Valentine’s Day Ideas for NJ Residents: Past & Present Customs
Valentine’s Day is widely celebrated in Morris County, New Jersey, America, and around the world. Mainly noted as a consumer “spend-a-thon”, Americans in 2020 spent an average of $200 each. In other words, $30 billion total on gifts and celebrations for their loved ones. In 2021, people may find that inexpensive gestures can delight and please their sweethearts as well. So, here are a few Valentine’s Day ideas that NJ residents, in particular, can get behind. These customs span a couple of centuries, so they should work for you!
Modern & Past Valentine’s Day Ideas
The usual Valentine’s Day ideas are solid still: cook a special meal, pick out a thoughtful card or make a card, craft a unique gift, have a romantic movie night at home. For the 21st century, there are new options. You can send someone a celebrity or personal Valentine’s Day shout-out on social media. During Covid-19, you may want to celebrate with the whole family and get creative if that makes more sense for you.
#1: Do-It-Yourself Cards
How was Valentine’s Day celebrated before the internet and Hallmark? Do-it-yourself cards were the norm before 1847. The cards were handwritten, handcrafted, and filled with messages of love and quotes from great writers and poets. If this idea of timeless romanticism works for you, there are so many sample love quotes that you can include in your card.
In these do-it-yourself cards, Victorians also liked to show off their sense of humor. They aimed to make their partner laugh with something silly or funny written on the card. If that sounds more your speed, some of these heart-warming and funny quotes might be right for you and your loved one.
#2: Puzzle Purses
One Valentine’s Day idea comes down to us from the Victorian: the making of “puzzle purses.” This was a handmade gift of a series of love letters meant to be read separately but also fit together. If you want to give this classic but intricate expression of love a chance, here is a puzzle purse tutorial to get you started!
Just like lovebirds in 2021, Victorians loved chocolate treats! In the 19th century, Richard Tapper Cadbury came up with the idea of selling them in beautiful heart-shaped, highly decorated boxes. This year, you can buy a box from any of the best purveyors of candy and sweets in Morris County, NJ. Even more romantic, you can make one yourself and fill it with sweets that you know your honey will love. Fun fact: many Victorian candy boxes are highly collectible.
#4: Write an Original Love Poem
There is a long tradition of writing original love poems. The oldest Valentine in history, according to historians, was written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans. Charles wrote it while imprisoned in the Tower of London to his wife, Bonne, who he named “Valentine” in the poem. This accounts for the rather “downbeat” tone:
My very gentle Valentine,
Since for me you were born too soon,
And I for you was born too late.
God forgives him who has estranged
Me from you for the whole year.
I am already sick of love,
My very gentle Valentine.
#5: Enjoy a Special Meal Together
It is always nice to go out for a meal. This is a fantastic Valentine’s Day idea NJ residents usually love. If you’d rather stay in, take-out options of your loved ones’ favorite are ideal. For top restaurants in the area, please check out our Morris County restaurant guide including bakeries, bars, and restaurants you’ll love.
#6: See a Show Together
This Valentine’s Day idea is great for lovers of opera and grand love songs. Take the opportunity to enjoy live entertainment from Opera at Florham, NJ. They will perform “Opera’s Greatest Love Stories” on Sunday, February 14th at 3 p.m. at St. Margaret of Scotland Church in Morristown. Soprano Molly Dunn and Tenor Charles Williamson, along with artistic director and accompanist Mary Pinto, will perform love-themed Operatic Arias and Duets. Selections include Puccini’s La Bohème, Franz Lehár’s Land of Smiles, and Korngold’s Die tote Stadt. Tickets are selling out online already!
#7: Unique Marriage Proposal
Considering getting engaged? Here’s another Valentine’s Day idea. Enjoy a 1.5 hour trail ride through Seaton Hackney Stables in Morristown, and propose on horseback. Great photo ops in Loantaka Park or near Loantaka Lake. Package cost: $295 Proposal Flier
We hope you’ll try some of the above Valentine’s Day ideas and if anyone makes a puzzle purse or gets engaged on a trail ride, please send a photo to us at [email protected] and we will consider posting it! —- Carol Barkin