"The customs and traditions that evolved in the Tudor family were sometimes rather unique, but the theme was universal: To be loved, by one another or by life itself, one must love first."
-Tasha Tudor, All for Love
Valentine's Day in the Tudor family was a highly anticipated event each year. As soon as Christmas was over Tasha and her children got to work making hand crafted decorations (such as the Valentine Mobile we'll teach you to make next week!), paper valentines, baked treats and gifts for each other, their friends, and even their dolls!
Today we are going to share an excerpt from Tasha Tudor's charming (but sadly out of print) book All for Love along with some Valentine's Day gift ideas so that you can get in the Tudor spirit and start preparing for the big day!
All for Love, first published in 1984, is a book of collected poems, songs, and prose written by the likes of William Shakespeare, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Jane Austen all centered on the theme of love, and was curated and illustrated by Tasha Tudor herself. It also includes wonderful recollections from Tasha's own life as well as recipes and directions for making Tasha's favorite Valentine themed treats and crafts.
Of her family's Valentine's Day traditions she writes:
"Love is not confined to Valentine's Day in our family or among our friends. There are many occasions all through the year to tell people that you love and appreciate them...Actually the nicest thing of all is the unexpected or spontaneous expression of your affection by a word, a homemade gift, a nosegay or token. But still, it is pleasant to have a day set apart specifically for celebrating love, and the Tudor family has developed many special traditions associated with Valentine's Day.
Children admiring the Sparrow Post Office and greeting Postmaster, Augustus Sparrow
Valentine's Day in our home centers on the Sparrow Post, where there is always interesting mail on February fourteenth for each member of the family...
The Post Office is refurbished each year. It started out as a grocery carton, but has been turned into quite an elaborate establishment, with cubbyholes for letters, a counter, a set of scales and many important notices pasted to the walls.
Valentine production starts as soon as Christmas is over. It takes many hours to make the numbers of small Valentines required for this special day. And, of course, each person and each toy character has to receive enough cards to feel warmly loved. Besides the exchanging of the tiny greetings, when the children were little, a whole celebration would be planned for the toys, who were as real to the children, and indeed, to all of us, as if they were truly alive.
The favorite of the male members of the family was a Cake Sale, with pretty cardboard booths set out with innumerable small cakes, pies, breads, and cookies, all most delicious. This is quite easy to do, though somewhat time consuming. But how greatly it is enjoyed by young visitors!"
As you can see, quite a lot of work went in to making sure February fourteenth was a day full of wonder, fun, and, of course, love!
Looking to recreate some of this Tudor magic for you and your family this winter? Keep an eye out for forthcoming posts on making Valentine Mobiles and baking your own Tudor Family Valentine Cake.
And in the meantime, we've put together a gift guide of some of our favorite Valentine's Day products to help you get into the holiday spirit!
Tasha was famous for her delightful Christmas advent calendars and enjoyed making them so much that she started a new tradition of making and opening advent calendars for Valentine's Day too! Start your count down to February fourteenth and let the excited anticipation begin!
Be Mine Advent Calendar
Eager to start a Sparrow Post tradition in your own home? Then our very popular 2017 Wall Art Calendar is for you! There are templates and instructions for making your very own Sparrow Post boxes, cards, and envelopes on the back of each month. Click here for step by step instructions. The calendar is also made of 100% recyclable materials and each month's artwork can be saved and framed to create your own rotating gallery of seasonal Tasha Tudor prints! Could it get any better?
For the avid baker, we have a beautiful Dove Cookie Cutter that comes with one of Tasha's delicious cookie recipes. This would make a wonderful gift and project for slightly older children too.
For the lover of art, one of Tasha's playful Valentine themed prints would make a wonderful present!
Are you preparing for Valentine's Day already? Post pictures to Facebook or Instagram, tag Tasha Tudor and Family, and use the hashtag #TashaTudorCrafts. We'd love to see your Tasha inspired crafts, baking projects, and gifts!