I’m just going to come right out and say this – “I flipping love Valentine’s Day”. Yup, I can see you rolling your eyes and gufawing, but it’s true. I have loved the 14th of February since before I even contemplated dating anyone, let alone being married. I don’t know if it’s because it’s another day when we get to give gifts (there’s that gifting love language popping up again) or because it is generally a happy sort of day, but I love it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know there are lots of people out there who don’t share my views. I know that Valentine’s Day can be painful for some. But I don’t think you necessarily have to think of Valentine’s Day as an expression of purely romantic love. If I have one fault with Valentine’s Day, it’s that it narrows the ‘love’ element down to romantic relationships. I don’t think this needs to be the case. I think it should be about celebrating love in all it’s forms, whether that’s your kids or grandkids, or your best friend, or your co-workers.
Over the last couple of years I’ve found myself come up against a fair amount of abuse for my love of Valentine’s Day. Most of the comments range from a slightly condescending ‘I don’t need one day to show my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other that I love them’ to ‘It’s just a vomit-inducing commercialised holiday’.
I know a lot of people think I’m silly and naive to even dream of celebrating the 14th of February. As Torrie Bosch wrote in her ‘Leave cupid alone you snobs’ article, it appears to have become trendy and cool to hate on Valentine’s Day. Here’s what I think about the two most used reasons to hate on Valentine’s Day-
1. ‘I don’t need one day to show my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other that I love them’.
You are absolutely right, you don’t. And you should be showing them you love them every day. But what is the harm in setting aside one day a year (that’s one day in 365 people!) dedicated to this? We do it for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and birthdays don’t we? I don’t see anyone saying ‘We don’t need to celebrate your birthday to show that you are loved’. I don’t know about you but my husband and I have pretty busy lives. We literally have to schedule date nights in every week to make sure that evening doesn’t get consumed by something else and that we get to spend time together. Valentine’s Day is an already set-aside, accepted day in which to do this and I plan on not letting that opportunity pass me by!
2. ‘Valentines Day is just a just a vomit-inducing commercialised holiday’.
Well first of all, Valentine’s Day as we know it i.e. the exchange of cards and appreciation etc, dates back to, oh, about the middle ages. So, sorry people, it is not in fact, an evil invention sponsored by Hallmark.
Secondly, yes Valentine’s Day has become commercialised. But never fear Valentine’s Doomers! I am not so naive that I don’t know that. I do work in marketing after all ;)
But if you want to pursue the ‘commercialised holiday’ route then you may want to take a step back and examine Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Guy Fawkes, American Independence, Africa Day, Braai Day, New Year’s Eve, Boxing Day, St Patrick’s Day, Family Day, Freedom Day, Woman’s Day, Pancake Day, Burns Night, Black Friday, Blue Monday, half term, summer holidays, the second and third Mondays of January, the week before and after January and February pay days, mid season and Monday’s in general.. need I go on? That’s right. All of these have experienced their own varying degree of commercialisation.
But does that mean we don’t honour our moms on Mother’s day? No! Does that mean we don’t scroll through the sales on Black Friday? Nope. Does it mean that on Freedom Day we say ‘no thanks, I think this is a commercialised holiday so I’d rather go to work today”? Not me! So why do we go to such extremes to avoid honouring those we love and who stick with us through our ups and downs, on Valentine’s Day? Why does Valentine’s Day seem to take all the flack? You might think you’re avoiding commercialism and that hating on Valentine’s Day is cool, but it’s really not.
I think there is more than enough crap in the world without us adding to it by hating on something that could be so good. If you don’t have a significant other to celebrate with then honour those you do have around you – your family, your friends, your pets! If you do have someone to celebrate with, then take this silver-platter opportunity and make a big deal out of it!
And if you’re still anti Valentine’s Day then, there is PLENTY of anti-Valentine’s merchandise out there for you too. ;)