by Stefanie Michaels
Valentine’s Day. Some of us embrace it, others complain about it, and some singles dread even the thought of February 14th. At any point, we’re in a time of so many differences, that the ideal Valentine’s Day scenarios should be rethought and made more inclusive.
It’s not like I am the only one with this thought of a whole new meaning for Valentine’s Day. For the past several days, Twitter has been all a flutter about this holiday.
It’s become Hallmark Greeting Card Company’s readymade holiday. It’s not that Hallmark came up with it at all, they just aggrandized it.
Valentine’s Day has been around for centuries. There are several details from the story of St. Valentine–the patron saint of love, which are shrouded in mystery. Throughout history there has even been more than one St. Valentine, so cupid’s head must be spinning trying to figure it all out!
What we do know is that in certain traditions around the world, February is celebrated as the romance month.
What has happened over time, is the marketing of the holiday, none of us can escape from. You simply can’t walk into a CVS Pharmacy without being bombarded by fluffy teddy bears and boxed hearts of pink and red at the ends of each aisle.
We’ve been trained in the USA as kids to bring everyone starting in first grade a Valentine Day card. Each year, Mom heads to Michael’s Crafts to get those cheesy boxes of 120 count kids cards that say things like, “Be my friend” or “Hey there Love Bug”.
When you’re that age, there’s really no pressure to be in a relationship. Just spreading the love and friendships. It’s all innocent and cute, and a nice gesture if you take away the marketing of it.
After all, everyday should be like this.
As we grew, those without significant others felt left out of the holiday. I never really did, because my group of friends were always inclusive, and we had a large supportive group. If it was Valentine’s Day, great, we’d all head over to Pizza Hut and share some slices. Those who were dating each other exchanged special things, but we all got roses and we all made sure everyone had something special to take home, so they would know they were loved.
And, that’s just it. Knowing you are loved and cared for by family and friends, is what is most important. (You don’t need a significant other if you are surrounded by those who care).
I am married now, but we don’t celebrate in a traditional manner. We don’t go to dinner and we don’t exchange gifts. We get to do that on every other day of the year, which we do. We’ve learned that everything for the day is over-inflated, a rip-off and we just don’t want to partake in making others not in relationships feel alienated in any way. If it happens to fall on a weekend, we invite our friends out with us somewhere cheap and easy. No fuss to be made. Just spending time with friends.
SO, with that, I want to reposition Valentine’s as a “love” holiday, not a “lovers” holiday. I don’t want those not in a relationship to feel bad about it, if they all ready do. I don’t want anyone to feel like this is an inclusive day just for lovers.
After all, there are all kinds of love and it should be for all kinds of love.
Let’s cheers to the day of “gestures of amore”– send a card to someone you’ve been thinking about, donate your time to a charity or a soup kitchen, visit your parents or siblings, or get together with friends and perhaps start a new tradition of a pot-luck party at someone’s place.
In the end, if the holiday is there to use us with all its expenses and marketing, we certainly can turn it into something monumental for ourselves and loved ones, by celebrating it and by thinking outside the box.
It’s all about coming together with those we love and celebrating together!
Stefanie Michaels, aka ‘Adventure Girl’, spends more than 180 days a year on the road seeking out great spots for adventures, dining, shopping, hotels and more. Dubbed “America’s Sweetheart” by Vanity Fair Magazine for being one of Twitter’s first icon’s to reach over 1 million followers, her fans continue to grow across all of her digital media platforms. Follow her @adventuregirl as she shares photos, updates and more.