It’s a little old fashioned and leans heavy on the sentimental (for teachers and moms mostly), but every year at this time I still sort of secretly like it when my grade school kiddo comes home and says it’s time to start creating the annual Valentine’s Day Box.

For the past 11 years we’ve pulled out the construction paper, scissors, glue, tape, stickers, lace hearts, and colored markers. And then we start to hunt for just the right box.

One year it was a kid-sized shoe box. “Too small,” my son said as he came home February 14th with the box stuffed full and a plastic grocery sack catching the overflow.

Another year the teacher decided to simplify things and provided each student with a large brown paper grocery bag which the kids painted in class and personalized with their name and other decorations. It was roomy enough, but ripped and lost its bottom when it was set in spilled lemonade.

We had what we thought were a couple of clever ideas over the years, too. Recycling plastic gallon sized milk cartons and 2 liter pop bottles were fun and durable. Of course glue and stickers wouldn’t adhere very well. But creativity was at an all time high. I high-fived myself the year I saved a cardboard box from a 12-pack of soda pop. The pop out handle meant I wouldn’t even have to cut out a slot for cards.

But nothing seems to work as well as the simple shoe box, if you can find one with a separate cover. They’re easy to wrap and kids can glue on the paper hearts they cut out and they stay stuck. There’s plenty of room for a name, and glitter or foil will really make it sparkle.

So for the 12th and final time this year, we’ll create one more Valentine’s Box. It will be the last for our family. Our youngest moves on to middle school next year, and we’ll pass the mantle on to other families with younger kids to continue the tradition.

So what will our final project be?  We’re thinking of getting creative with one of those cylinder boxes that holds oatmeal . . .

Photo: Flickr

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