The practice of sending a Valentine's Day card is one of the most common ways to participate (at a minimum) in Valentine's Day, and is also the second most anticipated holiday for sending greeting cards in the United States after Christmas. Every year consumers spend millions of dollars on cards that will articulate how much they care for their loved ones. And while many may simply call Valentine's Day a "Hallmark holiday" created to part people from their money, it's also a wonderful opportunity to show your affection towards others--both romantically and platonically--as was established through the legend of St. Valentine.
According to the story, Emperor Claudius II made a law forbidding soldiers to be wed because it would decrease their unbridled willingness to charge into battle. In spite of this new rule, a Roman bishop named St. Valentine took it upon himself to begin wedding lovers in secret. Upon discovery that he was committing these crimes, he was immediately imprisoned and sentenced to death. During his stay in the jail, the keeper's daughter would frequent Valentine's prison cell until a relationship began to form. Finally, before being sent to the gallows the jailer's daughter received a farewell note signed, "From your Valentine." This tradition of being someone's Valentine has continued ever since, or so the story goes.
Now the question is, what type of card will you send this year?
There are a variety of cards to send for Valentine's Day. You can buy a single card in the drugstore, a pack of several from an online retailer, or you can even make your own. Don't forget that there are eCards as well--a fun, fast, and often free way to say how much you care. Below you'll find some basic advice for choosing cards, lots of useful links, and plenty of options for shopping!
Make Them Yourself
Making cards, especially on a holiday such as Valentine's Day, is the most thoughtful and personalized type of card to give. Making cards can be quite easy too. Create a mini craft project out of the occasion or encourage a group activity for the whole family to do. Some of the the things you might need include heavy construction paper or cardstock, scissors, and glue. To decorate the cards, try glitter, lace, doilies, feathers, or creative drawings by your own hand. You might even choose to cut up old magazines to create a collage. Another option is to design a card on a greeting card program and print from the computer. If you decide to go that route, here's a useful article from About.com that outlines how to make a greeting card on your computer. You can also find layouts on the Internet and print those as well.
For more creative ideas on how to make your own Valentines, check out the following sites:
* TheRomantic.com: Creative ideas to make unique Valentine's Day cards.
* AllCrafts.net: Valentine's Day craft projects.
* CraftSiteDirectory.com: Project ideas, card making layouts, and more.
The only trick with homemade cards is to make sure that you write something great inside. After all, it's more than the look of the card that matters. Here are some useful Web sites with advice on how to write a proper Valentine:
* MyDearValentine.com: How to say, "I love you" in 100 languages.
* LovingYou.com: How to write a love letter.
* WriteExpress.com: Start to finish, how to write the intro, body, and finale to your love letter.
There are hundreds of Web sites that are dedicated to sending eCards--an eco-friendly, perfect way to say Happy Valentine's Day when you have hundreds of friends on your list or when you want to send virtual hugs and kisses to friends or family overseas. Here are some of the top notch eCard sites on the Web and a brief description of each. Remember, it often pays to send free eCards versus signing up for a paid site unless you're interested in using the program throughout the year.
** Care2.com: Pages and pages of cards to choose from with flash or animation. Standard cards also available.
** Funny-eCards.com: Perfect for people who want to avoid the sappy cards, this site offers a selection of humorous options.
** Hallmark.com: One of the best free sites around with a wide variety of cards to choose from after signing up. Highly recommended.
** Regards.com: Tons of animation with a bit of playful humor to them.
** SuperLaugh.com: Funny and perfect for sharing with friends.
** Yahooligans.com: A decent collection of eCards to choose from, and absolutely free.
* '''Membership Required'''
** AmericanGreetings.com: A variety of cartoon cards, animations, photo cards, and more, but all for a small fee.
** BlueMountain.com: The selection consists of mostly cartoon animations. Once you join you can create and print or email cards or select from all those available on the site.