This photo post is a couple of weeks late. Most local stores were marketing Valentine's Day paraphernalia several days before New Year's Day was observed.
A nearby major card retailer had this large display ready on December 27. Here's a name hint from the store's popular tagline: "When you care enough to send the very best." (Did you guess the store name?)
Not to be outdone, several other retail stores also had V-Day cards for sale filling racks once filled with Christmas cards within a few days after that holiday.
A local pharmacy retail store relocated its marked-down Christmas items to showcase these new gift ideas. Teddy bears and
Sweethearts is their "official" name although they’re also called conversation hearts. These treats have a history dating to 1847 and it started here in New England.
Oliver Chase, a Boston pharmacist, wanted to get in the apothecary lozenge business. He learned that they had a manufacturing process that required a mortar and pestle, kneading and rolling dough, then cutting it into discs that became lozenges.
Chase invented a machine for the process and then started a candy factory, leaving the pharmacy business to produce what became Necco wafers, named after the his New England Confectionary Company.
In 1866, his brother, Daniel, joined the business and designed a machine to add words on the candies like: “Married in pink, he will take a drink,” “Married in white, you have chosen right” and “Married in satin, love will not be lasting.” The candies were usually featured at weddings.
The candies became heart-shaped in 1901 and messages were shortened to: “Kiss Me,” “It’s Love,” “True Love” and “Call Me.” Today, they’re always being updated. In the 1990s, Necco’s VP added: “Email me” and “FAX me.”The company annually receives hundreds of message suggestions. (YouTube videos show the production process and color mixing.)
Why are these candies so popular year-to-year?
Some think it's because it allows people to give loving hearts in friendship or as a love message. Many, like myself, recall getting them in grade school. Even those who don’t eat candy now have commented that the candies return them to childhood.
In terms of dollar sales, Valentine's Day is the third biggest holiday/season for the U.S. candy industry. According market researchers, it lags behind Easter and Halloween, which are also 1-day observances.
Grenville and I are planning a getaway after hearts day to celebrate it and my earlier Feb birthday.
How will you be celebrating this year?