Valentine’s Day was yesterday here in Australia. I don’t generally pay it too much attention although the stores have been full of red, white and hearts for the past few weeks in an effort to push the retailers perception of love upon unsuspecting shoppers. Unfortunately, the push by retailers goads people into feeling guilty if they don’t buy something to give to their loved ones on February 14th.
I am somewhat sure that nearly all of us are aware that Valentine’s Day began as a pagan celebration however the church later tied this in with the execution of St Valentine who performed marriages for Roman soldiers in secret and against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II (although this story too is open to conjecture). Whatever the roots of this day, it has now become a major cash cow for retailers the world over who encourage the masses into purchasing chocolates, red roses, jewellery, candy and cards. In today’s economy, we are still being pressured by major retailers to buy, buy, buy and apparently all in the name of love. My question is “Love of what”? Although that is another topic for another post.
When I was growing up, I had no clue what Valentine’s Day even was. Those in Australia who celebrated it, were just ‘following the Americans’. In my teens, I began to take a little more notice of it as the day gained popularity downunder.
I have never been one of those girls who all the guys loved, so receiving a Valentine was something that never happened in my school years. My first ever Valentine’s Day card I ever received was from my first serious boyfriend after I had left school. He gave me a card, bought me chocolates and took his ex-girlfriend out for the evening. Hmmmm should have read the clues on that one right?
Of course there were other times over the years when I did receive something for Valentine’s Day from my ex but they were few and far between.
When I met the Garden Gnome, we exchanged gifts the first year or two we were together (I believe I gave him a rose bush for the garden and he gave me a Celine Dion CD our first year) but by mutual agreement decided that we can tell and show each other any time we like how we feel and it doesn’t require a special day in order to do so.
Why should we have a day that focuses just on giving of gifts in order to show love. And how many people have taken the time to actually think about the harm caused to the self esteem of those who don’t have that special person in their lives? Or those that do but their ‘special’ person completely forgot to acknowledge the day in the way that society expects.
There are a million ways that say “I love you” without having to go out and buy a dozen red roses that will wilt and die within two days. And how many teddy bears do you need before they become dust collectors? I know I will raise the ire of many women with the following statement but I will say it anyway – you don’t need the extra chocolate either. 😛 (Just kidding. Chocolate is a food group on its own as we are all aware). Also, I am not so stupid as to believe that many of these Valentine’s gifts are given with no strings attached. After all, you don’t give sexy lingerie if you don’t expect to see it modelled. 😉
Now that the Tween is getting older, she is taking notice of Valentine’s Day. We spend much of our time telling her she is special and doesn’t need to receive anything from anyone on this day. Her school (as a fundraiser) takes orders for chocolate roses that are then delivered to the classrooms of students on the day. She was going to order half a dozen for herself lol but didn’t go through with it. She received one but quickly tracked down who had sent it – one of her friends. She hastened to explain that although it was a boy he was ‘just a mate’ and he had also sent one to her best friend. Another friend of hers gave her a little basket filled with flowers and notes. On each note was listed something her friend admired about her.
What I thought was especially great was that every student in her school (about 1600 students) received a little card and chocolate that read “You are Special. There is only one of you in the entire universe”.
I am pleased that the gifts she received had no emphasis on love but rather on acknowledging her as an individual.
At home, the GG and I exchanged cards (he said he loved the card I had made). It isn’t the cards that mean much but the words written inside. The GG also gave the Tween a card and enclosed a whoopie cushion inside it. He picked some flowers from our garden and bought them inside. We spent the evening with the middle child, his wife and her sister eating spaghetti bolognese and watching DVDs. It was an ordinary day and one that we can choose to replicate any other day of the year that we wish to.
The point I make is that each and every day that we live on this earth is a time of celebration. Each and every person we meet is special and worthy of love. We don’t need to set aside one day each year to prove to someone just how special they are. Although I jokingly commented on one of my friend’s blogs “Nothing says ‘I love you’ like doing the dishes”, it’s true. My middle child has just left us. I am not feeling the greatest with my head and there were dishes all over the sink. The GG told me not to worry about it and went in the kitchen and washed up. That’s worth more to me than a floral bouquet or box of chocolates.
Why do we need to spend millions of dollars on one day each year to prove our love when we can show love every day by doing and saying little things? Surely society would be a much better place in which to reside if we did.
Who does Valentine’s Day really profit?