Around this time of year, people spend a lot of time exercising their cynicism muscle about how much they hate the crass excuse for commercialism that Valentines Day has become and how they don’t need a special day to show their loved ones how much they love them, because they do that stuff EVERY DAY. Their lives are all roses, chocolates and champagne 24/7 so on Valentines Day they take a break.
Well, to all those people I say a big fat PFFFFT.
To be fair this year so far I have also loved Burns Night, Super Bowl Sunday, Chinese New Year and Shrove Tuesday. None of which I have any reason to celebrate, not being Scottish, an NFL fan, Chinese or religious. Why, then, when there is a holiday celebrating LOVE, which is a beautiful and amazing thing, would I turn up my nose and insist of staying home in my resolutely non pink or red house and not drink discounted supermarket Champagne?
I have, over the years, thought long (well, maybe mid-length) and hard(ish) about why it is that people get so irate about Valentines Day when they’ll let Halloween pass with a simple shrug and immerse themselves in Christmas commercialism with a delighted squeal a flurry of glitter and an Egg Nog Latte. I can only assume that it’s the association with personal relationships and love that’s the issue. Valentines Day comes all packaged up with a perfect opportunity to make us feel inadequate about something very personal. Our romantic relationships, or our lack of them.
One of the reasons I have never hated Valentines Day, even when I’ve been single, is that I’ve never really seen it as a celebration of one single relationship in my life. Even when things have been at their darkest there have always been people who loved me and I loved back. I’m lucky enough to have a supportive and loving family. I have old friends who’ve stuck with me through thick and thin. I have new friends and team mates that I love dearly and are there to offer support when I’ve needed it. They’re all different types of love and they all have a place in making my life rich and fulfilling.
I also love how British people cheer when someone drops a glass in a pub, playing Roller Derby, red lipstick, stupid shoes I can’t walk in and any number of other things. Love is a warm and fuzzy feeling that we’re lucky to have and it’s worth celebrating.
Yes, I’ll often spend Valentines Day doing something involving fizzy wine with my husband. This is because we like both fizzy wine and excuses to celebrate, but it’s not the only way to celebrate Valentines Day. Send messages to people who you aren’t in contact with often. If you feel that you have more than enough love in your life, thank you very much, then how about using Valentines Day to help those that don’t? Donate some money to the Samaritans, sign up as a visitor in a Care Home or with Age UK, donate your time to work in a local soup kitchen or buy that big box of chocolates for everyone at work. (A Rose in Bloom has some wonderful suggestions on how to celebrate Valentines Day if you secretly hate it)
This year Hotel Chocolat gave me the opportunity to pick my own Blogger Secret Valentine and let another Blogger know that I loved their blog. Which meant that CiCi Marie got a big box of chocolates to let her know that I appreciate another blogger with a fondness for berets and dressing up. To me this was a perfect thing for Valentines Day. It’s about letting other people in your life know that they matter, especially those that might not already know.
Whether you love your cat, next door neighbour, pizza, or your favourite blogger, Valentines Day is the day you’re allowed to let them know. (If it’s pizza, maybe you can send a Valentines card to your local Dominos)
Only you can let all that relentless soppy marketing and romantic pressure get to you. Take what you want from Valentines Day and leave the roses and champagne behind and just remember Retro Chick loves you, even if you are a big old Valentines Day hating grouch. 😉