The Redemption of Valentine’s Day

Handmade Valentine cards made by my kiddos.

Valentine’s Day. And no, this is not about love, so before you disregard this as some cliché “anti-love” rant from a single woman, please read on a bit more and you will see that this piece is indeed, quite the opposite. It’s more about the stupidity of the average human being, which is in the end redeemed by certain acts of genuine simplicity.

I have never been one to celebrate the holiday, and this is for a plethora of reasons. I think the only thing I have ever appreciated about Valentine’s Day are the ever so cute boxers and pajama pants that Old Navy comes out with every year. There is nothing that says “I love you” quite like sleepwear covered in monkeys and bananas, with the phrase “I’m bananas over you”.

However, many years of working in the service industry has had a Pavlov Effect on me. At even the slightest hint of the words “Valentine’s Day”, my gag reflexes start overacting. I’m sure that any one who has ever worked in the service industry has the same tendencies. I assure you, nothing can make a bottle of Jameson go down faster then working Valentine’s Day night at a restuarant.

Valentine’s Day is for amateurs.

Any one in the industry, or furthermore, any connoisseur of fine dining can also tell you that Valentine’s Day is the absolute WORST day to go out for a nice meal. Restaurants utilize this day to mark up a mundane menu, consisting of simple foods that people who don’t dine regularly can recognize. “Yes, I will have the filet mignon well done, and a glass of the White Zinfandel. Gag. And it’s even more comical when they pronounce the “t” in filet. Believe me, this has happened- and many times. My personal favorite is when a guest orders a glass of Pinot Noir with a “t”.

I will always remember one table I had a couple years back . At the time, I was working at a snazzy steak house in downtown Austin, and we were running late on reservations. To attempt to placate our guests during the wait, we handed out complimentary champagne while they “patiently” waited. As I handed the champagne to one couple, the husband barked at me that they had been waiting for over an hour. His wife slapped him over the head, apologized to me, and then told him “well it’s your own damn fault you only take me out on Valentine’s Day. What do you expect?!” Bingo. She was one smart cookie.

But those days are now over for me, and the meaning of Valentine’s Day has consequently evolved with my new profession.

Welcome to the life of a kindergarten teacher.

For teachers, Valentine’s Day is a paradigm of its own, and with this new translation, I am able to roll the two words off the tip of my tongue without provoking any gag reflexes. And get this- I am actually starting to enjoy the holiday.

So here I am, preparing Valentine’s Day activities for the classroom. And what does this involve, you ask? Well, firstly: A whole lotta Pinterest.

But in the end, the past week and a half have been filled with  arts and crafts devoted to the holiday that led up to our fun day of passing out cards in our homemade Valentine’s Day boxes, playing Valentine’s Day games, and eating the homemade Valentine’s Day cake I made for the kiddos. I didn’t expect it to be so enjoyable, but it really was an amazing day.

And the best part? Everything was homemade. Back in the States, stores are inundated with a variety of pre-made cards and pre- packaged goodies with “To” and “From’ plastered on Nerd’s boxes with cold, vacant lines for kids to fill out.

But hold up. I’m in Honduras. And here, none of that exists.

As a result, Valentine’s Day is back to the basics. The presence of Hallmark is absent and there exists no pre-made Valentine card/candy packages. When I sent a note home with the kids to bring Valentine’s Day cards , I was not anticipating the elaborate cards which arrived. Today, I was pleasantly surprised when the kids showed up to school with hand made creations that were out of this world. Everything was hand drawn, cut, pasted, and truly, straight from the heart.

So here is to taking the Hallmark out of Valentine’s Day and redeeming the otherwise tacky holiday.


Now, go make someone a hand made card.


  1. Enoch Castleberry says:

    BOOM! Lovely read!

  2. Well said, Jenna.

  3. loved it. well done.

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