Valentine’s Day is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap,” said Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”
Joel hit the meaning of Valentine’s Day right on target. In January, greeting card stores flood half of their shelves with glittery pink and red cards with sayings like, “I Choo– choo–choose you.”
While most people in a relationship or not will not feel too bad on Valentine’s Day if they do not receive a gift or celebrate it, the media creates a message every year that you “should” have a valentine and the two of you will float on a field of daisies and have a picnic (hand-made), while singing “Your Song” by Elton John.
In elementary school, everyone was happy as each kid went around with his or her bag of candy and handed a piece out to everyone in their class. It was like a second Halloween. Sometimes, I would receive more candy on Valentine’s Day than on Halloween. It was a happy day every year as I received a myriad of candy, from Sweet Tarts to Hershey’s Kisses.
Now, I am bombarded by ads from Tiffany’s and other jewelry stores as I open up my New York Times as the days approach to the big day. Whoever said a girl wanted jewelry? Ads have made men think that their girlfriends want diamonds, flowers, or expensive handbags for Valentine’s Day. I want none of that.
I would be much happier to order dinner in and play Guitar hero, or see a live concert in the city, if I must do something. Valentine’s Day should, if celebrated, focus on your significant other’s interests. A shower of cheesy gifts, like a teddy bear (I stopped putting stuffed animals on my bed a long time ago), flowers (which cost too much money for their longevity) and a box of chocolates (with mystery fillings) are not worth the effort.
If you need an excuse to go out on a date with your significant other, then something is wrong with your relationship. Valentine’s Day should be treated as any normal day you’d have a date planned.
Gifts should be saved for birthdays—not fake holidays. A creative date will make it seem less like a holiday and more like a celebration of a relationship (which is the whole point of this day). If you are dating a person, you should know about their interests, thus leaving you many options to plan a date based around a person’s interests. If you are going to claim to celebrate a “holiday” that revolves around love, then show it by personalizing the day for the person that you care about.
If they like art, go to a pottery class together. If they are a movie buff, take them to see an interesting foreign film. A creative gift shows that you know about the person you are dating.
Jewelry does not fit everyone, though stores do not share this belief with ads like “Every Kiss Begins With Kay” and “A Diamond is Forever.” These ads pressure men to buy jewlery because they think it represents the ultimate, seemingly unattainable gift that woma want most. A diamond is nice, but I’d rather have a homemade pizza and beer instead.
Leave your dollied and glitter pink card proclaiming your love back with your memories of first-grade art class.
A random gift or note telling the person what you mean to them on any other day is more sincere than a duck you hand-stuffed at Build-a-Bear (complete with a cheerleader outfit and a matching handbag) with $100 worth of flowers that will die before you pay the bill off your charge card.
Less is always more.