Sinclair traditions: valentine’s day

vday1.jpgValentine’s Day is a pretty special day in the Sinclair home. As far as we’re concerned, February 14th isn’t just an opportunity for sweethearts to do something romantic together, but a chance for all of us to communicate how much we love and appreciate one another. I have some of the best memories of tables set with pretty pink tablecloths and crystal candleholders, along with some of the most meaningful cards from my parents that I received over the years at those celebrations.

Our celebrations each year haven’t been identical. There have been lunch time celebrations when Dad is able to squeeze an hour free in the middle of the day to come home. (I remember tuna or egg salad sandwiches made fancy by removing the center of the top piece of bread with a heart-shaped cookie cutter on those years.) Sometimes schedules dictate a breakfast or dinner celebration. But whatever the meal that we designate for our Valentine’s Day celebration, there were some constants that we can always look forward to:

  1. Heart-shaped pink, red & white homemade place cards that were reused each year to decorate the table
  2. Simple $-store Valentine’s Day paper cups filled to the brim with an assortment of holiday candy.
  3. Family members gathering around dressed prettily in pinks, reds & whites.
  4. A card at each place setting that both Mom and Dad took the time to write a special note in.

vday2.jpgMost years there are frosted sugar cookies that we decorate as simply as time necessitates. Sometimes there’s something special like pink lemonade or heart-shaped paper doilies on the serving plates. When we were little, we siblings often made Valentines for each other, and sometimes one or two of us will still find the time to write notes on cut and pasted red hearts.

But whatever the meal– breakfast, lunch or dinner– the food comes only after reading our cards from Mom and Dad and then spending a few minutes sharing our appreciation of and gratitude for one another. This sharing is the sort of tradition that can never be repeated too often, and so many of our holidays, family gatherings, and regular meals begin with expressing words of love and thankfulness. Valentine’s Day, of all days of the year, is the choicest of times for this kind of communication.

vday3.jpgMaybe our love for such a pretty and chocolate-y celebration is in part because we’re girls (and what girl doesn’t like pink and chocolate?!), but I think our whole family, even the male contingent, has come to cherish this day as an opportunity to say, “I love you.” After all, for us this day has come to represent far more than just pretty colors and candy: it’s a perfect chance to intentionally share our love for and commitment to one another.


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  1. How fun it is for me to remember how this special day evolved into a meaningful day for our family. I figured it like this: you can never tell someone how much you love them too often, and I was glad for one more special chance to take time to do so!

    Posted by Darlene Sinclair | October 31, 2008, 1:41 pm
  2. So one of my favorite holidays! I love it. I’m so thankful that I grew up celebrating it as a family and that I have a family that loves one another so much. No joining the singles bandwagon of hating the 14th of February for me — love the people who have in your life even if you don’t have a significant other!

    Posted by Louissa | November 3, 2008, 6:51 pm