Expat: an American Valentine

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My husband and I have never been huge on Valentines Day. This is largely due to the fact that we didn’t manage to be in the same country, much less city, for our first four or five Valentines Days! Business trips, holidays, family birthdays and anniversaries getting well and truly in the way.

We always bought presents and cards, but we rarely went out for dinner on Valentines Day itself, even before we had children! Once we were married, we declared an amnesty on presents – one that we have got better at sticking to. But, there has to be cards, a bottle (or two!) of fizz and chocolate, and occasionally flowers :)

We are of the mindset that nice gestures, like flowers and fizz, don’t need to wait for Valentines Day – and in our house, they don’t!

So, Valentines Day, not a big deal… Until this year!

I hasten to add though, that this was not due to a sudden change of heart on our part – but due to the ‘celebration’ of the day by our children’s schools :)

Last weekend I spent an hour with my 6yo getting him to write a card for every child in his class. If we had been in any doubt that this was expected of us, the ‘Valentines Day Class List’ sent home in his back pack very quickly set us straight. As did the request from the 3yo’s preschool for a tissue box to decorate as his ‘Valentines Post Box’ – clearly there was an expectation that he would have something to put in it…!

I spent a tedious happy hour writing the 3yo’s cards for him and then stuffing envelopes, for both boys, with a card and eraser, attempting to get them to stay closed, resorting to magic tape in addition to the heart stickers, re-sticking the heart stickers… 28 times!

On top of all that, my sister, who has lived in the States for years, asked me a few days before ‘the day’ if I’d got the ‘Teacher Gifts’?! Seriously? Of course, I promptly forgot about this and woke up at 1.30am on Valentines Day itself and thought, b*gg!r… So spent the next half hour on Pinterest (first time I’ve actually used it for something useful, I may have been converted..!) and found the ideas that my sister had mentioned.

So, husband was sent to Walgreens at 7am to buy hand cream and hand sanitizer. He was sent back again when he came home with ‘utility’ hand cream rather than ‘sweet smelling’ hand cream… And before the kids left for school I managed to do this:

Teacher Gifts

While they were at school, I used the handprint templates that I’d made to make cards for them (I actually managed to draw around the wee girls hand too). It was a perfect opportunity to have a handprint from each of them on the same day to pop into their memory boxes. The boys were absolutely thrilled with their cards too, which was lovely :)


The boys both had parties at school, and came home with cards, candy, stickers, pencils… My neighbour also dropped round gifts, so their Valentines haul looked like this:

Valentines Haul

My husband and I celebrated in our usual fashion once the kids were in bed!


Despite it all being a little over the top, it was actually a lovely day – the boys had such a good time, and were thrilled with the cards and little gifts from their classmates. Maybe next year I’ll get into the spirit a bit more, for them at least!

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0 thoughts on “Expat: an American Valentine”

  1. I miss Valentine’s Day, now we’re back in Scotland. I think there’s something rather sweet about it – if you can get over the sheer amount of pink sugar involved.

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