Ah Valentine’s Day, the mercifully timed holiday to break up the dark dreary winter months. It is a holiday filled with red & pink hearts, candy and flowers. It is also a holiday rife with the opportunity to make people feel sad or hurt. Its ability to singe is utterly democratic. Children don’t receive enough classroom cards, teenagers don’t receive carnations or cupcakes at school, and grown people find themselves questioning (or despairing over) their relationship status. Of course there are many who receive the flowers, candy, jewelry, attention and are greatly relieved. Overall, a lot of people spend February 14th unconsciously holding their breath.
It would be easy (and sane) to cite the fact that Valentine’s Day is an enormous economic creation for the greeting card, flower, restaurant, and candy business. We could bah humbug our way through, mumbling mood bolstering ‘commercialism’ and ‘suckers’ affirmations. But what if we tackled it from the other end? What if instead of risking disappointment we went back to our construction paper roots? Remember the days of safety scissors and oak tag? There was a delicious pride in creating a reasonably shaped heart. Colored tissue and white paper doilies were used in excess; the results often resembling a powder room gone wrong. The creation(s) were steeped with love (and spilled glue) as they were most likely made for a parent or grandparent. There was an unbridled anticipation that caused many child to thrust the (slightly sweaty) valentine into the recipient’s hand before the 14th. The adult would coo and swoon and the child would feel five feet tall. It wasn’t until later in the week or childhood, that Valentine expectation and disappointment were introduced.
So let’s all take a collective leap back in time. Let’s spend this next week creating something for others. Gifts of homemade baked goods are always divine, but they’re not everyone’s bailiwick. Perhaps there’s an old photo you could frame? Maybe you have a favorite poem you could write on a beautiful piece of stationery (with proper citation of course.) Is there a friend (or acquaintance) who could use a respite? Bringing them coffee, taking them out, or watching their child/loved one is a wonderful gift. If you are one of those lucky creative types, break out the glitter (it’s not just for Saturday night you know) and make some gorgeous bespoke cards.
Yes, it is positively dreamy to receive lovely gifts that make us feel understood and appreciated. Who doesn’t want to be swept up in a sea of romance and a soaring soundtrack? Love is one of the greatest gifts of life. Whether we are the recipient or the giver (or ideally both) love simply makes sense of life. Acts of love make life fun. So make someone happy this Valentine’s Day, and you will be happy too.
*”Make someone happy, make just one someone happy, and you will be happy, too.” Jule Styne (1960)