Growing up in the Midwest, I remember the Buster Brown shoe store and making Valentine's Day cards by hand from red and pink construction paper and paper doilies. It was a grand thing, what with cupcakes decorated with conversations hearts.
Today's research led me to vinegar valentines, a custom of paper insults given on February 14 and even memorialized in the Calvin and Hobbs Cartoon series.
Calvin often gives Susie vinegar valentines to cloak his true affections.
These caricatures such as the one here from Wikipedia can be sent to spinsters, floozies, dudes and scholars, Hmmm!--
The cards aren't anything too elablorate, a sheet of thin, colored paper or later, postcards,
Considering that in our dire financial straights the average American consumer will spend $102.50 on Valentine's Day gifts, meals, and entertainment, according to an annual U.S. National Retail Federation survey-down from $122.98 per person in 2008.
This year's retail predcition is for expenditures in excess of $14.7 billion for Valentine's Day, including 190 million cards, but not including all those handmade paper cards that kids exchange.
Some 20-25 milliion Chocolate kisses will be made along with 8 billion conversation hearts.
In my office Christina Hughes and I have consumed our fair share of officemate David's supply of pink and red M & Ms. We need to replenish them from the after VD sales and before he returns for North Carolina.
Fifteenth-century Aztec emperor Moctezuma believed "eating chocolate on a regular basis made him more virile and better able to serve his harem,"
WOW! What does that say about my ability to deal with clients after a hot chocolate?.
An estimated 45.8 percent of U.S. consumers will exchange Valentine's Day candy, according to the retail federation survey-adding up to a sweet billion dollars in sales.
About 75 percent of that billion is from sales of chocolate, which has been associated with romance at least since Mexico's Aztec Empire, according to a spokesperson with the association.
This is a huge improvement over the legendary Roman origins of the celebration, Lupercalia Imagine the guys ripping off their togas and streaking, swigging their swale, and whipping young women to improve their fertility.
As with so many popular pagan rituals the Christina rulers, made lemon out of lemonade, and in the 3rd century, A.D. during the reign of Roman Emperor Claudis II, it was switched to Valentine's Day. Young men in the army were forbidden to marry and a man named Valentine performed marriages in secret for the soldiers. He was caught, killed in A.D. 270, February 14 - and later sainted. Of course, there seem to be at last two other St. Valentines in Catholic history books.
Personally, I don't need an excuse to eat chocolate, but it is kinda nice