Valentine’s Day: A Pun-loving Holiday

The first time my son brought home valentines from school I realized what a great snapshot of pop culture they were. For the next few years, I’d pull out a few valentines he’d received from classmates and create a scrapbook page with them. (Back then, I somehow managed to find time to keep a scrapbook.)  Here’s a page from 2001. One look at this and you can see what was hot with the kindergarten set and beyond.

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Last weekend when my parents came to visit, I had a similar gift delivered. Unbeknownst to me, my mother had saved the valentines from my classmates!

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It was fun looking through them. I remember that a lot of the valentines we bought back then were printed in over-sized paperback books with several to a page. We had to cut or punch them out. Some were adorable! Some were politically incorrect. Puns were as popular then as they are now.  Why are puns connected to this holiday?  I think it’s because they make it easy to show a little wit while also showing sentiment. Here are some favorites from the group above. (Not sure you’d see one like the top center today… and I think we know the identity of bat girl now…)

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Puns are also a form of humor accessible to children, offering a word game they can participate in, either by appreciating a pun with a smile, or by creating their own puns. My mother was making valentines with my eight year old niece this year. My niece asked what her cousin liked best, my mother said, “peace signs.” My niece responded, “Why don’t I make her one that says, I love you to peaces?” Perfect!

After hearing this story, it occurred to me that this could be a fun word game to play with children. Why not create Valentines for their favorite characters from literature? What would Harry’s valentine to Jenny say? What would Peeta’s valentine to Katniss say? How about Peter Pan’s to Wendy?

If you don’t have a pun ready for your young or old valentine yet, check out this list of 101 Valentine’s Day puns!

If you're looking for the perfect Valentine's book, full of play on words, check out The Hog Prince by my blogging partner, Sudipta!

If you’re looking for the perfect Valentine’s book, full of play on words, check out The Hog Prince by my blogging partner, Sudipta!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Keep playing with (and on) words!

4 comments on “Valentine’s Day: A Pun-loving Holiday

  1. How fantastic! Last night I watched my daughter attach tiny magnetic guitars to her preprinted Valentines (“You rock Valentine!”). When she asked what Valentines looked like when I was a kid, I really couldn’t remember very well. I’ll have to show her this post so she has some idea.

    Happy hearts, flowers and candy!

  2. kamikinard says:

    Thanks Cathy! Tiny magnetic guitars? I want! Valentines have come a long way for sure. But it’s fun to look back too…

  3. :Donna Marie says:

    You are so right, Kami. Pop culture galore! When my son was little (late 80s), it was Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, Inspector Gadget, etc. I know when I was little, I remember the cards being a perforated sheet. All fun to remember 🙂 I love that your mother did it and you didn’t even know it! You ARE your mother’s daughter 🙂

  4. kamikinard says:

    You are right Donna, I am my mother’s daughter. We always think we’re unique individuals but… I was temped to post pics I saved of my daughter’s valentines too… which included Barbie and Veggie Tales, but the post was on the long side already!

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