Unpopular Opinion: Valentine’s Day is Awesome.

I love Valentine’s Day. I don’t love conflict. There are some opinions that I keep to myself in order to avoid conflict. This is not one of them. If you don’t love Valentine’s Day, I am writing this to you, and you are wrong.

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“But it’s so commercial.”

One common theme in the Hate-On-Love-Day Parade is the claim that Valentine’s Day is overly commercialized; exploited by corporations, both large and small, to make moola. I have several things to say in response to this…

  1. Every holiday is commercialized; we live in a highly consumerist/sales society. Shoot, Christmas is probably the most commercialized of all, but I don’t see people refusing to celebrate that!
  2. Feeding into the over-commercialization of holidays is a choice. Helen Fisher, a sociologist from Rutgers University, said it pretty well: “This isn’t a command performance. If people didn’t want to buy Hallmark cards, they would not be bought, and Hallmark would go out of business.” Helen is on point here, folks. If it bothers you that everybody is out to make money off of Valentine’s Day, then don’t buy anything. Refuse to feed the commercialist beast! Stick it to the man – just don’t stick it to Valentine’s Day! It’s a holiday to celebrate love and the people in your life who you care about – call up a friend and tell them you appreciate them! Is that commercial? No, it’s just nice.

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 “I’d rather do something when it’s NOT expected.”

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Oh really? How often does that actually happen? Sorry for my skepticism, maybe you are the king/queen of doing nice random things for people and I have misjudged you. If that is the case, then huzzah! But I still urge you to look at it from another perspective!

Impromptu and spontaneous acts of love are fantastic – but so is a holiday whose sole purpose is to perpetuate and promulgate planful and thoughtful acts of love! So, if you’re all about unexpected surprises, then this Valentine’s Day show your love and appreciation for someone who is NOT expecting it. Don’t want to be predictable with your sweetie? That’s fine. What about your cousins who you see once a year? What about your nice neighbor who helped you snow-blow your walkway that one time? Or the barista who knows your name? Or your old friend that you call up when you’ve had a crappy day? Those are the people who probably don’t expect anything from you this Valentine’s Day, but who would be delighted by an act of caring!

“I’m single so I’m boycotting Valentine’s Day.”

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ARGH! THAT MAKES NO SENSE!!! I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that you had to be in a relationship to be capable of loving someone. DO YOU HAVE A MOTHER?! WHAT ABOUT A MOTHER FIGURE?! DO YOU LOVE THEM??? SO MAKE A POINT OF TELLING THEM THIS VALENTINE’S DAY.

*Deep Breath*

Clearly, this line of thinking turns me into a gigantic, Valentine-defending rage-monster. I shall calm down and try to respond with less of a knee-jerk-emphasis-on-the-jerk reaction.

Ahem. Oh, you’re single? Me too. In fact, I’ve never been in a relationship on Valentine’s Day. Unlike you, however, I don’t think your relationship status should dictate your ability to celebrate a holiday or not. Shockingly enough, there are still a lot of people in my life that I love and appreciate, despite not being in love with someone.

I remember the year that my brother, Nathaniel, and his college friends decided to boycott Valentine’s Day. They wore black all day, didn’t talk to any girls, and hung out and watched The Godfather that night. Funnily enough, they had it kind of wrong. By spending time with friends, they were sort of celebrating the purpose of Valentine’s Day anyways. Still, I can sort of understand, I’ve had those moments of single-blues on Love-day, but then I remembered that having a chip on your shoulder and taking it out on everyone else is an ugly character trait.

If you boycott Valentine’s Day because you’re single, then you are ultimately just being selfish. It’s not all about you, my friend. You’re glum because you’re single? Boo-hoo. Go show love to somebody else rather than wishing that somebody would show it to you or whining because nobody does. Valentine’s Day isn’t just about romantic relationships! It’s about love of all kinds. I challenge single-folk to make Valentine’s Day theirs just as much as it belongs to couples. You have to be the change you wish to see in the holiday.

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“It’s too expensive.”

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  1. Please go back and re-read the whole commercialism line of thinking.
  2. The Internet can give you all sorts of ideas for Valentine-y goodness, ranging from inexpensive to free.
  3. Money might talk, but Actions speak louder than words. Rather than buying something or taking someone out for a WAY overpriced meal, do an act of service for someone!
  4. Lots of wonderful caring activities don’t involve $$$. Make dinner, snuggle, read aloud to somebody, play a board game, have an indoor picnic, watch a movie, write a letter, shovel a walkway, take out the trash, fold the laundry, give a neck-rub, do one of the ickier household jobs that everybody avoids . . . you get the idea.

“Isn’t that a Christian Holiday? I’m not Christian.”

First of all, most of the holidays that are celebrated today have some sort of religious origin (again, Christmas comes to mind). I’m willing to bet that many, or even most people who celebrate those holidays aren’t practitioners. I doubt everybody who drinks a beer on St. Pattie’s is a devout Catholic. Similarly, people who eat Cadbury eggs are probably not all attending Good Friday services and celebrating the resurrection of Christ. People who celebrate holidays through the lens of their belief system may return to the roots of the holiday, but it is hardly the norm. You clearly do not need to be a Christian to celebrate a holiday of Christian origins.

