Schools Replace Valentine's Day With Friendship Parties & Where's the Fun in That?

A lot of things have changed since the time we were kids. There are about a million cable channels, cartoons on 24 hours a day, and don't get me started on iPads so user-friendly toddlers own them. But some things have changed that I never thought would. Specifically, Valentine's Day. These days, traditional Valentine's celebrations are being replaced with "Friendship Parties" in some schools and others are even banning the festivities completely.


For some kids, gone are the days of buying those cute little Snoopy or Spider-Man Valentine's cards, then filling them out for each kid in the class. I remember being so excited about handing them out and getting a stack of my own in return. Some years, the teacher would ask us to bring in shoe boxes to decorate with hearts and things in order to collect our cupid-inspired haul.

But this year, 24 schools across the country are experimenting with Friendship Parties instead. The goal is to encourage kids to be good to their friends and talk about caring and sharing. They still acknowledge that it is Valentine's Day, said one principal, but they make the day about recognizing each other as friends and how we should treat our friends.

I think that is a very wonderful and admirable notion -- but isn't that something schools should be encouraging every day anyway? I like the idea of an old-fashioned Valentine's party with the room decorated with red hearts and heart-shaped cookies and candy treats being passed around. Not because it encourages romance or love, per se. It's just a fun, colorful, and sweet holiday to share with our kids.

But I have to say, these friendship parties are better than nothing. There are some schools that don't even acknowledge the day at all. My son is in one of them. They actually don't celebrate any holiday there. When I first heard this, I was totally taken by surprise. My heart ached a little knowing that he would never walk in the door with a card he made for mommy for Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, or Christmas. In every other way, it is the perfect place for little kids to learn and grow. But in the end, I realized that just because a school doesn't do it doesn't mean we can't celebrate the day ourselves. So when these holidays come around, we put on our own cookie decorating party and invite his classmates over. It may not be as great as the school parties that I remember, but it still makes the day special for him.

What do you think about schools that are changing or banning traditional Valentine's Day celebrations?

Image via modern-mami/Flickr

Read More >