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Valentine’s Day: 1893 and Today

Valentine’s Day: 1893 and Today

Being a romantic at heart, I thought it’d be fun to see what Valentine’s Day would be like if we lived in 1893 versus 2015. First off, we’d have to become extremely prim and proper (I’m in trouble already). We’d have to follow a set of rigid social customs … or else! And absolutely NO showing of physical affection. Can you imagine?!

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Remember that 468 page etiquette book I mentioned in my post last week? Those Victorians were not kidding around! With PDAs being a huge no-no (think no dates and no time alone), we’d have to resort to handwritten letters and small tokens of affection. Since we’re traveling to 1893, our moms and dads would have been of the generation that exchanged “traditional” cards, decorated with beautifully drawn pictures like the one above that depicted what they’d like to do, but couldn’t due to those strict conventions and were, for obvious reasons, closed with a wax seal. (Yes, Valentine Cards pre-date Hallmark!)


Their cards became more and more elaborate, but by the time 1893 hit, they were mass produced instead of created by hand.  Even still, they’d have everything from lace paper to beading, and feathers to poetry. 

Fast forward to today. Without the burden of a chaperone, we can go on romantic dates, exchange gifts and spend all the time we want together. And though sending flowers, buying jewelry and gifting chocolates are some of the most common ways we say “I love you!” to our sweeties, I find myself tapping into my inner-Victorian and making handmade cards--just like they did. Of course, mine aren’t nearly as beautiful as theirs were, but it’s not the end product that matters, right? It’s the thought. Reminds me of a wedding anniversary we had a few years back. It was a milestone anniversary and Greg knew I would make him a handmade card--so he surprised me with one, too. And guess what? I saved it and it still brings a smile and a giggle every time I take it out of my keepsake box.

What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day gift? Do you love getting candy, jewelry or other tokens of affection? Or are you happy with a heartfelt card like the ones that gave birth to this crazy holiday in the first place?