Thursday, February 10, 2011

A family Valentine Tradition

A couple of months ago, as I started thinking about Valentine's Day (you don't start planning for V-day in December?!), I remembered something one of my dearest friends, Lorraine, had told me about in college. In her family, Valentine's Day was a family holiday. It was celebrated with a formal family dinner. I loved that idea, so I emailed Lorraine for a refresher on the details. And here is what she said (you are going to love this!!):

{Valentine's Day: an amazing family tradition. We pulled out the china and wore our "Sunday best." The girls went to my parent's room to do hair and get ready while the boys set the table, cooked filet mignon, lit the candles, etc. The boys would come, one by one, to give a sister a flower and offer his arm as he escorted her to the table, pulling out her chair of course. What a great way to teach kids formal etiquette! We would give the boys See's chocolates or $5 in a card or something. At the table, we learned the proper way to hold a wine glass, how to properly cut deliciously cooked meat, and how to put a fabric napkin in our lap. It was a formal occasion.

For a while, my oldest brother Broc escorted my older sister Eleanor. Bennett, my younger brother by two years, escorted me (kissing on the lips, I might add!) and my dad took my mom. But then my two younger sisters were born and my oldest brother went to college, so basically my dad and Bennett took turns escorting a couple of girls to the table. When we had a motorhome, one year we took it up to the mountains and had dinner up there.

Looking back, I remember in high school when I had my first boyfriend. Valentine's Day rolled around and I remember telling him that I had a special dinner with my family and I'd be able to hang out after the family dinner. Now I think that is so hilarious! In college, I remember friends and roommates sulking on Valentine's Day because they didn't have a date, and I remember thinking to myself, "Please! who cares if there are no boys in your life!?" It was always more of a family holiday for me. I'd love it if my own family continued it, but since the men prepare and serve the food and set the table, I guess I'd be asking my husband to do a lot?!}

How fabulous is that?! I definitely want to adopt the tradition, although I'd better have some daughters or it won't work! Maybe we could invite the cousins... Thanks, Lorraine, for sharing such a beautiful family tradition!

xo,
anne

PS - be sure to check out Smitten Blog Designs for some free Valentine's printables. They'd make a lovely addition to a formal family dinner atop cupcakes, tied on to napkin rings or as place cards!

12 comments:

Sanctuary Home said...

That is so cool that you grew up with Valentines day being a family holiday. Now I wish that I had done that with my 3 children. What great memories!
Susan : )
http://sanctuaryhomebysusancooke.blogspot.com/

Deanna said...

Growing up I always thought Valentines to be a day of love in general. More of like friendship day than romantic love day. I think this tradition is great. Let's start a new generation of non-sulkers on V-day just b/c they don't have a date :)

sarah / book bound bindery said...

Oh, I love this! Now I just need to think of how I can make it work in my family (my husband + 3 boys!)

Steph said...

Love the idea! I've got 3 boys and 1 girl-- that should be an interesting escort situation.

Camilla Wilcox said...

I LOVE IT! How sweet is that. I also grew up with it being a family day, with presents on the table for breakfast and special heart shaped foods in our lunch boxes. I like the formal dinner though, that's awesome.

bjahlstrom said...

That is the most fabulous idea EVER! I love the idea of teaching etiquette in a fun way.

Kalli Ko said...

We always did a special family dinner too. I never had a boyfriend during my teenage years, and never understood why my friends got all worked up about it. My parents always sent me something at school, whether it be flowers or chocolate or both, with a little note telling me how much they loved me. That made me feel way more special then some hormonally driven teenage boy trying to get up in my business. All holidays were family holidays to us, still are.

Sally said...

I love the idea of making Valentines day a family holiday. I'm actually making a big ham dinner tonight just because it sounded good, but now I'm wishing I would have saved it for Monday.

Anonymous said...

We have tried to make it more of a family affair at our house also. Ours is not quite as formal though. We have an all red dinner as a family every year complete with ham, red mashed potatoes, pink rolls, strawberry and spinach salad, and Cherry 7up to drink. It seems that most holidays are more fun now that we have kids so why not include them as much as we can. On a side note, my sons elementary school does a Valentines tea. The kids are asked to wear their best dress and they have a party that includes teaching manners. Kind of fun.

jeanine said...

What a fun idea! I'm trying to make it a day of love for our boys... maybe I'll have to work in a version of this sometime.

Dani said...

We do something very similar and remember being floored when I got to college and my roommates were upset on Valentine's day. My grandfather started the tradition with me, and I'm passing it on to my kids. I love the idea of making Valentine's Day more about love in general rather than strictly romantic love. Great post!

Kimberly said...

Great tradition, my mom would always make us a special breakfast on valentine's day-but I like the idea of a formal dinner-breakfast can be so rushed sometimes.