Years ago, I was in the backseat of a car that my roommate was driving. It must have been a few days after Valentine’s Day because his girlfriend in the front turned back and laughingly blamed me for the fact that she didn’t get a Valentine’s Day present. Confused, I quickly asked my friend why he dropped the ball on the holiest of relationship holidays. He answered by reminding me that I had said roses and chocolate were a terrible gift.
It’s true. Unless delivered with skilled ironic panache, roses and chocolate are a terrible gift. And though I would never suggest giving nothing instead, it may have been my fault to underestimate my friend’s abilities as a non-gifter. After all, this was the guy who just minutes later sarcastically joked the two would get married when the lump of coal he buried in the backyard had turned to diamond. Luckily for him, his girlfriend adored an unyielding charm that could even save a gift-less Valentine’s Day.
Having answered advice questions for years since, it’s been inevitable that I get several inquiries about February 14th in the weeks leading to this often dreaded day. Most frequently one half of a couple will write to complain about the other’s disinterest in what has been conveniently dubbed by the hesitant participators as “a Hallmark holiday.”
The truth is, many of our holidays have a questionable history and purpose. Quickly surveying our countries most popular we can see they include a declaration of independence that predates the actual war, a pagan harvest ritual used as an excuse to dress like sexy cats, and the celebration of a rabbit that hides chicken eggs. We round these off with the remembrance of a dinner whose historical irony is thicker than turkey gravy and the birthday of a man so great, we can’t even get the day correct. In comparison, a holiday invented by a company to spread love and sell greeting cards sounds pretty legit to me.
As my dad used to say, sometimes you have to know when to go to the mat. There are countless causes in this world that are worth taking a stand against, but Valentine’s Day isn’t one of them. So get into it. It’s one day of the year put aside to remind ourselves about those we love, and those who love us. An idea that not only could save the world, but also makes a lot more sense than a rabbit hiding chicken eggs – and you don’t even have to purchase a greeting card to do it.