At work today, my friend pointed out that the Valentine's Day cards are already out. Since Christmas started before Thanksgiving this year, I'm not surprised to see that Valentine's Day is starting before...Martin Luther King Day, Groundhog Day, Save the Eagles Day, Superbowl Sunday or even Chinese New Year. What I am surprised about is the sudden increase in tension in my body as Valentine's Day was mentioned. No, I don't hate Valentine's Day - I hate the hating of Valentine's Day.
I'm so sick of hearing people rant about Valentine's Day: It's too commercial. It's just a Hallmark Holiday. It makes you feel pathetic if you don't have a partner. It's designed to make you feel pathetic if you don't have a partner. It's just a marketing gimmick - meant to sell more stuff. Celebrating a martyr through giving chocolate and poems is inappropriate. You should show your love every day. It's over rated. It's trite. It's ... blah blah blah. Maybe it's all the RED colored hearts/flowers/etc that's overstimulating people and making them angry?
I love Valentine's Day. Every since we put little brown paper bags on the back of our chairs at school and filled them with notes from our classmates, I've enjoyed giving and receiving tokens as a celebration in February, a dark and cold month well into winter when I'm about ready to pull my hair out with the desire for some sun! When I learned that there were saints involved with the holiday, I enthusiastically picked up the habit of calling it St. Valentine's Day and found that a lovely affectation that only increased my affection for this most affectionate of holidays.
Is it too commercial? Is Christmas? All holidays are going to marketed to death, but that's the society we live in. Holiday's are just one more convenient hook to get us into purchasing mode -we're bombarded by marketing and the COMMAND to buy, buy, buy more and more crap that we don't need, but... it's a personal choice to respond to these gimmicks or not. I read about one family who doesn't purchase any Christmas gifts within the family, but instead celebrates birthdays with verve and buys Christmas gifts for an adopted family. What a creative solution! I'm sure there are similar ways to get creative about Valentine's Day - spend time with someone(s) that are special to you by making them dinner, take a walk, play a game they really enjoy - you don't have to spend money to make someone feel special. And if it's just all the Valentine's Day crap at the stores that makes you see red, deal with it. We all see things in our shared environments that we find offensive and often the mature response is to walk away.
In regards to the thing about feeling pathetic if you don't have a partner, I imagine that anyone who feels pathetic on Valentine's Day probably feels pathetic a lot of the time anyways. We all have moments of low self-esteem, but that's no reason to be a negative-Nancy about yet another thing. Does down-talking Valentine's Day make one feel better about themselves? Maybe - these days it seems like the latest cool thing. Everybody's doing it.
Regarding the complaint about how we shouldn't just say "I love you" on Valentine's Day - thank you, new-agers, the world over for reiterating what we all have read on nearly every page of Chicken Soup for the Soul. I love you, gentle readers, today and every day, but I especially love you on Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day just makes me feel a little more romantic, a little more amorous and a little more open-hearted. Not because of the lace edged red heart Valentine's, not because someone gives me chocolate or a teddy-bear, but because it's a romantic notion. We could set aside Lover's Day as October 15 and I'd celebrate it as enthusiastically - alone, I'd romance myself with a hot bubble bath, candles and an ice cold glass of sangria; with friends, I'd share sweet cakes and laughter and with my partner, any form of activity that celebrates our love. Valentine's Day is for more than saying "I love you," it's for romance.
The complaint about it being over-rated just strikes me as bitter and these days I would say that Valentine's Day is decidedly underrated. We could enjoy it and really have a good time if we just embraced the parts we like and excise those parts we don't like. Since A doesn't enjoy turkey, we had a very different Thanksgiving this year and Christmas with friends was celebrated with white elephant gifts, but none of these events were labeled anti-Thanksgiving or anti-Christmas just because we celebrated differently. I will continue to avoid anti-Valentine's Day events and will remain, as ever, stupid for cupid.
[Hmmm...speaking of holiday rants, why doesn't anybody hate NYE? There is kissing involved at midnight and loads of supplies, although most of those are alcohol and I rarely hear people complain about that.]