Wednesday, February 11, 2015

On Valentine's Day

I've spent years trying to be the low-maintenance cool girl that thinks Valentine's Day is for suckers. But I've changed my mind. 

Confession: I like Valentine's Day. 

I've heard it all, from PBS shows saying it's too religious to Christians saying it's too secular. Well they're all wrong. Here are my replies to some of the more popular anti-V-Day one-liners: 

1. Every day should be Valentine's Day.

Well, sure. But reality check -- every day is not Valentine's Day. Also, every day is not Thanksgiving, Independence Day, or Christmas. But we still like to give thanks, wave flags, and put baby Jesus in a manger. Let's not cancel a holiday just because it celebrates things we should think about year-round. 

2. We shouldn't need a holiday to tell us to love.

True. We also shouldn't need a holiday to honor those who died for our country or remember the fight for racial equality. But sometimes life gets busy, you get caught up in a new job, stop sleeping, rush from one good thing to another, have four kids in five years, and suddenly you don't have time to sit down to breakfast with the person who used to make the world stand still. Thankfully, there's a year of holidays to shake things up, to help us remember the things we really value, like freedom, equality, faith, hope, gratitude, and love.

3. Valentines Day is just for lovers. 

That's like saying Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is just for blacks. 

4. Hallmark manipulates us into sentimental spenders. 

If we boycott Valentines Day, because Hallmark makes millions on greeting cards, let's forget Easter too. Stick it to Cadbury!

5. Valentines Day is just a secular holiday. It has nothing to do with Saint Valentine. If anything, we should be celebrating Saints Cyril and Methodius.

Seriously, Catholics? If we boycotted every holiday with secular undertones, we'd dump Christmas, Easter, and St. Patrick's Day right off the calendar. We've already vilified costumes and candy on All Hallow's Eve. (Granted, not in our house. We'll dress up for free candy.) If you feel so strongly about it, send your kids to school with prayer cards of Saints Cyril and Methodius. (But make sure you've taped a lollipop to each.)

Picture Source
Life is short! Let's celebrate! 

Don't buy boring, obligatory greeting cards, or flowers at four times the cost. But if the flowers bring beauty and happiness, buy them a day early, or pick some pretty weeds, or pull some mistletoe out of a tree. And if the card says just what you're thinking but haven't found the words to say, then give Hallmark credit for helping us communicate our feelings so perfectly, and spend a few bucks on a sweet card (unless you have four kids in five years and don't have time for card aisles at the grocery store). 

If Valentine's cards are trite and impersonal, make your own weird, creepy valentines.

If going out to dinner is too expensive, just stay home and make waffles. Because everyone loves waffles! Definitely make waffles for breakfast. It's the best way to show your kids you love 'em. 

If another day with requisite gifts is overwhelming your wallet, there are inexpensive ways to gift, besides a crappy space-taker from Pinterest (unless your friend likes that kind of stuff). Try homemade cookies, thoughtful notes, a massage, an hour of kid-free video gaming or reading, a drawing, a coffee break, the gift of sleeping in, a project completed, a cool hike, a clean car, a photo, a scavenger hunt...

But most importantly, don't forget the best gift of all. Chocolate.

Love, I mean, love.

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