Whitman’s, Russell Stover, a nostalgic box with a map
The stores filled up with Valentine’s goodies the day after New Year’s. I glided past the displayed heart-shaped boxes that have more cost in the boxes — red satin, ribbons, fake flowers — to the Whitman’s Samplers and Russell Stover rectangular boxes that were on sale.
Decades ago, Valentine’s Day was a big day for me, and the proof of affection was in a card, a box of candy, a bouquet of roses (overpriced in February). What falderal, when I believed the commercial hype meant to guilt sweethearts and anyone else into a purchase.
My father showed up on Valentine’s Day with a heart-shaped box for my mother. We kids sensed it was purchased out of obligation, but maybe it was spurred by affection. Since we kids benefited from the size of the box, we viewed it as a family gift.
My advice to all of us is to show ourselves a little love. Forget our sugar restrictions and calorie counting for one day. It doesn’t matter which day. I bought a square box, marked down so it could compete with the hearts, but maybe you want to wait until February 15, when the heart-shaped boxes will be half-price.
Fewer candies fit in the heart-shaped boxes. The little plastic trays are die-cut to the exact shape, the dark brown color matches the crinkled paper candy cups and camouflages the candies so they all look bigger. A map inside the box cover distinguishes the raspberry cremes from the orange cremes. My brother indented the bottom of each chocolate with a fingernail method for determining the contents of the round sweets.
A memorable short story (except for the title and author for me) features a lonely woman who receives the very largest heart-shaped candy box from a small town store, and the anonymous gift causes her years of consternation. Did anybody else read that?
I have a crafted gourmet chocolatier in our downtown.
Their delicious confections cost about as much per piece as my box of Russell Stover’s on sale at Walgreens. But for non-Valentine’s Day, I went with a traditional box of candy, the commercial flavor full of nostalgia. Fanny Farmer was our family’s favored candy maker, but alas, they were folded into a larger brand with a large corporate purchase.
One year I received a box of chocolates from a locally noted candy maker, with “Box № 1 of 2” printed on a white slip inside the box. I told myself the second box might have been ordered for my sweetheart’s mother. Yeah, right.
The best celebrations of Valentine’s Day were in grade school, when we made and decorated our own Valentine’s Day boxes for cards, and punched out Valentine’s cards with hoaky sentiments from perforated sheets. I saved the sentimental ones for kids I liked. We got pink-frosted cupcakes with our little boxes of milk.
Since we are going to be sold love and chocolate and flowers in February, why not hijack the holiday for our purposes? Love and chocolate and flowers for us all…