Second, while there are some different accounts of St. Valentine and his execution being on February 14th,  the roots of Valentine’s Day can be traced back to Lupercalia, a Pagan fertility festival held in the ides of February in ancient Rome. As a non-believer, I think you can safely celebrate the day. I just wouldn’t encourage you to do it the way they did in ancient Rome, because sacrificing a goat and a dog, well. That’s just sad. And touching their hides (once removed) in hopes of fertility in the oncoming year? I think Science has brought us farther than that.

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Side-note, Valentine’s Day’s association with the idea of Love also has been linked with early belief in France and England that February 14th was the beginning of a bird’s mating season. If all else fails, I guess you can celebrate it for the birds.

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“I actually hate everyone, including myself.”

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That’s just awful! If all else fails and there’s nobody that you love, you should at least love yourself and give yourself a day of pampering. Try. Be good to yourselves, you are the only you this world has got. That makes you a very limited natural resource and a rare commodity. Appreciate that about yourself.

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“My entire family died in a freak pinecone incident on Valentine’s Day.”

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Okay. You’ve got me there. I probably wouldn’t feel very festive either. But, I mean, you could always make it a day to commemorate your love for your family, right? That’s what I would want people to do after I’m gone – not just sit around being sad on the day I went out, you know?

Have some other reason why you don’t like Valentine’s Day?

So, if you aren’t convinced yet, please feel free to go back and look at my older Valentine posts to hear some more of my strong opinions or get ideas for how to celebrate.

If you want to argue with me about it some more, please post comments. You are wrong, and I will fight you. For the sake of Love.

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Felt the [g]LOVE!

I recently stumbled upon a few pairs of soft red gloves inhabiting the last lonely sale rack of a post-Christmas seasonal apparel massacre. I couldn’t just leave them there. As a born and raised north-easterner who has ample experience with nor’easters, I quite justifiably love gloves. Then again, the practical among you might protest (and you would be right in pointing out), I have many gloves. These gloves are not anywhere near as decorative and adorable as the usual gloves I love. . . so, in circumstances such as these, when faced with a glovely bargain, you must ask yourself :

What do you do dear?

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WELL, I’m glad you asked. What did I do? I bought them in a fit of bargain-price-induced impulse. This story, marked as it is by thrift-price induced spendthrifty-ness,  might have ended there, with the little red gloves uselessly gathering dust-bunnies in an environment rife with buyers-remorse . . . but it doesn’t. Instead the previously-orphaned little glovelies just needed a little love added into their sparse lives. Thankfully, I happen to still be in possession of an unholy amount of felt. With a snip-snip hear and a snip-snip there, a small bland square of pale pink felt was soon transformed…

felt thatAll that remained was to gather the tools needed to equip my (seriously) meager excuse for sewing ability . . .

thread. . . and shortly thereafter, the humdrum red gloves – those gloves that might once have disappeared into your average target cart like Waldo in a sea of candy-canes – were utterly transformed by the easiest DIY valentine-ification imaginable.

Behold: A New Kind of Gloves!

gLOVE

Why wear your heart on your sleeve when you can have it on your pinky?

15 Ways to Share the Love . . .

I firmly believe what the author Rose Franken said!

In keeping with this spirit, I would like to give you all some last-minute Valentine Ideas to share your love with people with an acceptable degree of silliness!

1.) Love Like a Fat Kid:

This would be cute accompanied with the gift of cake, no?

2.) Love Geographically

Definitely an adorable long-distance card!

3.) Love Unexpectedly:

Sometimes the sentiment means something more profound when put in a new way!

4.) Love with Individualized Compliments:

Saying someone is pretty . . . that’s overdone. Now, THIS is a compliment I could be thrilled to receive!

5.) Love-One-Up Somebody Famous

Think about it: Paula Deen. Oprah. Then think about how much better than them you are at loving people than they are at loving their specialty.

6.) Super-Crafty Love:

This is both an expression and an inventive toy which can amuse for the rest of the day!

7.) Love In Correct Terminology

Let your inner nerd out and make a very straightforward black-and-white card!

8.) Love the Shock Value!

Sometimes we need that slap-in-the-face of something shocking to get the message across!

9.) Love Sweetly

Sending some dynamite Rolos, share the love explosions!

10.) Love with nerdy sketchy-ness!

These librarian cards are the perfect blend of stalker and nerd-dom, don’t you think?

11.) Love Modernly

Put things into terms that the modern, tech-savvy individual can fully grasp!

12.) Love like a Child!

Why not have a little Throw-back to your childhood and show your valentine how much you love them!

13.) Love with Elderly References!

Sometimes, false teeth puns are perfect.

14.) Love with Vampires

Um, sometimes a little Damon Salvatore is all it takes for true love!

15.) Get Topically Nerdy:

Make a pun that involves some kind of nerdy topic. Example?

There you go.

Go forth and Share the LOVE!