Valentine's Day hasn't always been hearts and roses. Over time it's been many things-- and why not?
It's been around for centuries, starting as an ancient pagan celebration of fertility until the 5th century when Pope Gelasius took over the date to honor Saint Valentine, a priest beheaded in 270 AD for performing Christian marriages.
Even then, the day was not associated with romance until the Middle Ages when poet Geoffry Chaucer linked the day with love in his poem "Parlement of Foules."
For this was on Saint Valentine's day,
When every fowl comes there his mate to take.
A society obsessed with chivalry and courtly love took this image to heart and the holiday took flight.
The oldest known valentine was written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. His jailer, King Henry V, must have been impressed because he hired his own writer to compose valentines. And from there the holiday just kept growing.
From the handwritten notes friends and lovers exchanged in the 18th century, to the masses of printed cards that are swapped today, Valentine's Day comes second only to Christmas for the number of cards sent. According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine's Day cards will be sent this year. That, my friends, is a lot of love. And who doesn't love love?
But here at The Village we want to share the love beyond cards and chocolates (although those are very nice). We want to see how you spread love and kindness out to the world. Simply post a photo and description of the way you have used the holiday to bring some love and light into the world on the Village Facebook contest page. Some lucky participants will win a $25 Village gift card as our thanks for making the world a better place.
Did you donate a trunkful of clothes?
Pay in forward in the Starbucks line?
Shovel your neighbors driveway?
Volunteer in the soup kitchen?
Show us your big hearts, Rochester Hills, and win!
Whether you're looking to use the gift cards you got over the holidays, or hoping to take advantage of some epic clearance sales, January is a great time to shop. Here are some of the best things to buy this month:
Outerwear- It's crazy because there is still plenty of winter left, but outerwear starts getting marked down in January. You can think ahead to next winter, buying a size up for the kids, or fight the winter blahs with a fresh look to carry you to spring. Check out several of the Village stores, like Eddie Bauer and Moosejaw for annual sales.
Home Decor- The Christmas decorations are put away and suddenly the house looks kind of bare. New throw pillows, colorful rugs, fun frames, interesting artwork. What can you find to brighten your home in the new year? Make 2016 about your kitchen, Williams-Sonoma has all the latest trends, gadgets and decor to make your gathering place feel cozy.
Furniture- The new collections come out in February so stores are trying to make room. The best way to make room: clearance sales. There's no better time to replace the couch the kids have been jumping on for the last 10 years (in their defense, they were avoiding hot lava.) Anyone can have a house, but Pottery Barn helps your house feel like a home. Home decorators are on staff and waiting to help.
Candles- Although the days are slowly getting longer, night still falls by 6 p.m.. Embrace the darkness with the warm glow of candles. They help turn cold into cozy. It's Semi-Annual Sale time at Yankee Candle and Bath & Body Works!
Suits- New year, new you, new suit? Fall suits are often on sale in January. Pick something classic and enjoy the discount. Great time to update a wardrobe... bring your significant other into the 21st century with a modern suit. Check out Jos A. Bank or even Banana Republic.
Flatscreen TVs- Sure, the Super Bowl is coming up soon but the real reason to buy that big screen television now is the sale! The Consumer Electronic Show just took place in Las Vegas and retailers need to make space for the new inventory coming in February and March. Take advantages of the discounts so on February 7 you can watch the big game in a big way.
Linens- It's time for the annual "White Sales." Inspired by snow? Or the fact that once all linens came only in white, stores are marking down sheets, towels and bedding. Pottery Barn may again be your go to place for the best deals.
Mattresses- Because wouldn't it be nice to put your lovely new linens on a firm, new mattress? Visit the Sleep Number Store and test out their mattresses - you can even take a little snooze!
Health supplies and equipment- Oh, the irony! The stores clear away all the cookies, treats and booze and replace them with vitamins and supplements! If your New Year's resolution included better healthy habits, most stores have discounted their at-home exercise equipment. Time to jump on it! Stop by GNC to get started...don't wait another day!
Organization- A lot of resolutions include getting organized and the stores know that too. Look for lots of items to help you put everything in its proper place.
Gifts- Now that you're so nicely organized (see above), how about thinking ahead to buy gifts on discount? The sales are there, now is the time to take advantage of them. Shop and file away gifts in a special box for the coming year. You'll thank yourself later.
Christmas decor- And speaking of thinking ahead, Christmas decor is outrageously discounted right now. Stock up on wrapping paper, buy new decorations. It will be like a gift to yourself when you pull them out in December! Definitely check out Paper Source.
The first place blogger Laura Cassar visited when real estate shopping in Rochester Hills was The Village (Kruse and Muer, to be specific) and she's been hooked ever since! A Rochester resident for 13 years now, in addition to her duties as wife, mom and freelance writer, Laura is a Village of Rochester Hills cheerleader!
Written by: Laura Cassar (local mom & wife, children's book author and Village cheerleader)
Sure, the holidays are hectic, that's part of what makes them great! There's so much to do and people to see! No matter what is on your social calendar for the month, The Village of Rochester Hills has the perfect outfit for any occasion. With a dozen different events in mind, we offer you The Twelve Dresses of Christmas (hum along, if you want.)
On the First Day of Christmas my book club hosted a really fun Girls' Night Out…..
