Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Valentine Mailbox

*an oldie but a goodie...reposting because I love this tradition so much*

Like all other holidays, we celebrate Valentine's Day BIG.  Growing up, my mother had a huge, waist expanding Valentine Brunch.  Along with the surplus of trans fats and sugars, there was a homemade Valentine Mailbox overstuffed with Valentine's for everyone in the family.

As kids, we looked forward to constructing and decorating the Valentine Mailbox.  My mother made this an event.  The event was always announced at least one day in advance. 

"Tomorrow night we are decorating the Valentine Mailbox!"  

Que squeals of delight.

Once decorated, the mailbox was placed out in the open for all to see and admire.  As we made Valentine's we stuffed them inside.  Having a mailbox staring us in the face everyday motivated us to make many Valentine's. 

At our Valentine Brunch, the mailbox was opened and hundreds of Valentine's were delivered.  The messages, pictures and goodies were always good for a laugh.  

Ever since my munchkins could hold a crayon I helped them make our Valentine Mailbox.  Like my mother, we make it an event and we set our mailbox out in the open.  My kids then spend their days crafting, writing and drawing pictures.  They write names on candies and fruit snacks and have even stuffed small toys in the box.

And when my parents are over, they always add a little note for each munchkin.  Or a dollar.  When we open our mailbox at our Valentine Dinner, you never know what you're gonna get.

Today I grabbed an oversized box for my kids to transform into the "Mailbox."  The shoebox doesn't cut it anymore.  

My trick with any craft or activity we do annually is to keep it simple.  I make it more about the together time and the experience.  We tape any ole' thing we can find onto our mailbox.  Anything pink, purple or red is game.  

We've painted, taped, glued and stapled.  There is no method to our madness. 

Let me walk you through today's mailbox construction:

The blank canvas.  Box, your life will never be the same.  I apologize in advance.
Jackpot!  Valentine craft paper in the basement! 
Hmmm....doesn't quite fit...we'll have to use the patch method....
My older daughter has always been a tremendous help with the decorating. 
Right about now is when one of these rascals cracked an inappropriate joke.  Giggles ensued.  No craft time is complete without a joke about butts.
To finish the masterpiece I slice the "mail drop opening" with a knife or scissors. 
Year after year, regardless of how the mailbox comes together, it's always perfection.  And I have some wonderful Valentine Mail saved from over the years.  My munchkins never seize to amaze me when they pour their tiny hearts out on homemade Valentines.

Being serious for a hot second (it's about all I can stand), this tradition is wonderful to practice letter writing and composition, etiquette, compassion and design.  

Whew, I think I may have just hurt myself.

Have a wonderful weekend!  Make a mailbox...you never know what surprises will be inside!

**My kids today are 16, 14, 12 and 8.  We still do the mailbox (although now I bought a standard metal mailbox I bring up every year) and we still make each other valentine's.  We just had our big brunch (for supper actually) on Sunday.  Our Valentine week is full with sports, activities and work obligations, so we always find a day that works to keep the tradition alive.

Everyone had Valentine's in the mailbox, and the homemade are always my favorite.  It fills my heart with joy to read what my kids write to me and each other. It takes effort to keep traditions alive, especially as your kids grow and life gets busier.  But it's worth it, and it keeps the family together.