The Top 10 Facts You Need to Know About Valentine’s Day

Ah, Valentine’s Day. The day so many of us love, hate, or love to hate. I used to refer to it as Black [insert day of week].

No matter how you may feel personally about the day, there’s no escaping its interesting history. Today I’m going to share some facts about Valentine’s Day that you may not have known. And since all my information comes from online sources, you can believe every word of it.

One. There is disagreement over the identity of the Saint Valentine, or Valentinus, for whom the day was named. There are as many as three possibilities, and they were all martyred for various infractions such as marrying people when Emperor Claudius had outlawed it (how romantic!) and helping Christians escape from Roman jails.

Two. Valentine is the patron Saint of a whole boatload of things, among them: engaged couples, happy marriages, traveling, beekeeping, and intervention of the plague, epilepsy, and fainting.

Three. There is no record of Valentine’s Day prior to the year 1375, when Chaucer first mentioned it in a poem entitled “Parliament of Foules,” in which birds come together on February 14th to find mates.

Four. Almost 6 million couples get engaged on Valentine’s Day every year.

Five. The oldest known valentine in existence dates from 1415 when Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.

Six. In 1847, Boston pharmacist Oliver Chase invented a machine that would make quick work of producing sore throat lozenges. It quickly became apparent that this machine would work well for candy, too, so Chase shifted gears and started making candy. The company he founded would eventually become the New England Candy Company (you may recognize this today as Necco!). and Necco wafers were the precursor to today’s candy conversation hearts. Interestingly, it was Oliver’s brother, Daniel, who came up with a way to press words onto the candies.

Seven. According to the National Retail Federation. Americans spend more money on jewelry for Valentine’s Day than any other gift.

Eight. More than five million American households give Valentine’s Day presents to their dogs, and less than half that number give gifts to their cats. Despite this glaring oversight, the amount of money spent on the average cat exceeds the amount spent on the average dog.

Nine. The highest number of Valentine’s Day cards go to…teachers! Not sweethearts, not kids, not Mom.

Ten. In the Middle Ages, young men and women would draw names to find out the identity of their Valentines. They would then wear the name of that person pinned to their sleeves for one week—hence the phrase “wearing your heart on your sleeve.”

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Be My Valencrime is a perfect read for Valentine’s Day this year if you’re in the mood for something cozy, yet murderous. Many thanks to everyone who has ordered a copy already! The link to purchase your copy is here.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Until next time,

Amy

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Writers

Valentine’s Day is upon us again. We don’t make a big deal of Valentine’s Day at our house, but we do like to acknowledge it.

For me, that means last-minute scrambling to get my kids something to place next to their plates at dinner (every year, it’s as if Valentine’s Day sneaks up on me. It’s the 14th this year, in case you weren’t aware). We are trying to get away from the habit of buying “stuff,” so gift cards for food and movies are usually the gifts of choice. The kids seem to like those things better than “stuff,” anyway.

My daughter, Carolyn, though, will be receiving a care package of chips and candy. Value of the items: $15. Cost to send it to her in England: $52. I would have sent an electronic gift card if I’d known it would be that expensive.

I realize that lots of people love Valentine’s Day and they like to make a big deal of it. With that in mind, I’ve compiled some Valentine’s Day gift ideas for the writer in your life:

  1. A professional massage. I got one for Christmas (thanks again to you-know-who-you-are) and boy, does it help get out those kinks writers get from spending too many hours hunched over a keyboard.
  2. A gift card to a bookstore. Writers love to read! Most of them would love nothing more than the opportunity to spend an hour browsing through a bookstore. A real bookstore. But for those of you who don’t have a bookstore nearby, a gift card to an online book retailer is just as nice.
  3. A fancy pen. You know, for book signings.
  4. A fancy journal. For all the ideas writers have to write down before they forget.
  5. Time. Do some housework for the writer in your life, or get the car inspected, or whatever you have to do, to give your writer some time alone. And please tell them they can’t spend that time writing. They have to spend it doing something else they love. Like browsing in a bookstore or getting a massage.
  6. A house in the mountains. With a view. (It doesn’t hurt to dream).

How do you feel about Valentine’s Day? Love it? Hate it? No opinion? How do you plan to celebrate this year?

Until next time,

Amy