Listening to the radio this morning there were a lot of people calling in voicing their opinions whether Valentine’s Day was simply a cash grab by merchants, in other words a made-up holiday, or whether it was, in fact, a legitimate celebration.
There is a lot of merit to the cash-grab argument, certainly, but this is true of every holiday nowadays. I see parents who are at best agnostic in their beliefs shelling out mountains of cash on chocolate Easter bunnies and egg decorating paraphernalia. The same people embrace Halloween more than Christmas. Then Christmas rolls around, and even bigger bags of money are rolled out, decorations put up, et cetera.
I can offer only my own perspective on Valentine’s Day, given that everyone has understandably different viewpoints on love and relationships:
If you consider our long winters in Canada, and how depressingly cold it can be, isn’t Valentine’s Day a nice way to take a bit of chill out of the air by showing the people for whom you care the most that you don’t take them for granted? Certainly, there is validity in the “you should do that anyway” camp but, that being said, the same again can be said for Christmas and other holidays where gifts are traditionally exchanged.
Think about it: it’s middle of winter and, in Canada at least, our temperatures can get exceedingly cold adding to the overall impression that Hell hath, in fact, frozen over. Add to that the bills you’re still trying to figure out how to pay for from Christmas and in some cases, Halloween, depending on how much you go in for ghouls and goblins. In the near future, you’re also having to consider paying or at least reporting income tax and contributing to your RRSPs. Many of the companies which employ us have year-end considerations and so their employees are putting in extra hours and effort to meet those deadlines as well. So, then, would it not be nice to be on the receiving end of a little extra recognition for your efforts in the form of chocolates, dinner, flowers, candy, or even just a romantic stroll in the park?
At least with Valentine’s it truly is the gesture that counts. One need not spend exorbitant amounts of money to show their favour toward someone, as I proved this year by treating my work friends to little gift bags of candy. It was my way of spreading a little cheer given the low morale in the office since the Christmas season ended.
I would also point out that all the obligation should not be limited to men showing their gratitude to the women in their lives with extravagant expressions of their affection. Both partners in the relationship should also recognize the long hours and hard work their significant others put in toward helping finance and maintain the lifestyles to which you have both become accustomed. This is not to say that you should go out and spend even more money, putting yourselves farther into debt than you had at Christmas, but perhaps a simple “thanks, honey, for putting the garbage out” or “that was an awesome supper, sweetheart” would suffice. All too often it’s those little gestures that get put by the wayside as time passes in relationships which contribute most to resentment and feelings of dissatisfaction in our relationships, which can have tragic consequences later on.
So, put your yourself in the shoes of the other person for a change, and recognize everything it is that they do to make your life enjoyable by showing them a little love on Valentine’s Day.