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During the medieval era of chivalry, the names of English maidens and bachelors were put into boxes and drawn out in pairs. Each couple exchanged gifts and the girl became the man's sweetheart for a year. He wore her name on his sleeve and was bound by duty to attend and protect her ("to wear one's heart on one's sleeve"). In 1537, King Henry VIII declared that all England would celebrate February 14 as "Saint Valentine's Day". With time, February 14 became the traditional date for exchanging love messages and simple gifts (such as flowers or candy), with Saint Valentine becoming the accepted Patron Saint of Lovers.
We don’t know for sure if King Henry’s wives got flowers on Valentine’s Day but if so I’m sure he didn’t order them on a computer. Sending flowers can easily be done with the click of a mouse but should we be cautious with where we click? What issues should we be concerned with and what do we need to know?
First, many of the popular floral 1-800 or Internet sources send flowers unassembled. In the case of roses, once received you would need to remove thorns, cut the stems, strip the petals and then arrange the flowers and greens in a vase. I don’t see sending your honey a craft project as being a romantic gesture unless you’re married to Martha Stewart.
Every February 15th there are untold numbers of upset internet customers complaining of orders that were late, incorrectly fulfilled or completely missing all together. The 1-800 or internet service providers didn’t send out accurate information (or sent nothing at all) to the local florists and the money they collected from you could have gone towards more flowers.
Look for local providers who offer a satisfaction guarantee or some promise of accurate delivery and product freshness. Most offer on-line ordering as well making the process as quick and easy as the national clearinghouses.
Finally, and most importantly, keep your money in our community where it will do the most good. Products purchased locally support the local tax base and provide payroll for your friends and neighbors… investments that grow our local community.
Many have the opinion that Valentine’s Day is a fabricated holiday designed to sell candy, greeting cards and flowers and they certainly have a point. Personally, I see Valentine’s Day as a reminder to us all to take the time to acknowledge those we care for the most. Some sweets for your sweetie, a bouquet for the sunshine of your day, a few written words that aren’t easily spoken... such a small thing for the blessing of those whom are nearest to our hearts. So be mushy, be silly; step out of character for just one day… I think we can all use a little more of that.