Valentine's Day still an important holiday to couples of all ages

February 14, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS |
  • Bob and Sonia Sullivan of Waynesboro, Pa.
Heather Keels

From surprise gifts exchanged by teenage sweethearts to a special dinner after a half-century of marriage, local couples said the form of their Valentine’s Day traditions has changed over the years, but, for many, the day’s importance has not waned.

“We still mark the day, and even after 22 years (of marriage), it’s a good day to celebrate,” said Chris Hahne of Williamsport.

She and her husband, Gary, plan to go out to eat with friends today.

When they were newlyweds, Valentine’s Day was more about surprises, Chris Hahne said.

“Maybe special flowers or maybe more than one gift,” she said. “A little more romantic.”

Yvonne Pfoutz of Waynesboro, Pa., said Valentine’s Days with her husband of 42 years were more romantic in the early years of their relationship, with gifts of stuffed animals and candy.

“It changes as you get older, and we tend to do more things all the time and not just once a year,” she said.

Some couples interviewed said having children made a romantic Valentine’s Day more difficult, so the holiday became more about celebrating love as a family than spending time as a couple.

“We might have some lunch, because, you know, with kids, you cannot plan supper anymore unless you have a baby sitter,” said Irak Vicarte of Hagerstown, who has two children, ages 8 and 10, with his wife, Jing Tian. “We prefer to stay with them a little bit more, so maybe lunch and a little bit of flowers.”

Tian said that in her native China, Valentine’s Day has only recently become popular, particularly among young people. She said her children enjoy trading valentines at school parties, but she doesn’t need gifts.

“No flowers, no chocolate,” she said.

Jamie Goldman, 17, of Frederick, Md., said she never cared for Valentine’s Day, but plans to let her boyfriend of two months, Rodrigo Reyna, take her out to dinner this year.

“It’s important to him,” she said.

“It’s just a way for every couple to show how they feel about each other,” said Reyna, 16, of Hedgesville, W.Va.


Both teenagers said their parents still celebrate Valentine’s Day every year, usually by going out to dinner.

Bob and Sonia Sullivan of Waynesboro, Pa., said they celebrated Valentine’s Day early, when they went to see the movie “Sanctum” together Thursday afternoon.

Valentine’s Day holds special significance for the Sullivans, who got engaged on Valentine’s Day 55 years ago, they said.

Bob Sullivan said he usually gives his wife flowers or chocolates.

“He treats me like it’s Valentine’s Day all the time,” Sonia Sullivan said. “He’s always doing nice things. It doesn’t take a special day for him to do something for me.”

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