So the other day, my girl Jennifer and I were talking about Valentines. She was telling me how every year she spends hours making Valentines and is wondering why not just buy them? They don't really cost much... and there really isn't that much packaging. I, of course, got on a tangent about how much more meaning a homemade card has vs. a store bought card. Not to mention, the plastic wrap surrounding a box of store bought Valentines. I'm not sure why I kept talking because talking to Jennifer (my super hero friend) is like preaching to the choir. ;)
From the moment my kids had their first Valentine's party in preschool, I made the decision that we would always make Valentine's cards. Not because it was the environmentally responsible thing to do. But, more so because it would be a good learning activity for my kids. Cards made by my kids (and not from a box) are individual, creative and offer a well-rounded learning experience. Sure if we get a box of "character" valentines they can write their names and the names of their friends. BUT, if they make valentines then they get to create and design by cutting, coloring, writing, and sometimes gluing.
They also learn that gifts (and tokens of appreciation) don't have to come from a store.