Next to Halloween, Valentine’s Day is my least favorite contrived holiday. I am amazed to see the hearts and more, just a week or two after Christmas, show up in stores. So much commercial hype. Too much pressure for everyone involved. Especially after you just finished sending a lot of cash in December and January.
Some people want to dump their boyfriends or girlfriends before the holidays to avoid this awkward time. Or they wait until just after. ( I know. I talk to my single colleagues.) They either hold on to relationships through the New Year so they have some one to be with or end it before Christmas so no presents are needed. Or hang around for holiday cheer and fun and then let go before the pressure to commit builds and there are huge expectations.
This all seems very juvenile. Why do we let a single commercialized holiday create stress for weeks and then a big let down.
I have told my husband to please not waste money on flowers or chocolates or anything else. He will most likely buy some flowers and some chocolates anyway—thinking it’s what he’s supposed to do. I used to say that not really meaning it, but in the last ten years I have really meant it. I don’t need the chocolate and I don’t need 24 red roses that will die in a week. All I need is a steady strong presence and a good father.
The commercial stuff is for the young I guess. And speaking of the young, do our kids really need to feel obligated to share Valentine’s Day cards with classmates? What message is that sending? It sounds harsh but why should we fuel this fantasy. Why not let them show love of a community by doing something loving for those in need? Make it a Valentine’s class project for the community rather than have parents buy a bunch of cards for them to hand out.
When my daughter Paige was maybe in third grade her class did this. I bought the cards—one for everyone in her class. She happily filled them all out in her room and had them ready for the school the next day. On Valentine’s night I had a call from a very angry parent about what she wrote no the card. “Roses are red. Violets are blue. You’re not nice. I hate you.” I’m pretty sure that’s what it said. I was mortified. First, that she did such a hateful thing and second that I did not supervise her or take the time to see what she had written on each card. I apologized profusely but somehow I don’t think that mother will ever forgive and me or my daughter. So if your kids are going to participate in this ritual—make sure you check their cards.
Others I have talked to will go to dinner and skip the gifts. That’s an easy way to honor your loved one spending time doing something you have to do ( eat) and doing it together in a special way. Whatever you decide I hope it carries over to the next V-day that comes around.
Lisa Robinson is the mother of two amazing young women. She is a freelance writer for several Baltimore area magazines, including Chesapeake Family Life. Lisa works as a news anchor and investigative reporter for WBAL-TV in Baltimore. When she’s not dealing with the drama of her two daughters, she’s busy cooking, working out, hosting her friends for get-to-getters, reading, and writing a non-fiction book. Lisa is one of the funniest people you’ll get to know. She relishes in saying the things others are afraid to. You can catch up with Lisa here and on Facebook and Twitter.