14 February 2011

Happy Valentine's Day with Heart-Shaped Candy Boxes

Valentine's Day is when we all take the time to show our loves how much they are appreciated. Some of the tokens given today will be Valentine cards, boxes of candy, flowers, jewellery, etc. Last week I mentioned how my Papa always gave my Mama a heart-shaped Valentine box of candy. The heart-shaped candy boxes reached their heyday in the 1950s and 60s. While they are still given today, these pretty boxes share the stage with other gifts.

My Mom always saved the boxes and hung them up in her closet above the built-in drawers. I just loved to play with them when I was a little girl and thought they were beautiful. In 1969 we moved from one side of Louisiana to the other, and I never remember seeing my Mom's boxes after that. Don't know if they got lost in the move, packed away, or what.

Last fall my MIL crossed over at age 84. The Guy and I (and his siblings and their spouses) have been going through her house and getting it ready to sell. When we got to her closet, we found that she had also saved some of the heart-shaped candy boxes my FIL had given her. Some of the boxes are simply red with an impression of hearts, flowers, etc.,

but others are more elaborate with lace, silk flowers, etc.

The boxes were made by numerous candy companies all over the country. The ones I mainly remember are Whitman's, Russell Stover's , and Pangburn's. The candy companies would have varied by region, as there were few national brands that specialized in Valentine chocolates. But Russell Stover is the company that originated heart-shaped boxes in the first place.

As time has passed, Russell Stover has purchased both Whitman's and Pangburn's brands. (As an aside, Pangburn's originated in Texas and is the candy company that invented Millionaires way back in 1914. Millionaires are now the only candy from Pangburn's that Russell Stover still sells and one of the few chocolate candies that I never turn down.) In honour of the day, I'd like to share some photos of beautiful vintage Valentine heart candy boxes with you.

At our house we had been talking about the Valentine candy boxes and the Guy knew I had brought his mother's boxes home with us. I was thinking I could use them somehow for doing some Valentine decorating.

The Guy always gives me flowers for Valentines - beautiful potted flowers that I can plant after the holiday and enjoy forever. I used to be a florist and totally subscribe to "hyacinths for the soul" you know. The flowers he has given me at Valentines have always been pink or red - either tulips or miniature roses, mostly tulips. I just love these flowers and continue to enjoy them each year when they bloom. We were out at the farm yesterday and I noticed quite a few of the tulips beginning to come up.

Well, this past Thursday the Guy came home with a surprise. He had been to the drug store to pick up some of my prescriptions and it occurred to him that I had never had a Valentine heart-shaped box of candy of my own. So what did he do? He bought the biggest, prettiest heart-shaped box of Russell Stover candy they had. Not really for the candy as I am not a huge fan of chocolate, but so that I would have a heart box of my very own. This is one of the reasons I love The Guy. He truly understands that I would love to have a box and not worry about the candy. This is it!

Hearts are always associated with love. I am very lucky to have had grandparents, parents and in-laws who loved each other during long and happy marriages. My Papa crossed when my parents had only been married for 30 years, but my in-laws were together 62 years before my FIL crossed. Once, when she was in her 70s, my MIL sat down to talk with me and explained that love just kept getting better and better the older you got.

I'm leaving you with one last photo because it is part of the love story. This necklace is the gift that my father-in-law gave my mother-in-law to celebrate their 20th Wedding Anniversary back in 1966 (45 years ago now).

It's not very large - only about an inch in diameter. The Guy was in high school and taking French I at the time. He was there when the gift was opened. As his mother didn't speak or read French, he translated it for her. Because of the sentiment, this was one of her most treasured possessions. She wore it to church nearly every Sunday and on other special occasions.

"I love you more than yesterday less than tomorrow."

That is how the Guy and I feel about one another. Happy Valentine's Day, my friends. I hope you all enjoy your celebration of love today. And while you are out and about, check out Smiling Sally for Blue Monday and The Little Round Table for The Colours of Love: Coast to Coast & Shore to Shore.

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bj said...

A wonderful post. I love hearing all the love stories this time of year. My dad always got my mother a heart shaped box of candy. I just wish I had saved them!! :)
Happiest Valentines Day..

Boo-Bah said...

What a swwet post, perfect for Valentines Day.
All the boxes were so pretty.

Martha said...

I have a few of my mother's Valentine Boxes -- they are much nicer than the ones made today -- those from the 50's!!!

How nice is your collection! And now you have your very own box!!!

Love the necklace --

Happy Valentine's Day!

SmilingSally said...

sigh Oh, Becky, how sweet! Thanks for sharing your blues.

Happy Blue Monday.

Erica said...

This was a cute post, love hearing all your family stories. Happy Valentine's Day Becky!!!!!

Cora said...

Becky, obviously you come from a long line of lovers and collectors! Seeing those old heart-shaped boxes reminds me how much fun it was to receive one when I was much younger. Happy Valentine's Day to you, my friend!

gengen said...

Cute post for blue Monday.

chubskulit said...


Blue Monday, happy valentine's day!

Marlis said...

I so loved reading your stories. some of those boxes brought back many memories of when I young boys would give them to me. What a lovely post for today! Happy Valentine's!!
Thanks for dropping in with your kind comments.

Southerncook said...

I can remember my Dad bringing my mother boxes of candy and way back then your are so right, they were more elaborate but I don't remember her saving them??? She has been gone for 20 years and when we went through her things I don't remember seeing them. They had made one move about 10 years before she passed so it is very likely that they didn't make the move either because like your Mom and MIL she saved everything too. I loved this post Becky, very interesting and thought provoking. {{{HUGS}}}


Brenda said...

Becky, there was a story on Russell Stover and the heart shaped box on our news this a.m. You can probably find it on the WKRN website. Great post!

Donnie said...

What a sweet post. Russell Stover has a small distribution center or maybe a plant over in Wildwood, Florida. I have yet to go in there. Have a Happy Valentine's Day.

Joy said...

How sweet and how neat that she saved them..very beautiful and unique. Happy Valentines Day!

xinex said...

What a great story about your in laws, Becky....So sweet! Beautiful dishes and table accessories!...Christine

Daphne said...

I enjoyed seeing your Valentine boxes, Becky!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Oh, that is such a sweet story! I loved seeing those beautiful heart candy boxes and the French charm is priceless.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Besky I enjoyed seeing this beautiful post!

I've always loved Russell STovers chocolates...to me they are better than Godiva's!

~~louise~~ said...

This post spoke to me Becky. My husband use to give me huge boxes of heart shaped candy every year before he passed. And, I have each and every one of them saved in my corner of the closet. When the grand kids come to visit this summer, I'll be sharing the boxes and treasures they hold with them for the first time.

Thank you so much for sharing. I hope you didn't eat al that candy in one sitting, lol...