ICYMI: Conversation Hearts & Diamond Rings

Happy Valentine’s Day! Celebrate by waxing nostalgic about V-Day decorations of yore!

It’s the 90s: Let’s All Decorate For Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day season, I guess!  Valentine’s Day falls into one of my favorite holiday subcategories: a Snack Holiday. A Snack Holiday is almost a normal day, except there are themed snack foods. Snack Holidays don’t require gift exchanges or elaborate meals, which are entirely optional. Other Snack Holidays include Halloween, Fat Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day, and maybe Lincoln’s Birthday if you swing it right. Snack Holidays are closely related to, and sometimes overlap with, drinking holidays: Mardis Gras (Fat Tuesday + booze), Independence Day, St. Patrick’s Day. I love them all!

You may be thinking that Valentine’s Day is NOT a Snack Holiday because presents and fancy meals are obligatory. However, except for a few couples I know, most people leave these big celebrations behind in their early twenties. You wouldn’t think so, but it’s actually pretty great being single on Valentine’s Day in your late 20s. Most of your friends who are dating, engaged, or married have been together so long that they aren’t into big, amateurish displays of affection. Most of them are spending the holiday ordering a pizza and seeing if there’s anything good on Netflix. Yes, except for a brief interlude from the ages of, say, 15 to 25, V-Day is a Snack Holiday we can all enjoy.

For those of us who grew up in the 90s, our concept of Valentine’s Day as a Snack Holiday was established in our classroom parties. So in this holiday edition of Let’s All Decorate, let’s take it back and decorate that classroom, why don’t we?

Beanie Babies

In the height of the Beanie Baby craze, there’s a good chance your teacher displayed seasonal Beanies on her crowded desk, probably next to the cold cup of teacher’s lounge coffee. It was one of the few attempts at teacher coolness that actually sort of worked, except that you gave her a bit of side-eye for displaying a “rare” holiday Beanie Baby on her desk without a tag protector or clear plastic coffin.

Shoebox Mailboxes

I’m going to go ahead and call this the most highly-anticipated busywork of the year. Sometime before your Valentine party, the teacher would bust out a stash of shoeboxes she had saved from every pair of sneakers, loafers and boots that she, her husband, and her children had bought for the past year. “Wasn’t it nice of her to save those JUST FOR YOU?”…  Is a thought that never occurred to me as a child because children are selfish little dirtbags. You would cover the shoebox in plain paper, then decorate with stickers, crayons, and if your teacher was exceptionally chill about classroom mess, some glitter.

The mailboxes served a triple purpose of keeping the Valentines neater than they’d have been in a pile on your desk, concealing who received which Valentine (although you had to give one to every kid, so whatever), and filling up a solid half hour of post-lunch time on a day when kids are bouncing off the walls.

Note: if your teacher’s children didn’t go through as many shoes that year, you may have decorated manila envelopes that you taped off the edge of your desk, instead.


If you’re reading this and thinking of proposing to your significant other today, don’t.

Dear Future Fiance (A Note on Proposing)

Dear Future Fiance,

Thanks to the magic that is Facebook, I’ve been #blessed with waking up in the morning and seeing which of my friends or friends’ friends is set to take the plunge with their significant other. This number is higher during certain times of the year, most notably the holidays. Now I’m not being a Bitter Betty about this or intending to put anyone down if they DID get engaged over the holidays, I just am expressing what I want in a potential proposal. As the wise and beautiful land mermaid Amy Poehler wrote in her book Yes Please:

So in an effort to not be part of the cliche statistic, I’m writing this to set a few ground rules. If you already have a problem with me saying this, then maybe we shouldn’t even get married in the first place.

– Do not propose to me on Christmas Eve.

Christmas is my favorite holiday. I like the spirit of it, I like the traditions that come with it. I am accustomed to doing the same thing every year and I like it that way. Some kind of big dinner, candlelight service at church, pictures with the fam before we change out of our nice clothes. It is also my mother’s birthday, so, not a good day to steal her thunder.

– Do not propose to me on Christmas.

Christmas already comes with presents. I do not need an additional diamond/jewel of your (my) choice to be added under the tree. Whatever is on my list is a perfectly acceptable gift. I’d much rather get the complete Dawson’s Creek series on DVD rather than a non-creative proposal. Also it is Jesus’ birthday, so, not a good day to steal his thunder.

– Do not propose to me on New Year’s Eve.

I already dislike New Year’s Eve as it is. It’s always one of those nights where everyone asks you what you’re doing, and makes it out to be some big elaborate thing with a lot of high expectations. Speaking of expectations, I personally expect a proposal is supposed to be a surprise (more or less), something to catch you off-guard. Getting down on one knee on a night where thousands of other men are doing the same thing isn’t a surprise. Also it’s the New Year’s birthday, so, not a good day to steal its thunder.

– Do not propose to me on Valentine’s Day.

If your significant other needs a pre-determined day to do all the romantic things he can possibly think of on only one day out of the year, something’s wrong. I don’t want to go out to dinner and find a ring in a chocolate box (I’ll probably eat it) or at the bottom of my champagne glass (I’ll probably drink it). Again, proposing on Valentine’s Day is cliche and unimaginative, so don’t do it then. Also it’s Cupid’s birthday (not really), so, not a good day to steal his thunder.

– Do not propose to me on my birthday.

It is my birthday, so, not a good day to steal my thunder.

Sincerely,

The Woman Of Your Dreams

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