Valentine’s Day – Love Day?

I was trying to think of what to write about this week and since the day I post lands on Valentine’s Day what better topic than that.

I’m went to look up the history of Valentine’s Day and was treated to several different stories and versions of events/Saints lives. I’m attaching my favorite from the History channel (see link below), it is interesting how far back the tradition goes.

Valentine’s Day is not celebrated globally, it is in Canada, the US, Mexico, the UK, France and Australia. It is also a massive ‘consumerized’ holiday, that brings in an estimated 18 billion + (varies) each year in spending.

I’m not 100% sure where I stand on the whole Valentine’s Day thing. I waffle between totally adoring the idea of celebrating love and thinking it is an indulgent, in your face, depression inducing, consumer shit fest.

By and large I come out on the loving the love fest side – when I was 18, I lived my entire year from holiday to holiday, i.e. Labour day to Thanksgiving to Halloween, etc. , that a T.S. (True Story) and Valentine’s proved no different, even though I was incredibly single I just loved the idea of celebrating.

When you are a parent it’s a bit different, this year as with the last 4 years, I had prepped myself to aide with my kids Valentine’s cards – thankfully my middle’s preschool did not send a class list home so I feel no obligation to write cards on his behalf. My daughter is 6, I gleefully at 6:00am one morning this week, when she asked for my help, said that nope she could write, had a legible list and good luck, let me know how it goes.

Kinda but not totally surprisingly this resulted in a conversation around who she would be giving cards too, as she declared she was done at 11 and there are 22 kids in her class. I asked where the missing cards were and she said that those kids weren’t her friends, or that this person did this and that and so on. A big part of me wanted to say, ok – that’s fair because I believe it is, you don’t have to like everyone and false celebration is not cool but instead I thought this was my opportunity to explain that although she might understand that not everyone deserves a card, they might not.

In saying this I do want my daughter to be kind and I want her to want to include everyone but I also want her to set limits. I want her to know she can choose her people and doesn’t have to always include everyone because that’s not life. So I said until she is in Grad 3 or 4, and she no longer finds injustice in being excluded that she needed to make cards for everyone.

Another thing I’ve notice now as a parent is there seems to be a sort of pressure. Which no doubt I will feel again next year when Bo gets a list and maybe even Cael too. A pressure that not only do you have to have cards for everyone and but you should also have something attached to those cards, and homemade is better (so you better bake/craft with your kids) and no nuts (which I’m for since we have a nut allergy in the fam). I know this might be an internal thing, in my head but the amount of stuff the kids come back with every year is a bit much.

Maybe it’s because I dislike helping with these things, I don’t enjoy crafting and I’m not a send treats with my kid kind of person. I think I’ve mentioned I’m a bit crazy when it comes to food and my kids. Or maybe it’s because I don’t like the idea of getting or giving things because you have to and it’s expected vs taking time to be thoughtful and want to give, but this drives me nuts. So you can see my issue isn’t really with the day of Valentine’s or the sentiment but with the consumerism so maybe let’s by pass that.

Oh wait, before we bypass, can I say one thing that I would like to hear how you feel about it – WTF is Galentine’s Day? I mean, really? Now don’t get me wrong I love the concept and you better believe when single or my other half is out of town on Feb. 14, I would rally my friends for a girls night but why have an entire new day? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Apparently Galentine’s is on Feb 13th – I only realized this yesterday, I kid you not. It made me a bit crazy to think that instead of just celebrating everyone you love on the same day we needed to add another day to our calendars to celebrate our ladies, seriously?

I don’t think we need another day; Valentine’s and Galentine’s should be the same day. The only reason I can see to celebrate it on different days is to sell stuff or give a reason to go out (both which require money). Galentine’s should be the aforementioned Girls’ Night alternative to Valentine’s, otherwise all the single/free ladies and men (maybe we need a Palentine’s Day, Feb 12th anyone?) are literally still alone on Valentine’s.

My second issue with having it as a whole separate day (on top of the not saving you from being alone on actual Valentine’s Day) is that I believe you should be celebrating your girlfriends everyday. I mean women are tough, we are our own worst enemies and critics, however way we got this way, it’s true. If you have some kick ass, amazing ladies in your life celebrate them and their successes everyday. Pick them up on bad days and be happy on their good. And the whole idea of Valentine’s should be about celebrating everyone in your life, not just a sexual partner. Alright so maybe if we go into the history is really is meant to be about a marriage and mating but it’s morphed.

I would say the most important aspect of the tradition/history to me is that it was formed on cards and letters expressing your love or admiration. I remember my first Valentine’s Day with a relationship (about 6 months in) and losing it, like full on pouting because I didn’t get a card. I got dinner made for me and a mix CD, which turned out to be in lieu of a card and was awesome, so I shouldn’t have complained but I really cherish the written word. Taking the time to sit down and write how one feels is work, it shows care and thought. It is a lot easier to say things without meaning than it is to write them. For any other occasion I am a gift giver (wisher) but for Valentine’s it’s all about the feeling and the words. So take some time to write it down to anyone you love today (I need to start mine).

Anywho these are just a few of my thoughts on Valentine’s – what are yours? Are you pro-Galentine’s? Are you a gifts or cards person? Do you need to include everyone? Who are you celebrating with? Let me know.

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