The retail frenzy started again. As soon as the Christmas store decorations were down, out came the Valentine’s Day decorations. At the beginning of January! It seems that as the years pass, all the holidays start running into each other. The consumer is bombarded with pressure from all media outlets–television, newspaper, computer and radio. Spend big on your loved one or they will think you don’t care!
I spoke to my husband about this phenomenon that I have watched grow with intensity in the years that we have been together. At first, we, like most everyone else, bought the cards, found gifts, wrapped them, exchanged them, went out for the expensive dinner with wine and chocolates. But it just left us feeling cold. Just like a kid whose mom makes him dress up in a little suit and tie to go to church, when he doesn’t want to go at all. We felt that we were just going through the motions, doing the Valentine’s dance because that’s what the media told us to do, and that’s what everyone else was doing. Besides, if we didn’t celebrate, that would mean we don’t really care for each other, right?
Wrong! As time has passed, I have learned how very wrong that assumption is. The media outlets spoon feed all this mumbo jumbo to us so much, and so often, that eventually we don’t fight it, and just accept it. We join in, in the competiveness to brag after the holiday, of who had the most romantic dinner, and who received the most expensive jewelry. We are robots here, people. Sheep following the sheep herder. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am always up for romance and all things sentimental and sweet. But my point is that, we have 364 other days when we can celebrate this under the radar, and we have no expectations to live up to. We can wine and dine to our heart’s content, even if it is a picnic at the park, or a quickie dinner at Taco Bell.
The way that my husband and I celebrate Valentine’s Day now, is by officially not celebrating it, and doing nothing! We may exchange cards, but if we do, they are more likely e-cards. We ignore the media, don’t go out to dinner, don’t exchange gifts. Instead, we stay home, and do what we like to do best. Relax, spend time outside, play with our pets, or maybe watch a movie. We may pick each other a flower from our early blooming flower bulbs. No money exchanges hands, no wrapping paper falls to the floor. And it is still sublime bliss. The media has us believe that if we don’t get out there and find that perfect gift, and spend that money, that we are the low lifes of the earth. But that is just the fuel that fans the flames of consumerism. It is all based on competition, being the best, one-upmanship, and so on. The simple solution is to drop out of the race, and then instead of being the loser, you automatically win! The freedom of choice is quite empowering.
So just remember when this Valentine’s Day rolls around, there can be a lot of joy in doing nothing for this holiday. Show this article to your sweetie and see what she/he thinks. They may just think it is a pretty wonderful idea! Love can’t be bought. But it certainly can be celebrated with a hand-written note, a drawing, a long nap, a picnic in your living room, or a steamy bubble bath! And the beauty is, the media never has to know that you bucked the system! So go ahead, celebrate Valentine’s Day on your terms, and live it up. There is a lot of joy in simply doing nothing for Valentine’s Day!