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Love Notes – Saying it with paper

Love is certainly in the air at this time of year. With Valentine’s Day and the hint of spring in the air as the blossoms start to bloom, the world seems a little brighter after the long winter slog.

There are plenty of reasons to be feeling the love and if you have a special someone in your life it is likely you will be planning on giving them a card this Valentine’s Day. The tradition of giving these little paper tokens of love goes back many of years and such a simple gesture can bring so much pleasure.

A handwritten note expressing one’s love can touch hearts and send them aflutter, and the personal touch adds a certain credence and sincerity that an email or text message simply cannot convey. Although, digital contact has long surpassed the written letter, we still delight in receiving a letter or card and especially so if it is a message of love.

Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to brush up on your letter writing skills and rekindle our love for the handwritten love letter and make someone feel extra special!

The writing and sending of Valentine’s cards as we know it, is a relatively new concept first started in the 1800s. However, the earliest surviving Valentine’s greeting written on paper on the 14th of February dates back to the 15th century. This was written by a Frenchman imprisoned in the Tower of London following the battle of Agincourt.

This rather unromantic location and sorrowful situation meant for a melancholic first Valentine’s note to his wife simply saying “Je suis desja d’amour tanné; Ma tres doulce Valentinée” which translates as “I am already sick of love, my very gentle Valentine”. Slightly mournful though it is, a bittersweet note has survived through the ages on a small piece of manuscript that would once have been held close to a lover’s heart.

Although, the origins of how St Valentine’s Day became associated with romantic love are not clear, there are many records on the sending of cards to one another on this day. Back in the early 18th century, Valentine’s cards were often handmade items featuring pressed flowers, lovers’ knots and poems. By the late 18th century, the cards began to be printed but it wasn’t until the Victorians came along that the tradition really took off.

Advances in printing technologies meant that cards could be quickly mass produced and easy to obtain and by the mid-1820s, 200,000 Valentine’s cards were being printed in London alone. Often intricate items of paper crafted beauty and sometimes gaudy and even slightly lewd, Valentine’s cards became very popular very fast.

As with many holidays, Valentine’s Day quickly became commercialised and the more cynical of us today, may just see the day as just another excuse to splash out on unnecessary tat. Shop shelves are stacked with chocolates and teddy bears, but none can ever be as personal as what you choose to write in a card.

There are so many cards to choose from, be it classically romantic, humorous or cutesy, what you decide to write inside the card is what really matters. It is most likely that the Valentine’s card you give is the one time in the year you write a handwritten note of love to your partner and so can be quite moving and meaningful.

Whether you’ve bought a card or got creative and made one yourself, putting pen to paper to express your love is both profound and personal and sure to delight your significant other. Sure, you can write sweet words in an email or a text, but who can honestly say they prefer that to something handwritten?

The sweetness and the personal touch of a physical piece of writing is something one would long to receive and something one would quite possibly treasure forever.

So, this Valentine’s Day, take that moment to pick up a pen and write your declaration of love and really make someone feel special!