Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Ug, Valentine's Day

We're not big on holidays in our house. Birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day ... with a few exceptions, we just don't do anything special.

I remember when the girls were still babies, we both decided that we wouldn't celebrate Mother's Day or Father's Day except to wish the other party the appropriate salutation. I recall we made this decision after witnessing the extraordinary amounts of money women were encouraged to spend on fancy-dancy grills "for dad."

Anyway, one of the holidays we're most sour on is Valentine's Day. Well, maybe "sour" is too strong a word. Disenchanted, perhaps? Whatever the term, we don't like the commercialization surrounding it.

On my part, I also don't like the expectations behind the holiday. I don't like the sentiment in which a man thinks he can overcome a year's worth of selfishness and petty complaints by popping for flowers on one particular day.Nor do I like the sentiment that a woman can ignore all efforts her man puts into pleasing her all year long, but sulks if she doesn't get roses on the Big Day.

Two years ago, when Older Daughter was still living in her apartment, she emailed this observation (I want to emphasize she sent the email at 3:35 pm on Valentine's Day): "I just want to express how funny it is that I've gone to two grocery stores today and they're packed to the gills with men. Man after man after man, clutching a dozen roses and a box of chocolates." Most of them, apparently, wore a "deer in the headlights" expression.

One year Don was working in the shop when he realized (from radio commercials for useless holiday-themed junk) that it was Valentine's Day. So he took a stick and sanded it smooth, then made a flower with petals cut from old paper dust masks and leaves cut from an old sanding belt. He affixed the leaves and petals to the stick and presented it to me as a mock gift.

I absolutely stinkin' LOVED that makeshift present. I displayed it with pride in a dry vase next to my desk for years, dusting it off occasionally. The flower got displaced during our move three years ago, but I still have it. This, to me, was truly a gift from the heart.

So this year, as always, we'll celebrate Valentine's Day by doing what we always do: Nothing. We'll express our love and affection for each other by everyday actions. I'll make Don's morning coffee, as I always do. He'll thank me, as he always does. And the day will build from there.

I can think of no finer way to celebrate.


  1. Perfectly summed up Patrice. We feel the same. Treat each other with love and respect each day and you don't need anything else.

  2. Doing what you do every day is not celebrating, though. If this works for you, great, but I enjoy holidays.

    1. Oh Krab, I do so love you.
      Our family does and did what many here do. Holidays have become too commercialized, it's true. But my grandparents loved to celebrate. They had such contagious joy finding ways to bring out the the best meaning of occasions. Somehow we lost that when we lost them, instead of learning their gift. Celebrations don't have to succomb to advertising. But it's good to take every opportunity, every reminder, to celebrate love.
      And the best gifts are often home made.

  3. We go to the Chinese diner in town after our massages every other Wednesday. It just so happens that our appt is tomorrow, so I told honey that this is not and never was planned to be a Valentine's Day dinner but just our regular bi weekly treat to ourselves and he said oh you mean just our regular 'I love you and want to spend time with you eating what we both like to eat and then going home with leftovers and enjoying the evening in each others company like we always do' dinner. I said yes and he said cool. you can get it to go if you want to, I said sure! I usually get my massage first and he second since he has more problems than I do and she frequently runs over with him. But it helps his condition and that is all that matters, plus it keeps me able to function which is good too.

  4. My kids and their families are coming to my house for a supper of appetizers. They will bring a contribution. Just family and visiting and no crowds. We don't even exchange cards but just enjoy finger foods and each other. Win!

  5. My dear husband is receiving a heartfelt gift from me. He’s getting two books on how to trap animals. He used to trap when he was a teenager, but that was a long time ago. I got him some traps for Fathers’ Day last year. That’s how we do romance. Oh! We’re having loaded baked potatoes for supper. We love loaded potatoes.

  6. I agree with you 100%. Valentine's Day is also our anniversary (31 yrs, this year). We also do not celebrate it with flowers, cards, candy or a special dinner out. We do, however; choose to go out on the night of the 13th- restaurants are very slow this night and we get to enjoy a nice, quiet meal together at a decent price.

  7. Reminds me of the ways I celebrate with my husband. everynight he washes his work clothes and every morning I dry them and lay them out for the next day. He always responds "thank you for laying out my clothes" No flowers our candy needed to show love.

  8. My wife and I stopped celebrating way back in our early 20's. The main reason at the time was because we were poor and the day after meant HALF PRICE CHOCOLATE! Now (in our 60's) we just have daily affirmation of our love and life together, and occasional small gifts throughout the year. And sometimes...HALF PRICE CHOCOLATE!

  9. I love the story about the "rose" Don made for you. Now I'm envisioning a similar story in your next romance! Not exactly the same, of course, but a gift made from everyday materials.

  10. Hallelujah! Sensible women about this over commercialized fake holiday! I would make up "Valentine" days during the year, I would buy her flowers for no reason. I would peruse the cards and find one mushy and such and give it to her whenever. Leave notes saying she did a good job on the garden or a project all year.

  11. We are in complete agreement here 😂

  12. Any holiday can be bastardized with commercialization. The sane thing to do is not succumb to it. It originated as a Christian feast day honoring St. Valentine, who was executed on February 14 by Roman Emperor Claudius II in the 3rd century AD.The Catholic Church established St. Valentine's Day to honor him. That has nothing to do with chocolate, flowers, expensive gifts, or Ferraris. Simply do something in the name of love-including visiting an old folks home.

  13. We do not celebrate Valentine's Day either. For good reason.
    On two different Valentine's days my husband was let go from jobs.
    One Valentine's Day our hot water heater
    exploded and took out our ceiling.
    Some genius installed it in the attic.
    One year later,on Valentine's Day the new hot water replacement blew up and took out the ceiling again.
    I have lost a close friend as well.
    I just hide in the house and white knuckle it till the 15th!!!

  14. I DESPISE Valentine’s Day. It started when I was young and commonly told no man would ever want me.

    Watching a close family friend suffer through being left a single father by his wife— not because he wasn’t helpful or considerate but because he wasn’t good at grandiose gestures— I see I wasn’t wrong.

    American culture is sick and getting sicker. Keep living your quiet lives.