A lot of book clubs might keep in casual January through November, but most turn up the" festive meter" for December to celebrate another year of quality reading. The Loft has the perfect sleeveless medallion jacquard dress, with fitted top and flared skirt for this GNO. In navy blue, the dress is thick, warm and comfortable. It is $89.50. Here Ashley, Loft manager, completes the look with necklace ($49.50) and bracelets ($24.50 each).
On the Second Day of Christmas my true friends gave to me a tree trimming dinner party….
When it's time to deck the halls, trim the tree and indulge in roast beast with friends, Evereve's Free People Dynamite Denim mini-dress ($128) fits the bill! Personal stylist Cindy gives the dress additional holiday spirit with a Free People Parisian Night cranberry slip ($78) and gold/silver tassel necklace ($38). That great thing about this outfit is that it can be mix-and-matched to be worn again and again.
On the Third Day of Christmas my dear friends gave to me a dozen Christmas cookies….
A holiday cookie exchange is a great excuse to get together with friends to consume massive quantities of chocolate and sugar too! This Buffalo plaid party skirt from Talbot's is an adorable retro look that makes me want to throw on an apron and channel my inner June Cleaver! The skirt ($149) has slash pockets and front pleats and pairs well with a crisp white wrinkle-resistant blouse ($74.50.) (Wrinkle-resistant was probably a Christmas dream come true for old June!) The black bracelets complete the look for $39.
On the Fourth Day of Christmas my neighbors gave to me a progressive dinner party….
Whether traveling around the world, or just around the neighborhood for a progressive dinner party, Chico's special Travelers line offers the perfect, wrinkle-free outfit. Store manager Mary is ready for an evening of food and friends in this glittering navy and gold outfit. Flattering crepe navy pants ($79) are topped with a gold shimmer tank ($55) and striped navy and gold sweater ($109). A big, bold necklace ($79) adds the finishing sparkle.
On the Fifth Day of Christmas my child gave to me an elementary class party….
It's a special treat to relive the magic of Christmas through your child's eyes. Whether you're the Room Mom or just a cheerful volunteer, Gap has great outfit options for you. Sales associate Jenny helped me pair a blue and black plaid wool skirt ($59.95) with fun zipper pockets and a soft grey ribbed turtleneck ($39.95). Plain black leggings for $29.95 make the outfit cozy and comfortable enough to participate in any reindeer games the classroom may offer.
On the Sixth Day of Christmas I helped my world by attending a charity event….
It's the season of giving and there is no shortage of galas, balls and cocktail parties to help make the world a better place. Lane Bryant's venetian red dress ($99.95) with a lace overlay would bring holiday cheer to any black tie event. The three-quarter sleeves are trimmed with eyelash lace and the belt is a self-tie ribbon. Sales associate Beth accessorized with stone statement necklace ($34.95) and earrings ($14.95). The lace up strappy heel ($59.95) completes the look.
On the Seventh Day of Christmas my company gave to me a casual holiday party…..
Is your company holiday party more fun than fancy? Ann Taylor's boiled wool flounce dress ($139) in winter blue is too! Sleeveless with a deep V-neck, the jewel tone is sure to set a merry tone to any event. The double strand pearls add the finish touch for $59.50.
On the Eighth Day of Christmas my company gave to me a super fancy holiday party….
Sometimes you've got to go big or go home. White House Black Market certainly helps you do the former. Their lace bodice jumpsuit ($170) will rock any holiday event, and best of all, it's comfortable! The store carries every accessory you need to take your outfit to the max with helpful staff like sales lead Austin to put it all together for you. She completed my look with a shrug sweater ($58), statement necklace ($65) and gem stud earrings ($25), sparkling bracelet ($45) and a satin envelope clutch ($78). You'll be looking for excuses to wear this outfit!
On the Ninth Day of Christmas it was finally time to get together with the extended family…..
It's time to see the family and whether you're fighting over the best White Elephant gift or trying to get your fork out of the fondue, Francesca's little black dress ($48) will see you through. With a strappy gold lace bodice matching the gold lace strips on the skirt, you'll look as pretty as your favorite Christmas ornament. A black and gold necklace ($24) enhances the neckline.
On the Tenth Day of Christmas I remembered the reason for the season and went to church….
Ann Taylor's lace shift dress ($139) with short sleeves and a back keyhole is an absolute classic perfect for Christmas services. You cannot go wrong with it, anytime or any place. The gold and pearl necklace ($69.50) says timeless.
On the Eleventh Day of Christmas I attended a holiday brunch…..
It's been a whirlwind but the end is in sight! One more decadent Christmas brunch before focusing on New Year resolutions! And lucky you, J Jill has a perfectly stylish and comfortable outfit for the occasion. Assistant manager Susan wears a Pure Jill sueded dress in 100 percent cotton ($99) with fleece-lined footless tights ($25). The dress is also available in red, green or black. Susan adds a splash of holiday red with her color block scarf ($39) and a little sparkle with her long necklace ($49).
On the Twelveth Day of Christmas I celebrated the New Year…..
Just when you think you're done, well, there's New Year's Eve! Banana Republic has the ultimate metallic dress ($198) to ring in the New Year. The color, a warm silver, is fantastic but it's the cut, with a camouflage effect around the middle, that is so kind after a month of holiday calories and cheer! Shimmering sequins and chiffon trim, plus those double spaghetti straps, send out a clear "let's party" statement. No one else need know you plan on spending the entire next day laying on your couch in your oldest pair of sweat pants!
Happy Holiday from The Village! We hope they are merry, bright and well-dressed!