If we had an official candy for Valentine’s Day, it would be those little conversation hearts.

If we had an official candy for Valentine’s Day, it would be those little conversation hearts.

Famous for giving us a hundred different ways to say “I love you,” or at least “Be Mine,” Sweethearts Conversation Hearts rack up sales in the billions each year — making them second only to chocolate.

NECCO, the company that makes these little conversation-starters, mixes it up every year, adding a new theme.

For 2008, in honor of the unpredictability of weather (like love), the theme is “Love’s in the Forecast.”

The weather and nature-inspired sayings — created, they say, to encourage us to “weather the storm of love” — are as follows:

* “MELT MY HEART”
* “IN A FOG”
* “CHILL OUT”
* “CLOUD NINE”
* “HEAT WAVE”
* “SUN SHINE”
* “GET MY DRIFT”
* “WILD LIFE”
* “NATURE LOVER”
* “DO GOOD”

The concepts of conversation hearts, originally called Motto Hearts, goes back to 1866. Before World War I, they came in various shapes, such as watches, baseballs and horseshoes. Some of the original sayings still around today are “Be Mine,” “Be True” and “Kiss Me.”

The candy maker has been adding sayings since the early 1990s. We “heart” their efforts.

Rockford Register Star

ABOUT THE SAYINGS

300 billion: Sweethearts Conversation Hearts produced since the turn of the 20th century.

Eight billion: Sweethearts produced each year.

5,924: Miles the annual production of sweethearts would stretch, or the distance from New York to Los Angeles and back.

10: New Conversation Hearts sayings introduced each year.

6: Calories per large heart candy (small ones have 3)

Sayings from the previous five years:

2007

PUPPY LOVE
MY PET
BEAR HUG
URA TIGER

2006

SWEET HOME
GO HOME
HOME SICK
HOME RUN

2005

#1 FAN
DREAM TEAM
CHEER ME ON
BE MY HERO
ALL-STAR

2004

3 WISHES
EVER AFTER
MAGIC

2003

CLASS ACT
WHIZ KID
TEACH ME

Source: NECCO, New England Confectionery Company