Forget roses and prix fixe dinners. This February 14, I just want a few handmade Valentine’s Day cards.
Because always chocolate.
Ever since I was a kid, Valentine’s Day has always meant friendship and platonic love. When I was in maybe 3rd grade, my younger sister lost all her valentines. All the tiny packs of candy, the Disney-themed cards, the hand-signed doilies—gone. She was heartbroken.
Later that night, I went through my own haul. I crossed off “Catherine” on every darn card and wrote in my sister’s name instead.
I then gave her a paper sack filled with cards from my classmates to cheer her up.
It should be no surprise, then, that when I think of Valentine’s Day, I don’t get goo-goo over the romantic aspects of the holiday. Instead, I melt at the memory of mailboxes made out of Kleenex boxes, carefully writing friends’ names on Ariel the Little Mermaid cards and the chalky taste of Sweethearts I choked down in the interest of reading the messages.
Now that I have kids, I get to relive the sweet, innocent side of the holiday—partly through crafting handmade Valentine’s Day cards.
“Everyone has a home, right, Mom?” Peeper asked me the other day.
“No, sweetie. Some people don’t have homes.”
Peeper’s question opened the door to talk about homelessness—and what, exactly, it means. Even better, it inspired us to do something.
Her question prompted us to fill a stocking for the homeless with the most in-demand items that help people without reliable housing. We’ll give the stocking, which was sewn by volunteers at the local nonprofit Fill a Stocking, Fill a Heart, to a business collecting them for people who don’t have enough. When reading about Fill a Stocking, I learned that the stockings go to lots of people, including homebound seniors and kids in foster homes. I also learned that many of the people who receive the stockings won’t get any other present this holiday.
For at least one person, my kids and I will give back this Christmas.
I received a free craft kit from Little Loving Hands to try out. As always, all opinions here are my own.
My Peeper, she has one of the kindest, most empathetic hearts I’ve ever known. She brings Kiwi’s favorite toys to her when Little Sister is crying. She covers me in kisses if I stub my toe (including the time a few weeks ago when I’m pretty sure I broke my pinkie toe—ouch!). She gets choked up if a character in a book is sad.
So it’s natural that she wants to help others.
Volunteering opportunities for preschoolers and younger kids are slim pickings, though. I keep an eye out for children’s volunteering activities but rarely find a way to bring her along.
So we create our own volunteering opportunities at home. We make cards for Meals on Wheels. We do the monthly activities, like cleaning up the nearby park and making bird feeders, sent to us by Giving Families. And recently, we made a craft for a homeless child living in a shelter with the kit from Little Loving Hands. Read more