One thing I have learned over the years: there are two extremes. You can be on Team “Valentine” or on Team “It’s a Hallmark Holiday” and anywhere in between. I happen float in between these two extremes depending on my season of life. There have been times where I can do all the things like plan a romantic dinner or buy special gifts. Then there are other times where the only celebration was me buying small Valentine cards for my kids’ classroom. If I was lucky to remember!
Valentine’s Day is rooted in both Christian and Roman historical significance. The Catholic Church alone has three separate and distinct Saint Valentines and each has their own religious significance. There is also some discussion about Valentine’s Day having its roots in the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. This is a day dedicated to a fertility festival dedicated to a Roman god, Faunus.
While the exchange of hand made valentines may have started as far back as the Middle Ages, Americans did not jump on this band wagon until the early 1700s. Ester Howland, aka Mother of the Valentine, started selling the first mass-produced valentine’s greeting. Today, it is estimated that Americans send over 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards! You can read more about the historical and religious origins of Valentine’s Day here.
As February begins, I come to the realization that its about time I put up a few Valentine’s decorations. When I say a few, I mean a few. With the exception of Christmas and Halloween, I like to keep any seasonal or holiday decor to a minimum. First, it’s great for my wallet. Second, who has time for intense decorating? Third, I don’t think anyone in my family would notice the decor one way or another. It adds a pop of color and it’s a temporary change from the usual decor.
I have a bundle of fake roses that sit inside a cute metal pot. I have a free printable I found online a few years ago and I have some hand towels that were an impulse buy on a shopping trip to one of those home stores. The decor I love the most is a hand made wall decor piece that spells out the word ‘Love’ of course!
Beyond the Decor and the Cards
To me, the quintessential importance of Valentine’s Day is not about the decor or the cards. It is not about the heart shaped boxes of chocolates or the fuzzy stuffed animals. Nope. Not at all. It’s about taking the time to tell those around us how much they mean to us.
How can you do this? Simple. Spend nothing but time and attention. I remember one year, I went all out. I ordered fancy chocolate covered strawberries for each of my siblings, my parents, and my own family. Admittedly, it cost a pretty penny. When they came in, they were a big disappointment. I should have guessed that ordering these during such a busy season would not be a good idea. The strawberries were well passed their prime and it showed.
The next year, my daughter asked to make the same chocolate covered strawberries at home. That’s when it hit me. Its not about the items, cards and heart shaped stuff. It’s about taking time out of your day to tell your loved ones that they are just that. Loved.
This year, I encourage you to give it a try. Tell your family how much you love and appreciate them. Tell them why. Spend time with them doing things that are fun and making memories. These are the things that will last forever. This is my case for Valentine’s Day….