Valentine’s Day Class Activities: Comparing Today to my 1950s Class

vintage valentine

Valentine’s Day class activities were once entirely different than they are today. My grandsons will get packages of Valentines from the dollar store. These cards usually have some favorite cartoon character on it and a generic message. They sign their name to about 25 of them, and then put them in a baggie with candy. Their Valentine’s Day class activities involve passing out a Valentine to every boy and girl in their class. No one is left out. Nothing is heartfelt, and candy is almost always involved. It has become a highly commercialized event that lacks special meaning. Valentine’s Day was a “Thanksgiving Day” of the heart. It was meant to show the people you loved your appreciation for them. The holiday has turned into something entirely different today.

Valentine’s Day Class Activities in the 1950’s Were Much Different

vintage valentine from 1950s
Tipnut is offering free downloads of Vintage Valentines like this on their site.

Today, Valentines aren’t given the way I remembered them.  Recently I was perusing the Pinterest website when I came across some vintage Valentines. Memories of the past came flooding in. My mind replayed the long ago celebrations of my childhood. The cards were very simple really, just cardboard with cute little children or animals. Many included a rhyming verse, like, “You’re Purrrfic for me!” They were simple, sweet, innocent, and treasured at that time.

I was a baby boomer from a large Midwestern city who went to a parochial school. The classes were overcrowded and the nuns were strict and caring. You learned respect, empathy, and how to share a desk. You learned how to value what little you had or received.

Our Valentine’s Day class activities began a week before Valentine’s day. We’d take turns decorating a large cardboard box with wrapping paper, paper doilies, colored hearts, and ribbon. It would sit in a prominent part of the classroom on Valentine’s Day. The students were asked to drop in their Valentine to their special friends. On the designated day,  our Valentine’s Day class activities began with a specially selected classmate. This child was selected by merit to open the box and hand deliver the Valentines. A few minutes at the end of the day was allotted for the awaited deliver. If you received more than seven valentines you were quite popular. We did not have any sort of party or refreshments like they do today. Our Valentine’s Day class activities involved simply receiving these little gems of well wishes. I remember getting them from friends I wished to get them from and some who I did not. I can still remember reading them at home for weeks after the day, and saving most of them until the next year.

a vintage Valentine
Another  vintage Valentine

Some times I wish my grandsons could experience that simpler time.

Valentine’s Day class activities in the 1950s, it was a time when more was not the quest. In the 1950s we learned the real value of the celebration.

We crafted our own Valentines. We wrote our own personal messages. We gave with good intentions. We received because we were worthy.

The sentiment of the day was much different in the 1950s. Valentines were for someone who really means something to you.

Today Valentines are just another card that you are beholden to give, en mass, to everyone in your class. The giver holds no special sentiment and the receiver has no reason to cherish the gift.

Incorporating Past Valentine’s Day Class Activities for Today:

If you’d like to try and make Valentine’s Day class activities a little more personal and meaningful again, consider choosing free valentines to download with your kids rather than buying commercialized ones at the store. Choose meaningful treats, and encourage your kids to write a meaningful message on the back.

The webite DLTK Growing Together has a nice hubpage of printable Valentine Card box crafts. Just visit them for downloadable copies of their templates.

Check out these box valentine card holder templates from DLTK crafts for kids. They are free to download and print out.
Visit DLTK Crafts for Kids to download and print these box valentine card holder templates.

 Download Free Retro 1950s Valentines Day Cards

Print these vintage Valentines from the 1950s. Like the retro style? Here are 8 cute valentines. Just print, cut, and share!
Vintage Valentines from the 1950s.

We’ve gotten a few reader requests for some vintage 1950s Valentines Day cards.  We’ve decided to add a PDF sheet of them for our readers. Just simply click on the image to see these cute free Valentines Day cards and more.

We’ve got a cute 1950s puppies, a vintage Batman Valentine that says, “I’m Batty about you.” There’s also a sweet soda shop card that is quintessential 1950s. It reads, “Would you be my Valentine? I’d be SODA lighted.” We’ve included a tea cup Valentines Day card that reads, “You suit me to a tea, Valentine!”

My favorite is the 1950s card of a girl with a lollipop that says, “Don’t make a sucker out of me. Let’s be Valentines.”

Feel free to print them out and share them. They are a fun way to celebrate Valentines Day with grandparents, neighbors, family, and friends.

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