Valentine’s Day: Heartburn or Heartfelt?

It’s February 1st, which in my book, means it’s time to start thinking about Valentine’s Day. As much as I love the holidays, it’s not much fun anticipating the next one until I’ve wrapped up the previous one…which is another way to say, that by January 31st, I’ve finally managed to put away all the Christmas decorations and do any returns.

Mention Valentine’s Day and you are likely to get a strong reaction. At one end of the spectrum, you have people who whole-heartedly embrace the idea of a designated day to remember their loved ones, romantic or otherwise. These folks are delighted to send or receive chocolates and roses and are happy to spend more on greeting cards than they would at any other time of year, except perhaps Christmas.

Then there are those folks who are outraged that a holiday “supposedly” about love is merely an excuse for the greeting card/candy/flower industries to sell us more “stuff.” These people inevitably cite some ugly stuffed animal, usually a frog, packaged with some cheap chocolates as an example of why they dread February 14th.

As for me, I think both camps have some elements of truth. In this crazy busy world where most people are trying to figure out how to balance work/family/friends/fitness/fun/service, I think it’s a lovely idea to have a day that reminds us to remember the most important things in our lives—the people we love. On the other hand, I think it’s crazy to pay three times the price for Valentines flowers that won’t last three times as long, and many of those stuffed animals are just plain wrong.

In that spirit, my approach to Valentine’s Day is to remember the people I love most, but to do so in a way that is meaningful and thoughtful. Shifting your perspective from “Ugh. I have to get something” to “What could I do that would delight my loved one?” reframes the activity completely. No longer is Valentine’s Day a chore, but rather an opportunity to make someone special to you smile.

Though there are tons of tacky heart-festooned gifts lining the aisles of every major retailer, it doesn’t mean you have to purchase those items. Think about YOUR special sweeties and what would make them smile. Now you have 13 days to do it! ☺

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