Technology changes expression of true love

February marks the month of love all due to that pesky Cupid shooting arrows of swoon on Valentine’s Day.

Many will receive cards, candy, gifts, flowers, or all (depending on if you have some making up to do).

Origins of the card-giving holiday date back to the 18th century when the first Valentine’s cards were sent, according to They were handmade usually on decorative paper with romantic symbols including flowers and love knots, often including puzzles and lines of poetry. These cards were then slipped secretly under a door or tied to a door knocker.

Approximately 200 million paper valentines are sent every year in the U.S., according to Hallmark didn’t start selling Valentine’s Day cards until 1913.

With technology, the e-card market and simple text messages, who knows how many letters of love are sent? But younger generations don’t know what they are missing by skipping the handwritten love letters for texting and emojis.

The craft of handwritten notes, cards and “love letters” seems to be a lost art. With many schools opting not to teach cursive writing, being able to read your grandparents’ war-time love letters will seem like hieroglyphics.

There is something special about finding a letter in the mailbox. A personal touch of pros that most often becomes a keepsake. Not enough time is the answer most people will give. Instead, it’s btw, miss u lots, ((hugs)) or (hearts). For those with lazy thumbs, memes are a dime a dozen online.

There’s less pressure with a text. And you can always write back lol jk – talk about hieroglyphics.

In a quick poll of office colleagues at the Area Agency on Aging 11, many still send cards or gift packages to children, but they are the more “seasoned” co-workers. They even admit that they don’t send as many cards – especially Christmas cards – as they used to.

“I just don’t have the time to write something,” one said. Others say they have replaced the handwritten cards for a multi-pack of family photo prints with pretty, seasonal frames that say, from the John Doe family. Of those who say they still write letters or send messages in cards, it comes from a sentimental tradition that was handed down. They remember how it made them feel, and they want to continue the tradition.

Not too long ago a colleague said his grandfather would stay in touch with letters that had to travel from Italy to the U.S. by boat. It would take months to correspond. Now there is Facetime and Skype – no words necessary.

Younger co-workers just looked bewildered when asked if they send letters or cards. “Why,” was one response. Another said, “letter writing went by the wayside when texting came along.” But one Millennial often finds handwritten notes in his lunch, or in his suitcase when he travels. He said his wife grew up with notes from her mom and she wants to continue the tradition.

But every one of the “preferred texters” said they have saved the cards from their grandparents or parents. They also admit to writing love notes when they were in school. That tucked away box of saved memories is now replaced by a cloud that stores multi-bytes of messages and photos, that will rarely – if ever – be seen again.

This Valentine’s Day ask your grandparents if they sent letters – especially if someone served in the military. Ask them to read some of the letters and take a walk down memory lane. It will save you screen time and give your thumbs a rest.

And for those who have no love interest, well, they might tell Cupid to do something different with those arrows. Maybe they should forego the cards and just eat the chocolate.