't think that was important. I went to the home of every widow I knew, leaving a few flowers, sometimes a card and or candy, too. They all appreciated it. Think of someone you could share with - a nursing home, a residential treatment facility, a lonely live-alone. Plan to take them a surprise. Include a card as in the next idea, if you like.

Making valentines. Cut construction paper in half, making lots of 8 1/2 x 5 1/2" rectangles for the base card. Then cut out lots and lots and lots of hearts of different sizes (and shapes - don't be too perfect!) from red, pink, purple, rose, lavender, and white paper. Then search out some good Bible verses about Love. Finally, gather scissors, glue, lace doilies and a sharpie marker.

Paper cut that size lends itself easily to card-making. It can be folded in half for a traditional card, but it is hard to find envelopes to fit. It can also be folded into half the long way to make a card that fits in a legal size envelope (4"x9") or into thirds to make a card that fits into a normal letter size envelope (3 1/2"x6 1/2").

Now the fun really begins! I'll give you a few ideas to get you going, but the kids will have no problem creating their own ideas.

1. Tri-fold card. Paste 5 small hearts slightly overlapping horizontally across the top layer. Print the letters J-E-S-U-S (one letter on each heart). Open to second layer: Big heart, word loves (or luvs or L-{drawn or pasted in heart-shape}-v-s). Open to the third layer: U! (Smaller letters: I love you, too! John 3:16)

2. Bi-fold card the long way. Cut a heart that is very tall and thin and kind of wiggly or wavy. Write "MY" above the heart and "U" below it. Inside write, "My (draw or paste a heart) is out of shape over U. Please say U (draw or paste a heart) me 2. John 13:34 "

3. Tri-fold card. Three hearts partly overlapped. Draw an eye on the first, a heart in the middle one and U on the 3rd. Next layer: "JESUS loves U 2." Inside, "Won't U give your (draw or paste a heart) 2 Him?" Eph 3:19

4. Bi-fold the short way. Two hearts not quite separated. In one write "ME," on the other write "U." Inside, "(draw a big numeral one) in Jesus" 1John 4:16

Each one may end with a Bible verse. Some of my favorites can be found at the end of this article. I made these Valentines by the hundreds in the week or so before Valentine's Day. One year, I took enough for every resident of a nursing home. Another year, I had enough for the inmates in a local prison. Many of us are good at remembering these people at Christmas, but they are lonely again by Valentine's Day - and winter is dragging on. They appreciate a breath of springtime!

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