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Valentine’s Day: Make It Sweeter with Paper

Categories: Ideas and Innovation
Valentine's Day - Couple with child at table with flowers and card.

Valentine’s Day 2022 is right around the corner. If you’re like most Americans, you’ll probably spend some time this week picking out the perfect greeting cards, chocolates, jewelry, flowers and other tokens of your love and appreciation for your partner, your kids and the special people in your life.

In fact, Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach $23.9 billion in 2022, the second highest year on record. And while expensive jewelry certainly makes up a portion of that spending, much of what people buy for Valentine’s Day is made from recycled or recyclable paper.

Here are four ways to add a touch of paper — which is sustainable, versatile and, we think, positively essential for expressing your love — to Valentine’s Day this year.

Printed Poetry Books

Poetry has been called the language of the heart, which makes printed books of poetry a great gift for Valentine’s Day. You can choose a classic collection of Shakespeare’s sonnets, or you may prefer something from Wordsworth, Keats or modern poets Pablo Neruda or Courtney Peppernell.

For a slightly different look at life and love, consider giving your Valentine a printed book by National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, who captured the nation’s attention at the 2021 presidential inauguration with her recitation of “The Hill We Climb.” Read through Gorman’s work with your special someone and choose some topics to discuss over dinner in the weeks to come.

Paper Party Supplies

Exchanging Valentine’s Day cards with classmates is a beloved tradition for kids (and perhaps a not-so-beloved tradition for parents). Usually, cards are exchanged during a party where paper products take center stage. From paper crafts to paper decorations, classrooms rely on pink, red and white paper to bring the holiday to life for students.

A new partnership between the Paper and Packaging Board and Baking with Josh & Ange puts paper front and center, just in time for Valentine’s Day. The popular YouTube channel, featuring former The Office actress Angela Kinsey and her husband Josh, will be showcasing paper products in several upcoming episodes, including this one that focuses on family game night. Consider putting a Valentine’s Day twist on your next family game night by using some of their ideas.

Paper Valentine’s Cards

What would Valentine’s Day be without paper Valentine’s cards? Valentine’s Day greetings have been documented since the 15th century, when the first known letters to mention the day were written.

In the early 18th century, handmade paper Valentine’s Day cards made their first appearance. A labor of love, these cards often were elaborately decorated with paper flowers, intricate drawings, puzzles and poetry. By the end of the century, elaborate pre-printed cards made their first appearance, although they were quite expensive to buy for many more years.

In the Victorian era, industrialization and printing technology advances, as well as improvements in the postal service, lowered costs and enabled the mass production and exchange of Valentine’s cards. And in 1913, Hallmark produced its first card for the holiday, marking a major shift in the commercialization of the holiday.

When you exchange Valentine’s Day cards, whether you make or buy them, you’re continuing a centuries-long tradition of expressing your love through paper.

Handwritten Love Letters

Of course, you don’t need a commercial card to tell someone you love them. Why not write an old-fashioned love letter? Skip the Facebook post, text and tweet, and instead put pen to paper for a keepsake letter that will make this Valentine’s Day the best yet.

In an age when handwritten letters are a rarity, you can stand out from the crowd by writing a letter on beautiful stationery and sending it through the mail. Gather inspiration for your letter by reading some of history’s greatest love letters. Or, bundle your letter with a book about famous love letters for a gift that is sure to delight your Valentine.