Valentines day can feel like a dumb Hallmark holiday that was invented to encourage consumerism and make single folks feel left out. And there's nothing fun or romantic about any of that! But it doesn't have to be viewed that way. I've always seen Valentine's day differently, and it has become one of my favorite holidays. Here's why:
1. It's wasn't invented by Hallmark
Yes, Valentine's day can feel like it's all about buying candy, cards, and useless junk for people. And it has turned into that, unfortunately- but that's not how it got started. Valentine's day actually comes from the story of the real St. Valentine. There are a few different takes on how St. Valentine's life led to our current Valentine's day traditions. One story says that long ago, a Roman emperor banned the marriage of soldiers because he believed that they would fight more bravely if they didn't have families. St. Valentine married soldiers in secret, so he became known as a friend to lovers. When he was caught and imprisoned, he cured the jailer's daughter of her blindness, and slipped her a note signed "your Valentine". It is also said that he was beloved by children, who were so sad when he was imprisoned that they tossed flowers and notes of love down to him through the bars of his prison cell. He was executed on February 14th. He is now the patron saint of lovers, married people, and young people.
2. It's not just about romantic love
The tradition of Valentine cards was started by children passing notes to and from St. Valentine, and had nothing to do with romantic love. Valentine's day is a chance to show your love and appreciation for your friends and family, not just your significant other. I grew up giving handmade Valentines to all my friends and family members, and that's what made the holiday fun for me. And it's always fun to receive Valentines and treats from friends and family, too, not just from an SO. Even if you're single, Valentine's day is a chance to give and receive love and appreciation, which always feels good. So take this opportunity to bond with the people you care about and bring on the warm fuzzy feelings.
3. It's an excuse for fun stuff
Crafts? Treats? Sneaky plots for slipping cards into your friends' backpacks without them noticing? Yes please! Valentine's day is an excuse to be a kid again, and to indulge in things that are fun, cute, silly, or a little frivolous just because it feels good. That's why I go all out- handmade cards, chocolate covered strawberries, cookies or cupcakes, and decorations. It's an excuse to get crafty in a way you may not have done since you were a kid, and that in itself is a fun and emotionally healthy process. Plus, a handmade card will seem all the more special to your loved ones. And who can say no to an adorable homemade treat?
4. Love is worth celebrating
There are many kinds of love: love for a parent, love for a child, love for a cousin, grandparent, friend, or significant other. Every single one of those loves is precious and worthy of appreciation. A holiday isn't necessary for that, and Valentine's day isn't the only time when you should be showing your appreciation for your loved ones. But a holiday devoted specifically to showing your love gives you an excuse to go all out in fun ways. And love is the most precious precious gift of all- why not devote a day to celebrate it?