Spoiler Alert: If you aren’t sure whether you love or hate Valentine’s Day, know that you aren’t alone. I feel like the expectations of the day can simply never be met with a box of chocolates, a dozen roses (or even two), or a night out on the town. This is why I think that it’s so difficult to find a perfect Valentines gift. After giving this a lot of thought, I’ve come up with one way to make sure that you are finding and giving the perfect Valentines gift.
I admit it. I am the original Valentine’s Day Grinch – I think finding a perfect Valentines gift is awkward.
And that’s being generous.
How can we possibly wrap love, memories, and emotions up in a box on one day of the year?
What if I wake up crabby that morning? Have I ruined it already?
And I’m talking about affordable. Because…if you want to take me to Paris, that’s pretty surely the perfect gift – no questions asked.
Otherwise, we’re putting a lot of pressure on this poor little ole’ gift. I’m not sure it’s possible for a gift to represent the depths of our feelings for our loved ones.
I know what you’re thinking…I’m probably alone, bitter, and lonely. I live with too many cats and could technically be called a hoarder maybe with some sort of diagnosable neurosis. But that really couldn’t be further from the truth (ok, the neurosis part could be debated…)!
Finding a perfect Valentines gift just feels impossible sometimes! But here’s how to transform it into what it should be!
What Is Valentine’s Day Anyway?
I think another part of what makes finding a perfect Valentines gift difficult is that we all know Valentine’s is a holiday created by big business.
Did it even start with anything genuine?
So I looked into this. It turns out, not so much. At least not anything that we would genuinely want to celebrate.
From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain. (Frankly – you could probably just stop reading now. The romance is dead for you, am I correct? But if you must, carry on…)
The Roman romantics “were drunk. They were naked,” says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.
The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival — or longer, if the match was right. (source)
It went on from there – but I guess that’s as good a place as any to start.
Eventually, the tradition made its way to the New World. The industrial revolution ushered in factory-made cards in the 19th century. And in 1913, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Mo., began mass producing valentines. February has not been the same since.
Today, the holiday is big business…Valentine’s Day sales reached $17.6 billion last year ; this year’s sales are expected to total $18.6 billion. (source)
The commercial nature of the holiday is what has always kept me squarely in conflict.
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The Perfect Valentine’s Gift
What I don’t think is awkward is the love that Valentine’s Day professes to celebrate. Spouses, lovers, partners, and family can all be grateful for the love they share with one another throughout the year. There are wonderful ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your family.
And celebrating with experiences instead of gifts is the way to go. That definitely does not feel awkward – it feels genuine.
Today, my gift to you is the most precious of all gifts – my time and my attention.
This seems in keeping with how precious our loved ones are to us.
Art projects usually top our list – including Valentine’s cards for one another and for the boys’ classmates. We may also give some baking projects a try this year.
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Traditions Are the New Gifts for Valentine’s Day
I’ve decided to share several new traditions with the boys this year and see how we enjoy them. Family Valentine’s traditions help create closeness among family members and can help spread happiness to others.
Our first new tradition will be to make extra Valentine’s cards that we can pass out to people we run into throughout the day! How fun! Can you imagine being the clerk at the store or the mailman who receives a special Valentine? Sharing love and happiness is definitely a worthwhile way to celebrate Valentine’s Day!
Our second new tradition will be to find a nursing home, hospital, soup kitchen, or other charitable organization and bring some pretty homemade Valentine’s cards. I’ve done some searching on the web and found some great cards that look like they will be a lot of fun to make. Since we will be making extras – we will get started soon! Here are some sites with some great card ideas:
Marbled Hearts Valentine’s Cards
Last Minute Heart Valentines: A Melted Crayon Heart Craft
33 Super Cute Kids Valentines for School
Celebrating Love & Devotion on Valentine’s Day
Our love for one another is genuine and organic.
So celebrate love!
Give yourself, your time, and your attention. Be grateful for the loves in your life every single day – not just on February 14. You will all be happier for it. Celebrate love every day of the year!
And make it your mission to spread happiness and love as often as you can.
As the Valentine’s Grinch would discover:
[Valentine’s] came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if [Valentine’s Day], he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if [Valentine’s], perhaps, means a little bit more.”
-Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Showing love and sharing love in genuine ways is never awkward. Easy peasy. And if you also think that Valentine’s Day is stupid – there’s even a facebook group by the same name!
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