Valentine’s Day seems to be the most hated holiday, which is ironic considering the premise of the celebration is love, the antithesis of hate. It has been criticized for being too mainstream, commercial, insincere, the list is endless. I suppose I am in the minority, but I absolutely love, love, love Valentine’s Day. I always have, and hopefully always will.
Some of my most cherished traditions stem from this seemingly-mainstream holiday. I plead that none of them are anything of the sort.
1 – Each year in high school, my best friend Kristen and I would invade the local scrapbooking store, scouring the place for the most festive and least cheesy papers. Spreading out on the floor at home, we put in a disk of the OC, devoured an entire homemade pizza (to be followed by a pint of Ben & Jerry’s later) and made homemade Valentine’s for each and every one of our loved ones. It took hours upon hours, but was completely worth it. Although our friendship has faded since, I continue the tradition and think fondly of our times while doing so.
2 – For as long as I can remember, my dad would bring home flowers for each of his ladies on Valentine’s Day. Two single red roses for my sister and I, and usually a bouquet for mom.
3 – We have an annual Valentine’s Day meal comprised of themed food. The first course is raspberry soup served with a dollop of sour cream, hands-down my favorite food on this planet (probably largely due to the fact that I am only allotted a bowl a year, but also because it is true perfection). It is followed by a modge podge of carefully prepared dishes: caprese salad, red pepper salad with pine nuts, filet mignon, heart-shaped pasta or ravioli depending on the year and heart-shaped breadsticks. Surprisingly, we have room for dessert: heart-shaped red jello-like figures topped with chocolate raspberry Godiva ice cream.
Valentine’s Day may be an excuse for girls to cry, people to feel alone and Hallmark to earn a pretty penny, but perhaps that is due to the misinterpretation of the holiday and what it stands for. It stands for love, not high expectations and self-pity. It is an opportunity to share a token of your appreciation, an opportunity to express yourself and an opportunity to act how you should all other days of the year. The challenge of Valentine’s Day should not be to abstain from weeping uncontrollably to Adele’s “Someone Like You,” but rather to find the perfect way to celebrate all types of love in your life. It needn’t be expensive, corny or forced (although it may be). The best gifts are unique, sentimental and sweet (both metaphorically and literally). I love Valentine’s Day, love and even those corny candy hearts. And I will never be afraid to admit it.