I have mixed emotions about Valentine’s Day. On the one hand, I love doing a little something special for my husband and children on February 14th. On the other hand, I’m repulsed by the over-commercialization and pressure to overspend on a holiday that should have nothing to do with buying expensive jewelry.
My friend Robert from Untitled Minimalism absolutely nailed it in his post The Secret to Experience Gifts, Valentine’s Edition.
In his post, Robert explains the goal of all gift giving perfectly. As Robert suggests, we all want to present a gift that will create a memory for the recipient. I laughed out loud reading about Robert’s comparison to giving a teddy bear as a gift versus dressing up as a teddy bear and singing “Teddy Bear” by Elvis.
Then I sat back and thought to myself, “He’s absolutely right.”
Valentine’s Day not about the money spent or purchasing the right gift. It’s about creating a lasting memory for the recipient.
And by memory, I don’t mean another piece of expensive jewelry to hang onto. I’m talking about creating the type of moment that causes us to look back and smile.
Obviously this kind of gift isn’t always possible. We can’t control what others will choose to remember fondly and what will pass through their minds as another insignificant event in the course of the minutes and hours that make up their lives.
But I know this: we won’t be able to concentrate on trying to show those most important in our lives how much we love them if we’re buckling to the pressure to also show our Valentine’s love to ALL of the people that touch our lives.
When did a day designated to showing a significant other that you value them turn into a crazed consumption frenzy?
This past week I volunteered to help with my second grade son’s Valentine’s Day party at school. The kids had a wonderful time and my son was thrilled to bring home his candy-laden Valentines from all of his classmates.
When did the pressure to start including candy with a Valentine’s Day card begin?
Back when I was my son’s age, I remember receiving one piece of candy with a Valentine’s Day card from a classmate. I remember it so clearly because it only happened one time!
During my time in grade school, it was never expected that exchanging Valentines with classmates would mean purchasing and distributing candy. In fact, the part I was most excited about was reading the little message from each of my classmates.
My son not only received candy with 90% of his Valentines, but he also received games and even a gift certificate for a free donut.
I’m not saying it’s terrible that my son received (and gave) candy and other gifts with his Valentines. But I think it’s clear that candy companies have successfully invaded a holiday that everyone knows was previously owned by the card industry. 😉
Seriously, though, if we continue to allow the commercialization of every holiday to invade our lives and the extent to which we can enjoy these special times, we have failed.
This year, I challenge you to try to reclaim some of the real meaning of Valentine’s Day.
No matter how you decide to celebrate this Vanentine’s Day, just remember that YOU decide the best way to express love to those in your lives — not the candy, jewelry, florists and card companies. After all, they don’t know your loved ones. You do!
Happy Valentine’s Day.