Editor’s note – this is a “from the vault” release that never stops being relevant for you, your loved ones, or Valentine’s Day…enjoy!
Here we are again. Valentine’s Day has come back around and if you’re like me, the status of your love life is directly proportional to how you feel about the holiday. Lucky for me, I’m now happily married to a great guy. This year I have some conversation hearts in a jar on my desk, a pink and red wreath on my office door, and heart wallpaper on my cell phone. Heck, I will probably even wear red on the actual day. Love is grand! But this hasn’t always been the case. If I were stuck back where I was eight years ago, single and somewhat bitter about love (when I spent Valentine’s Day with a guy friend eating wings at Hooters), I’d probably be tempted to pelt a few snowballs at any happy couple that wandered into striking distance. I will sheepishly admit that in my “loveless” years I may have crudely referred to the holiday as VD.
I’ve heard many times that Valentine’s Day is just a made up holiday to line the pockets of candy and card makers. I can understand why people would say that but I also think they’re missing the point. Is there anything really wrong with taking one day to focus on telling our loved ones how we feel about them?
The key is not to get carried away with overspending and to focus on the point of the holiday, which is to show someone that you love and appreciate him/her. Choose carefully how you share the love. According to my friend Carla, her husband had better not even consider getting her that footed pajama thing she keeps seeing ads for. Apparently, she is not buying the claims that “it feels like a hug”. Even if you can’t afford a giant stuffed bear, Godiva chocolates, jewelry, and two dozen roses for your sweetie, there are still ways to show that you care without going into debt.
When my husband, Justin (then boyfriend) shared our first Valentine’s Day together, he had just lost his job. Even if he wanted to buy me something expensive, it wasn’t possible. So, instead he wrote me a love letter. His willingness to pour his heart out to me on paper, to take the time to articulate exactly how he felt about me, meant more to me than any box of candy ever could. I still go back and read that letter. Instead of going out to a pricey dinner, we bought a few groceries and cooked a fabulous meal together. We also bought some strawberries and made our own chocolate dipped ones for dessert. It was one of the most romantic Valentine’s Days we’ve ever had.
If you feel Cupid breathing down your neck and you haven’t bought a thing yet, now is the time to decide how you can show your love without taking out a second mortgage on the house. You also don’t want to be “that guy” who has to buy sugar-free chocolates because you waited until the last minute and that’s all that is left on the Walgreen’s shelf. I guarantee that putting a little thought into your gift will matter much more than the cost.
Ask yourself what your sweetie likes and what is important to him or her. Sometimes a framed photo of the two of you or an album of some of your best snapshots together can be an incredible gift. If you know she loves flowers but can’t afford an expensive bouquet, many local florists (like the amazing Tiffany at Cheever’s Flowers at Northpark mall) will help you stick to your budget. They have arrangements starting at just $30. Living room floor picnics with all of his favorite foods can also be very romantic and inexpensive.
If you are flying solo this Valentine’s Day, consider making it a day to tell your family and friends how much they mean to you instead of focusing on romantic love. Keep in mind that one of these years, it may be your time for romance so don’t hate on St. Valentine. It’s not his fault that his holiday has been commercialized. After all, he literally lost his head over love and died as a martyr in 296 A.D. According to www.catholic.org in addition to being the Patron Saint of love and happy couples, he was also the Patron Saint of beekeepers, plague, epilepsy, fainting, and travelers. So, if love isn’t in the cards this year, consider taking a trip to buy some honey but I would steer clear of fleas on rats. You’ll still be celebrating in your own unique way.
Happy Valentine’s Day!