On the eve of Valentine’s Day I began to question the number of holidays we celebrate and the amount of gift giving. It seems as if Christmas just passed and I finally recycled all the cardboard, when another gift giving holiday is imminent. Can’t people give gifts when and if they wanted too, instead of ‘having-to’ because Hallmark, FTD, or See’s candy made then feel obligated. Of course, no one ‘has-to’ do anything on Valentine’s Day, but if a guy does not give a gift, won’t he end up being chastised by his woman?
As a young girl I remember so many Valentine’s Day disappointments that I stopped expecting to receive anything on this holiday. It makes life a lot simpler to lower (or in this case remove) expectations. When I have received something on this annoying holiday, it is usually a dozen roses. I understand it is supposed to mean you are loving someone for 12 months, but it still seems a bit overkill. Why not send that person one rose every month for a year instead? Can’t we spread out the gift of love? Wouldn’t it be better to continuously remind the person that you love them, instead of blowing it in one shot?
The other difficult challenge of the holiday is, what do you do on it? Do you go out to dinner and a movie? Do you stay home and make dinner together? Do you go out to a play or the symphony? Do you go sky-diving? To me, the last option seems the most sane, unless you really love movies, plays or dinner. Last year I ran an 8k on Valentine’s Day and it was probably the best Valentine’s Day ever. It seemed a lot better than sitting around staring at an empty vase, or on a good year, a full one.
I keep asking myself why this day has to be for gift giving and different from any other day. Giving gifts doesn’t have to be limited to a holiday, does it? I really enjoy it when I receive a gift on a non-holiday. Imagine my surprise when I found a box of flowers from a Secret Admirer on my doorstep Friday evening. At least this year is good in the flower department (my vase is full). Tomorrow (like most other days) I will be working, doing laundry, making dinner for the kids, and if I am really lucky making some book edits. At least that is what I am expecting. Am I expecting too little? Although, who knows what surprises lurk around the corner of a holiday based on expressions of love? I hope everyone receives some expression of love tomorrow, no matter how small or large. Have a Lovely Valentine’s Day!