Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Oh Valentine's Day. The most controversial holiday of the year. Some people love it. Some people loathe it. I do both.

There are a lot of great things about Valentine's Day. In elementary school there were the little kid Valentine's covered in super heros and Disney princesses. I really enjoyed handing them out, and it taught me an important lesson about making sure that I gave everyone a Valentine, because I could see how happy it made some of the kids to feel included in this strangely important activity. I loved the pink and red frosted cupcakes, the hearts decorating the school room and the hugs of my friends as we told each other "I love you!"

As I grew older Valentine's Day continued to be a day when I would celebrate the relationships in my life. The fact that I didn't have a romantic relationship on Valentine's Day until I was 17 did not deter me from enjoying the holiday. It always surprised me when girls in high school would become angry or depressed over their lack of a significant other on this one day of the year. I didn't (and still don't) understand what made this one day stand out above all the other days of the year during which they didn't have a significant other. I would just give my friends their Valentines (usually still Disney Princess), wear my pink and red, go through my day getting lots of hugs and love, and spend the evening watching movies or hanging out with friends, or really just doing my usual.

When I became a server Valentine's Day took on a whole new level of importance, as one of the days I'd make the most money. The commercialization and artificial importance of the day makes it one of the busiest restaurant days of the year. Lots of couples squeezing into overcrowded restaurants, pretending that they're having an intimate date, surrounded by other couples doing the exact same thing. And, every so often, a refreshing group of singles just out for a night of fun.

One thing that I have never understood is why Valentine's Day is so important to couples. I think that the celebration of love and relationships is fantastic. I understand that it's nice to have a day during the year where you know time will be set aside with your significant other (well, depending on what industry you work in, at least). I even understand it being fun to set aside this time to do something spectacularly romantic and meaningful. What makes no sense to me is why some people think that not doing something for Valentine's Day means they're unloved.

I can't tell you what I did for Valentine's Day last year. I have no idea. I think my husband worked. The year before that this is what we gave each other:
He got the chocolates, I got the dancing lion (he sings "Jungle Boogie"). I've known girls who would have been aghast at this choice of present. Infuriated. Hurt. Disappointed. Tragically sure that the relationship was over and he didn't care. I'm sure that doing nothing the following year would have clinched that feeling.

And why?

I will always understand the importance of taking a day to celebrate the relationship. That's why we have anniversaries. And it's nice to have another day during the year to have an excuse to do something big and grand and romantic. But, in my opinion, it should be just an excuse to do that, not a necessity.

Because really, Valentine's Day is just a day with no more or less significance than what you give it.

1 comment:

  1. After spending quite a bit of money on each other last year for V Day, Hubby and I decided to no longer really bother with the holiday. Instead we choose to show each other we love each other EVERY day. There are plenty of other (more meaningful) gift-giving days throughout the year.

    Although I will continue to bake Valentine's Day themed goodies, just cuz I love to bake. :)