SummarySt. Valentine’s Day is more than chocolate and roses. Jennifer shows you how to reclaim it from the commercial market and celebrate the day Catholic style.
Like most holidays in modern America, Valentine’s Day has taken on a life of its own.
Presents, cards, flowers, decorations, gimmicks, it gets bigger every year. Letting your loved ones know you care is never a bad thing; however, the true spirit of the holiday has been lost.
This year, reclaim this Catholic holiday from the commercial market.
1. Read the real story of St Valentine
The day is named for a Catholic saint, who was a martyr. He isn’t celebrated because he gave diamonds and chocolates to his love, but because he gave his life in service to Christ. St Valentine was a priest, who taught about the love of God and the virtue of Catholic marriage.
Look up his story online or purchase a storybook to share with your children to learn why Valentine is a saint. Our family reads St Valentine by Robert Sabuda.
2. Pray for his intercession to bring love into your home and increase your devotion to Christ.
As with every Catholic holiday, prayer should be a focus of your celebration. Asking for the intercession of saints is a powerful way to pray. My husband always leads a prayer invoking St Valentine’s intercession in our family life, our service to others, and our faith.
Do you know anyone who could use prayer? Why not take this day to ask St Valentine to pray they may know the love and peace of God in their lives?
3. Write love letters to your children
Letter writing is a dying art, but it shouldn’t be. I have large totes filled with the letters my husband wrote me when we were dating, written by hand on stationary, no less. We have tried to keep the letter writing going, although life is so much busier now, and we only do so about once a year.
One way I have kept this tradition alive is by writing letters to my children on special occasions, first birthday, Baptism, First Holy Communion, etc. As our children have grown, I have realized my letter writing isn’t happening as often as I would like it. So, this year, I will start a new tradition of writing a love letter to each of my children.
These letters need not be long or eloquent, but they are a special treasure worth more than gold, once your children are grown and can look back at how much Mom and/or Dad loved them.
4. Celebrate as a family with a special meal
Our favorite way to celebrate a special time is with a tea. I pull out all the stops–linens, china, crystal, and silver. Our fanciest tea each year is in honor of Saint Valentine. Instead of decorations, we light a blessed candle. Some years, I have crafted exquisite tea sandwiches and delectable treats.
Other years, we have simply had store bought cookies and soup. The food isn’t really the point. Our teas are a way to create special family memories, slow down and enjoy each other’s company, and teach our children about beauty and grace.
So pick a time that everyone can sit down together, put out your best plates, and enjoy a family meal.
5. Create valentines and send them to special people and those who are forgotten
A favorite activity each year is crafting valentines to hand out to family and friends. I lay out paper, doilies, glitter glue, stickers, glue sticks, and whatever else I can dig up from the craft bin. The kids get to design their own cards and decide who gets them.
It is also nice to pass some on to those who may not be remembered otherwise. Some ideas are to send them to a nursing home, children’s hospital, prison, or one year, we sent them to a soldier we knew serving in Iraq. His fellow servicemen and women were very happy to receive love from home.
Do you have any St Valentine’s Day traditions?
How do you and your family honor the holiday’s Catholic roots?