Apparently, gifts of chocolates and flowers haven't replaced carefully chosen cards on Valentine's Day. Since 1915, Hallmark, the undisputed leader of the greeting card industry, has manufactured cards to be mailed in envelopes. Founder Joyce Hall started selling greeting postcards from two shoe boxes as early as 1910. The Norfolk, Nebraska, teenager with the big ideas built a Kansas City business and global empire. Today, Hallmark makes a tremendously diverse range of cards in 30 languages and sells them in more than 100 countries.
Some people still make their own valentines. Most parents think these are the best kind.
The modern valentine card has become increasingly sophisticated, keeping pace with popular technological advances. For example, there are cards that let you record a romantic message, "scratch-and-sniff" cards and cards that play romantic music.
And of course, you can send e-mail valentines. Some sites even offer free personal use of their illustrations or cards. But choose your valentine carefully -- some people find e-mail missives too impersonal and not private enough for this holiday of love. Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest!
For more information on Valentine's Day and related topics, check out the links on the next page.