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I love Valentine’s Day. It is my favorite holiday! Valentine’s Day has always been my favorite holiday. I know, I’m a little bit weird. Christmas is a great holiday, and I love the true meaning of Christmas, but Christmas is also very stressful. I read an article recently about Christmas being a part time job from about the middle of November to the week after Christmas. I agree! It can be very stressful even though the reason we celebrate shouldn’t be stressful at all.

My sons and I were walking through Wal-Mart the other day and one of them comment to me, “Why do there have to be so many holidays?” I asked him what he meant. I can’t remember his exact comment, but he talked about how all the holidays were just about getting people to spend money on stuff they don’t need. Wow, my teenager can even see through what’s going on. I told him no holiday was about buying stuff, it was just how you decided to celebrate it. He said when he got married it would probably be about how his wife celebrated it, and he hoped he didn’t marry someone who wanted stuff every holiday! I told him to be careful who he marries then.

Valentine’s Day though, at least to me, isn’t about money. Sure, you can go buy the giant box of chocolates and the big bouquet of flowers, maybe get a card to go along with it all. That can be pretty nice, but it’s not necessary. Valentine’s Day is the only holiday when we just let people know how much we care for them. Anyone that has made a difference in our lives can be our valentine. I loved when my kids were in Elementary, and they would get valentines. They would sit and show their siblings all the different Valentines they got, some had candy some did not. But it was never about the candy, each one was a treasure to them. I don’t know a person alive who doesn’t like getting a nice card in the mail, Valentine or not, that express appreciation, concern, compassion or love. That’s what Valentine’s Day is to me.

We have several traditions in our family for Valentine’s Day. Some actually do take a little bit of extra time and thought but I thought I would share a couple of my favorites today. Every year starting on February 1st I cut out hearts and write a note to each one of my kids and my husband. Something I noticed them doing that day that impressed me, an expression of appreciation, a quality they possess that I admire. The first year I did it, I wasn’t sure if we would continue or if it even made a difference to them. But they left those hearts on their bedroom doors for the entire year and only moved them when I told them they had to so I could put the next years hearts up. My husband however inspired me the most. I put them on the wall next to his side of the bed, and when I told him I was going to take them down to put up the new ones, he asked me to just move the old ones over so he could still keep them. It has now been 6 years and it’s one of my favorite things to do for Valentine’s Day. The ones below are still on my daughter’s wall going into her room. She is on her mission but wanted them left alone while she was gone. I sent this years hearts to her in the mail and she faithfully puts one on her wall in her apartment every day. It’s amazing how important small words of kindness and gratitude can be, and how they can have a lasting effect on us.

Another tradition is Valentine cookies. I really like cookies; they are my favorite treat. But I am not a fan of cut-out cookies, especially if I have to frost them. But Valentine’s Day is different, and so, almost every year I make at least one batch of sugar cookies that get frosted. Often, we take some of them to others, this year they will go with me to Seminary to help keep the kids awake! They are not fancy, but apparently, they taste good, because my kids have been slowly eating the extras, and it’s not even Valentine’s Day yet!

Those are just a couple of fun traditions we have for Valentine’s Day. It may seem that it’s a day just for people in love, but it’s really a day to express gratitude, appreciation, friendship, and possibly love to someone else around you. I hope you take time tomorrow to give a Valentine to someone else. Send a note, a card, flowers, cookies, or just a simple text to someone you care about or has had a positive impact in your life.

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