Remember Valentine’s Day as a kid? If your school was anything like mine, you found an old shoebox, cut a slot in the top, and decorated it with paper doilies and puffy heart stickers. You stationed it on your desk at school and made the rounds in the classroom, giggling and dropping valentines in your friends’ shoeboxes. The “room moms” gave everyone a Dixie cup of cherry Kool-Aid and a homemade cupcake. And when you had delivered your last card and licked the frosting from your fingers, you opened your shoebox and pored over the valentines, some of which were handmade, and all of which seemed very, very special.
For my kids, Valentine’s Day still looks a lot like that. They decorate shoeboxes. The room parents still plan a class party that usually includes a treat. But the valentines? Candy manufacturers seem to have highjacked those. There are now Blow Pop Valentines and Fun Dip Valentines. There are gummy fruit snack pouches and little boxes of Nerds you can write on–so you don’t even need paper valentines anymore. Last year my kids’ shoeboxes looked more like Trick-or-Treat than Valentine’s Day (Read “I Have No Love for Candy Valentines“).
I’m not against candy on Valentine’s Day. In years past, I’ve bought small, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates for my kids on the holiday. Chocolate and Valentine’s Day are practically synonymous, I get it (and as a chocolate lover myself, I’m okay with it). What I’m against is food manufacturers finding yet another way to push even more of their candy and junk onto families. It’s all about marketing. It’s all about money. And it doesn’t do our kids any good (especially the ones with life-threatening food allergies).
If you agree, I hope you’ll check out this post from School Bites, which urges parents to avoid buying candy valentines this year–and to spread the word to other parents, to teachers, and to the school’s principal and PTA. She even includes a sample email you can send to your child’s teacher or principal if you’d like to see class valentines go back to basics.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about candy valentines, so please share them.