Today is Valentine’s Day. The day when we give cards with preprinted, poetic messages, foil-wrapped chocolate, and plastic-encased bouquets to our loved ones.
To some, it’s a bit nauseating. Especially to the people who don’t have a special “valentine” on this fourteenth day of February.
However, I must say that I love the history of the tradition. It’s easy to imagine that the card industry “made up” Valentine’s Day to sell (one billion) more cards, but there is in fact real, saintly history behind it. But like every other holiday, it’s been highjacked by capitalism.
Make It Personal
While some people decide not to commemorate Valentine’s Day because of the various issues is raises, I think there are ways to reclaim Valentine’s Day from the card and candy industries:
- Restore the tradition of exchanging handmade valentines with your family and friends. Write a little note that is just right for each person, rather than letting a copywriter write it for you.
- Make unique treats with love and give them to your friends. Homemade bonbons sound good right now. Feel free to drop some off at my house. :)
- Give your valentine an experience. My husband and I don’t exchange gifts for Valentine’s, but we did go out for a cozy dinner last night. (We like to avoid the crowds.)
Spread the Love
Valentine’s becomes even more fun and meaningful when we start spreading love and kindness to people beyond our inner circle.
Yesterday, I witnessed this as I ventured downstairs to the main floor of the student union at Luther College to pick up some sushi for lunch. Several students were passing out red and pink carnations, with a card and a Hershey’s kiss attached, to passersbys. One woman received a flower and said, “for me?”
“Yes!” exclaimed the students, so full of excitement they were about to burst. “They’re random acts of kindness!”
The woman smiled and walked off with her flower. Throughout the day, I saw many, many students walking around with flowers. It made me happy.
While we should practice random acts of kindness all year long, this week is Random Acts of Kindness Week (or RAKWeek2015). It’s a great reminder to spread kindness—on social media, at work, at home, to random strangers, and to yourself!
Watch this awesome video to learn more:
I think it’s beautiful to celebrate love between parents, children, grandparents, brothers, sisters, partners, and friends. Let’s not let the commercialism of the holiday ruin it for us. Rather, let’s reclaim it and make it our own!