If you’re anything like me, you’ll spend days on end searching for a unique Valentine’s day gift for your sweetheart. Flowers, candy and teddy bears are boring. I want something unique. I want something romantic. And I want something inexpensive. Is that too much to ask? Well apparently it is, because every year it’s the same struggle. So, I want to share with you a gift I came up with for my husband, some 14 years ago. It’s still my most favorite Valentine’s Day gift of all time and now I am passing it onto you.
It all starts with the History of Valentine’s Day. My husband is a HUGE history buff, so for our first Valentine’s day I thought it would be neat if I could come up with a gift that reflected the history of Valentine’s Day. So I did some research and this is what I found (you’ll want to copy this entire passage for the gift):
February 14 is Valentine’s Day. Although it is celebrated as a lovers’ holiday today, with the giving of candy, flowers and other gifts between couples in love, it originated in 5th Century Rome as a tribute to St. Valentine, a Catholic bishop.
For eight hundred years prior to the establishment of Valentine’s Day, the Romans had practiced a pagan celebration in mid-February commemorating young men’s rite of passage to the god Lupercus.
One of the popular customs of this day featured a lottery in which the names of young girls were written on slips of paper and placed in a jar. Each young man drew a slip of paper and the girl whose name was written on that slip of paper was to be his sweetheart for that whole year.
In an effort to do away with the pagan festival, Pope Gelasius ordered a slight change in the lottery. Instead of the names of young women, the jar would contain the names of saints. Both men and women were allowed to draw from the jar and the game was to emulate the ways of the saint they drew, during the rest of the year. Needless to say, many of the young Roman men were not too pleased with the rule changes.
In addition to the lottery change, instead of the pagan god Lupercus, the Church looked for a suitable patron saint of love to take his place. They found an appropriate choice in Valentine, who, in AD 270 had been beheaded by Emperor Claudius.
Claudius had determined that married men made poor soldiers, so he banned marriage from his empire. But Valentine would secretly marry young men that came to him. When Claudius found out about Valentine, he first tried to convert him to paganism. But Valentine reversed the strategy, trying instead to convert Claudius. When he failed he was jailed, then stoned and beheaded.
During the days that Valentine was imprisoned, he fell in love with the blind daughter of his jailer. His love for her and his great faith managed to miraculously heal her from her blindness before his death. Before he was taken to his death, he signed a farewell message to her, “From your Valentine”. The phrase has been used on this day ever since.
Although the church had banned the lottery for women, the mid-February holiday in commemoration of St. Valentine was still used by Roman men to seek the affection of women. It became a tradition for the men to give the ones they admired, handwritten messages of affection, containing Valentine’s name.
To put together this gift all you will need is:
- Empty jar
- Slip of paper or small foldable place card
- Paper for scroll
So, you’re going to give your sweetheart a jar. On the inside will be a piece of paper with your name written on it. Attached to the outside will be a scroll of paper with the above text copied onto it. Have him read the scroll first, then open the jar and voila, you just made the most romantic 💋 Valentine’s Day gift ever ❤
The image above is the actual gift I gave to my husband way back in 2002 B.C. (Before Crafting). I know, it’s a little underwhelming. I was not a crafter way back then. It’s a plain jar, with a plain ribbon with a plain piece of paper for the scroll. But, with Pinterest and the ever increasing plethora of crafting supplies at your fingertips I can only imagine the cute jars, fancy ribbons and beautiful papers that could be used today to create this uniquely romantic Valentine’s Day gift. I’d love to see your creations, so please share!