Jan 03 2018 0 Comments
Valentine's Day, oh sisters, is this a day that we welcome, or quite frankly, would we rather live without it? It is, arguably, the one day when your significant other is supposed to pull out all the stops to celebrate your love. Unfortunately, some of us are relegated to spending the holiday either ignoring it, or saying things in the vain of it being just a Hallmark holiday created by corporations in search of a yearly boost in sales during tax season. Maybe, just maybe, this is the year we all stop being so cynical, and start celebrating the holiday, not just in the romantic sense, but as a celebration of every type of love. If you find yourself single this year grab your besties, a bottle of wine, and dedicate V-day to your badass long-lasting friendships!
For better or for worse, recently single, or in the weird state of the relationship where you haven't had the "what are we doing?" talk yet--Valentine's Day occurs every year on February 14th. The history of this auspicious occasion is a bit murky but we can be relatively certain that it began as a feast day several centuries ago in Western Christianity, honoring one or more saints named Valentinus, and is still recognized as a cultural and commercial celebration in many parts of the world. The tale most circulated was about St. Valentine of Rome, who was imprisoned for marrying soldiers that were not permitted to marry. As the story goes, he healed the daughter of his jailer and before his execution, wrote to her and signed his letter, "Your Valentine". The cherubs and hearts came later with Chaucer and the whole courtly love (not to be confused with Courtney Love) explosion in the 14th century.
Personally, I used to love those classroom parties we had growing up, when we still thought that boys had cooties, and it was mandatory to pick out a box of little cartoony valentines to pass out to every classmate. When we were young it meant a classroom party with pink cupcakes and those chalky conversation hearts. That inclusiveness is nice in retrospect and it guaranteed that nobody got left out or forgot the holiday--which you would think is impossible considering the amount of merch loitering in every shop. As you get older that inclusiveness slowly drops away, and it is easy to get a little pessimistic about the whole thing. It can feel like that one scene from Mean Girls where everyone got a candy cane except poor Gretchen Weiners.
This holiday does not exclusively belong to the romantics. It's about love and an opportunity to tell someone you appreciate them, whether that is a friend, a child, a parent, or that one barista who always remembers you order. Maybe, even more radically, it can be a day you celebrate the love and appreciation you have for yourself. Really just celebrate the holiday however you want to--if you want to go out to one of those restaurants that are ultra expensive and have preset dinner menus with your beau, than go right ahead. You can also spend the day streaming Netflix, with a bottle of wine and some Chinese take out if you so choose. I think my perfect day begins with watching all the men in the aisles of various retail stores scrambling to find something among the picked over cards, candy boxes, and flowers; and ends catching a movie with some of my other single friends--I mean we've got to see that final installment of 50 Shades of Grey to complete the story. Well, don't we?
We've got 364 days a year where we can feel loved or rejected, but we have this one special day to make it official, so why don't we make the most of it. I am of course referring to the giving and receiving of gifts. Traditionally, a nice card, some chocolates, and/or flowers are adequate gifts for anyone. Here's a single girls tip: wait till the next day to buy your heart shaped boxes of chocolate, because they will by severely marked down from their original prices, and you won't feel bad about buying yourself more than one. If you are really stuck on what to get your V-day partner, try making something or finding ways to share a new experience, like a sweet handmade card or going to that vineyard you've been talking about for months. Not that something sparkly or showy isn't also a great gift, but when your gift feels particularly from the heart the receiver may appreciate it just a touch more. Also, if you are going for flowers make sure the recipient is not allergic--you definitely do not want to give your date hay fever, it might send the wrong message.
However you decide to celebrate Valentines--whether you go out, stay in, or ignore it all together--I hope you have a great time. Remember, the holiday, at its core, is about appreciating all love, whatever form it comes in. Something we shouldn't wait to celebrate one day a year, but really everyday.