I sat down to write a post about the most obvious topic of all for today-love. That is something we all consider on Valentine’s Day, whether we choose to acknowledge it as a legitimate holiday or not. It’s all too easy to take a cynical approach and call it a “holiday made up by the greeting card companies” because of its hype based around heart-shaped and chocolate wares, but the holiday has been around far longer the commercialism of the twentieth century.
In the past what we now call Valentine’s Day held other meanings, from pagan beginnings that involved blood sacrifices and fertility rituals, to martyred saints. Interestingly paper cards to celebrate the day have actually been around since the Middle Ages.[i]
The main purpose of the holiday as we know it, however, is love; to be celebrated, contemplated, longed for. It is a day to cherish those who share our lives, whether they are spouses, lovers, family, or friends. How exactly we choose to express our feelings about them holds as many options as there are relations out there.
So how do you pick from the multitude of merchandise, from the plethora of songs, from the abundance of flowers, to the profusion of restaurants offering packages just for this one day? How do you choose to show the one(s) you care about the most how you feel? Do you even need to spend money to convey your feelings, or can you find a better way to express your love?
The most important thing to consider is the object of your affections. What will they appreciate the most? Are they certified chocoholics, or have some other weakness you can use to your advantage? Do they prefer to go out, or spend a quiet evening at home? The best gift is one tailored especially to your love, whatever that may be.
And while you are choosing something special your valentine will appreciate, don’t forget to insert a little of your own unique personality as well. Those who return our affections will be most impressed with a gift that celebrates what the two of you have in common, or that that show an investment of thought and time from the giver.
Don’t despair if you’ve put off marking this day to the very last minute-there’s still time to text or to go old school and make a handwritten card with a special message, or plan a special meal, even if that is just a heart-shaped pizza and a favorite dessert. Put on the radio, light some candles, and dance with your special people. Face time if you can’t be together. Watch a movie you love. Above all, put into words just exactly what these individuals mean to you, how much you appreciate them today, and always.
However you choose to celebrate it, Happy Valentine’s Day to you all.
[i] For more information on the history of Valentine’s Day see this link: http://www.npr.org/2011/02/14/133693152/the-dark-origins-of-valentines-day