Sometimes people will say that Valentine’s Day was created by greeting card companies just to make money. But the first mention of Valentine’s Day was actually in one of Geoffrey Chaucer’s poems from the 1380’s—over 500 years before Hallmark existed. In fact, way before manufactured cards and boxes of chocolate, people exchanged poems, love letters, and handmade cards for virtually no money at all.
Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovebirds
If you’re single, this first reference of the holiday might make you smile. Chaucer’s poem, The Parliament of Fowls, is a very long poem, but at the center, he deemed Valentine’s Day as a time for every species of bird to gather and choose their mate.
A bunch of male birds tried to woo one noble and kind female eagle with poetic words of how much they loved and adored her, but she wasn’t feeling it. Goddess [Mother] Nature was like, “You go girl! You don’t need a man.” Ok, she didn’t exactly say that, but she said the eagle didn’t have to choose and they could try again next year. So, even the first reference of the holiday wasn’t just for lovebirds and made plenty of room for self-lovebirds.
The most romantic gift ever
If you’re in love or just love love, this one is for you. One of the very first love letters written in old English is dated back to 1477. It was from Margery Brews to her fiancé John Paston. She was promising him her undying love as he considered the unsatisfactory dowry from her father... "Myne herte me bydds ever more to love yowe truly" (My heart me bids ever more to love you truly). Luckily, her words made a difference because they did in fact get married and their descendants were later found and able to cherish the letter.
545 years later and I can't think of a more romantic gift than a love letter. It's such a beautiful and memorable way of capturing loving thoughts and transferring them onto paper so they can live on (maybe even another 545 years?!).
The cost for a sheet of notebook paper, an envelope, and a stamp (if you’re mailing it) is less than $1.00! I can guarantee the feelings generated from receiving a love letter will far outlast any bouquet of flowers or chocolate.
And if you want to have your letter printed on beautiful handmade paper, you can check out the love letter listing in my shop.
The best gift to send to your loved ones
Last year, I wanted a way to lift my spirits and keep the winter blues at bay, so I wrote one love note a day for the entire month of February, calling it my “28 days of love.” The recipients were friends, family, old coworkers, and social media pals. I wrote each note on compliment and definition cards from my shop, but of course you could also just use a sheet of paper.
If you’re not sure what to write to your favorite people, just think about how they make you feel, maybe something they did for you over the years, or just write compliment after compliment… it’s meant to be a love note after all.
The best gift to give yourself
A week into my 28 days of love exercise, Cleo Wade posted “I hope you are on your list. Of people you love, people you care for, people you support, people you want the best for.”
This hit me right in the gut because as I looked over my list for the month, my name wasn’t on it. So, I took an evening to write myself a love letter which I’ll share with you below (for context, I wrote this before I left my corporate job and started focusing solely on Alison Rose Vintage).
Dear Alison Rose,
Despite what others or society may have you believe, you are not what you do. Your career, education, job responsibilities, title—they do not define who you are—your inherent goodness does. You care about people and want people to be the best they can be even after or in spite of trauma or addiction or abuse. When you were younger, you seemed to find your self-worth in the attention men gave you (sex, lust, “love”) but in fact, you have the power to define and find all the self-worth you will ever need from within. You may be lonely at times, but you have friends all over the country who love you (and want to talk to you more often) and you have the most amazing parents and nephew, and sweetest dog. You are thoughtful, and kind, and funny, and driven—and you can expand Alison Rose Vintage or start a new business if you want. Pour your heart and soul into what you love and see what type of magic happens. Move your body more, listen to your heart and your gut more, and leave the past in the past. Surround yourself with things that make you feel incredible. You deserve nothing less than happiness and fulfillment, and you can give these things to yourself always. I love you.
This February, sit down and write yourself a love letter or speak to yourself in the mirror as you would speak to a loved one who needs to hear some loving words and encouragement. I promise, this is the best gift you can give yourself.
I hope this gave you some ideas on how to spread love this Valentine’s Day for little money. As Jane Austen wrote, “Let us never underestimate the power of a well-written letter.”
Social media: @alisonrosevintage