The Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year.1 Is this actually something to be proud of? What will historians look back and say about us?

  • “In the early 21st century, couples would exchange one of approximately 30 smarmy mass-produced greeting cards and sweets made of homogenized chemically refined corn-syrup solids.”

A little research turns up all sorts of saucy descriptions of Valentine’s days of yore:

  • “The celebration featured a lottery in which young men would draw the names of teenage girls from a box. The girl assigned to each young man in that manner would be his sexual companion during the remaining year.”2
  • “At this time many of the noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy thongs.”1
  • “The most popular candidate for St. Valentine was a 3rd century Roman priest who practiced Christianity and performed secret marriages against direct orders from Emperor Claudius II, who believed single soldiers were more likely to join his army.”3
  • “The most extravagant of valentines were made of a satin cushion, perfumed, ornately designed with flowers, coloured shells, and would also have a taxidermied humming bird or bird of paradise adorning it.”4

Wow. Knowing that Valentine’s day came from a tradition of sex lotteries, naked marathons, draft dodging, and stuffed hummingbirds, our current tradition is not only lame, but downright embarrassing. It’s our culture and our tradition; let’s take it back from the Greeting Card Association, make it ours, and make it cool.

  • “In the early 21st century, lovers would sometimes spend long hours creating intricate, exciting, and surprising displays of their affection. Even comparatively modest displays, such as home-cooked meals or hand-made candies, were appreciated due to the personal care and attention involved. Store-bought items were simply considered insulting.”

Whew. Much better. So, to help get us moving in the right direction, Instructables is hosting the “Show Your Heart Valentine’s Day Contest!” Share a project that shows your heart and wins the heart of another.

You might:
Cook a meal
Make chocolate covered marshmallows or truffles
Mix a custom-scented solid perfume
Wire up LED jewelry
Design a personalized scavenger hunt
Throw a "Love Sucks" party for single friends
Grow your own flowers from seedlings in an indoor hydroponic planter and present them in a home-anodized purple CNC-machined aluminum vase

First Prize
To 10 best Instructables will win a Leatherman juice XE6 pocket knife laser-engraved with the Instructables logo and your username, real name, email address, or whatever you want.

Second Prize
20 Projects will win an Instructables t-shirt and patch.

Any project that documents a Valentine’s Day project and is added to the Show Your Heart Valentine’s Day Contest group by the end of the day February 18, 2007 (the weekend after Valentine’s day) is eligible. We’ll judge the entries and release the results the following Friday February 23, 2007.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentine’s_Day
2. http://wilstar.com/holidays/valentn.htm
3. http://www.howstuffworks.com/valentine1.htm
4. http://www.stvalentines.net/australianvalentines.htm

Contest boilerplate is here and here; substitute contest names/specifics as necessary.

By: ewilhelm

More: continued here