Valentine’s Day

Ode to Valentine’s Day – Max Harwood”Valentine’s Day is exclusive and it makes people feel lonely.” “It is a shallow Hallmark holiday that just encourages consumerism.”As Valentine’s Day approaches, I’ve been hearing grumbling from heartbroken girls, cynical guys and all kinds of self-righteous idealists. But, for now, let’s get back to the basics.What’s the history behind Valentine’s Day?As legend has it, in the third century C.E. Roman Emperor Claudius II determined that unmarried soldiers were more effective than married ones so he banned marriage in his empire.St. Valentine, a priest at the time, saw this as a profound injustice and an attack on humanity and Christianity. He spent years secretly marrying young couples.Eventually caught, Valentine was stoned and executed for his crimes. While he was in prison awaiting his sentence, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and wrote her a letter signed “Your Valentine,” hence, the tradition of Valentine’s cards.The point is, even if the consumerism of Valentine’s day makes you sick, even if you don’t receive any valentines, there is a reason to take a step back and have a toast to a man who gave his life to bring people together.When most people condemn holidays like Valentine’s Day for consumerism or exclusiveness, they are forgetting two key facts.First: that holidays like Valentine’s Day included have legitimate roots. Sure, Christmas has Santa and Macy’s, but it’s also a celebration of the life of Jesus Christ.Second: that it’s up to you how you want to celebrate any holiday. You don’t have to buy into consumerism. Cupid isn’t holding a gun to your head telling you to buy gifts. If this Valentine’s Day you find yourself alone without a delicious box of nougat-filled chocolates, or you find yourself cringing at the site of a trash bin overflowing with Valen-crap, then don’t take it out on the admirable St. Valentine and all the dreamy romantics. Set a good example. Write a meaningful valentine to someone you care for and remember what Valentine’s Day is really about: love.And to those who have spent a Valentine’s Day alone – I hear ya!Last year, the only valentine I saw all day was one that I made for my mom. But I realize that was just one of many, Valentine’s Days to come, and that its not love’s fault that I am alone.Plus, I bought myself a box of chocolates the next day for half price.All you need is love – Michael FarleyIt’s not that I dislike Valentine’s Day; it’s just that I don’t believe in it, nor do I really understand it.We harp on Christmas for being a consumer-ridden holiday, but fail to acknowledge the big V-Day as perhaps the most consumerized holidays of them all.If you love someone – tell them every day – who needs a special corporate-sponsored holiday for that? It shouldn’t come as a surprise to know that flower sales drastically rise during the Valentine’s Day’s short season by almost 50 percent, and with candy sales increasing tenfold on top of what they already are, finding the perfect and unique gift can be tricky.The amount of pressure placed upon the hapless V-Day shopper is unbearable!It’s worse than Christmas! Birthdays even!It is the mother of all holidays that even attempt to be remotely romantic.It pretty much all boils down to flowers, heart-shaped candies, hugs, kisses, a singing telegram from a pink gorilla, a roll in hay or whatever it is you do or give.So what’s so special about that?What about those hopeless romantics who really want to make an impression on their secret somebody without looking like a complete wash-up – handing them candies and flowers on the same day so they can blend in with the other thousand or so people who have the same box of candies, and the same overpriced carnations?Well, you can do what I would do.Boycott the day entirely and do something special for them on a random day to make them feel even more special than that girl with 50-dozen roses and a box of every kind of chocolates imaginable.Yes, nothing says “I love you” quite like a box of candies, flowers and a singing telegram from a pink gorilla the day BEFORE Valentine’s Day.You will look clever, unique, obviously not forgetful, and to top it all off, while every other Valentine’s couple will be lugging their cache of gifts around with them throughout the big day, your hands will be free to hold the hands of your special someone.But why not make someone feel special on those random days nowhere near any holidays, because we all could all use a little love every day of the year.