Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Harvest a bumper crop of Valentines

Who are your valentines this year?
Sweethearts get the most attention from the merchants, but I think for a lot of us, the roster of loved ones gets a lot bigger and a lot more diverse, the longer we’re on the planet.
Many of us have given up Christmas cards these days and are waiting until February to catch up with loved ones, both far-flung and local.
As with other holidays, there are funny, beautiful and touching e-cards available, but somehow, when it comes to valentines, only the real, tangible thing will do, snail-mailed or hand-delivered. And I always try to slip in a few anonymous cards, signed “Your secret admirer” or sealed with a bright red lipstick print.
Handmade or embellished v-cards are always appreciated, with sweet notes and quotes … preferably original, but timeless poems and thoughts from your favorite authors are also nice.
Every year, I scour the stores for interesting packages of valentines, the kinds school kids give each other.
If you haven’t checked them out lately, you’ll be surprised. My favorites this year are the 3D and holographic shapeshifters: flowers that morph into ladybugs; X-ray effect dinosaurs that go from skeletons to fully-fleshed prehistoric monsters; cute puppies, kittens and jungle animals that move from distant to extreme close-ups with a flick of your wrist.
There are cards for good sports: fold-it-yourself basketball hoops with teensy paper basketballs and artistically patterned oblongs that you can form into magnificent flying machines.
The kids’ assortments offer not only some of the most innovative, cute and beautiful stuff out there, but also are a good fit for almost every budget.
In fact, you could delight and disrupt your entire office and field an entire fleet of paper airplanes or establish several paper basketball leagues for less than the cost of one or two super fancy-schmancy card shop valentines.
I couldn’t limit myself to just one or two kinds this year. I rounded up several varieties and sent assortments to loved ones all over the globe, from tots and seniors to city sophisticates and soldiers.
Maybe I should have pondered if it’s really appropriate to send school-kid valentines — however high-tech, amusing and/or touching — to cool and worldly teenage grandson Alexander the Great, or to my nephew on the front lines in Afghanistan.
But I’m pretty sure that there’s not a person on the planet who wouldn’t welcome a little token of love. And if there is such a soul, he or she is exactly who most needs to be bombarded with valentines.
Every year, I try to brainstorm a little and come up with some new potential valentine recipients.
We all think about our A-list sweethearts, whatever we call them: spouses, fiancees, significant others, life partners, boyfriends and girlfriends. Most of us remember our family and extended family: kids, granddkids, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.
To really get in the spirit of things, maybe the people who come to mind last should be moved up to first place, for a change. Surprise that black sheep, track down the long-lost and remember the forgotten with the biggest and best valentine, maybe with a special note with your memories of happy times together.
If you’ve lost a loved one recently, Valentine’s Day can be a lovely time to scatter ashes, take flowers to a grave, or join with others they loved to share a meal, memories and maybe a few laughs and a few tears.
Fill your pockets with valentines and hand them out all day long — to casual acquaintances, strangers at supermarkets, people you’ve always meant to get to know better.
You could enrich lives in ways you’d never expect. And you might end up with a bumper crop of new and renewed valentines yourself.
Happy Valentine’s Day.

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at (575) 541-5450

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