HEAD COPY EDITOR
Whether it is a clever costume for Halloween or the perfect set of presents for Hannukah, I love celebrating holidays to their fullest extent; Valentine’s Day is no exception. Whether I am with someone or not, I love to spread the love on Valentine’s Day. There are very few times when it is appropriate to bake heart-shaped sugar cookies and pass them out to all of your friends or dress up in all red with sparkling, cupid-shaped sunglasses and bright red lipstick. Without Valentine’s Day, I would have to do these things completely unprompted and that might be, well, weird.
There are people who absolutely abhor Valentine’s Day, I feel, for very silly reasons. Sure, maybe Valentine’s Day has been perverted into a showy Greeting Card holiday, but that is hardly the fault of the holiday itself. I agree that you shouldn’t need to buy jewelry, chocolate, or flowers for your partner(s) to make them feel loved, though, these aren’t harmful gestures either. There should be no pressure to spend money, but, at the same time, I would (and do) take advantage of every opportunity to make my partner(s) feel cherished. Sometimes that means buying gifts, but other times that means spending a little more time with them, telling them what they mean to me, or just holding their hand under a table while we study.
Personally, Valentine’s Day has always been a day where I could unabashedly tell those around me how much I care about them. While I don’t usually hand out lollipop valentines with Harry Potter’s face on them anymore, I do try to let everyone around me know that I am happy to be their friend. It has always been a day of positive expression and smiles in my experience, and I don’t think that adding gifts or a simple card cheapens it. The only thing that cheapens gestures of love and friendship is a lack of enthusiasm. If the gift-giver wishes they didn’t have to give the receiver something, it shows. If the receiver is unappreciative or even cynical about the exchange, it shows. Gifts are just one way that people show affection, but it is more about the relationship between giver and receiver than the money involved. People who can only focus on the money aspect lose sight of what is really important.
There is something about tradition that makes everything seem more special. If you went to public school, then you know that there is always some ritual around Valentine’s Day. Craft-making, love stories, dances, and valentine-exchanges are the hallmarks of a grade-school Valentine’s Day celebration. All of these activities are meant to bring joy into the classroom and into the hearts of each of the students. Sometimes this is the only time that students experience a healthy expression of love growing up. It can mean the world to that quiet kid who sits in the corner, never bringing up their life at home, or to the kid who is constantly shouting out the right answer, looking for validation anywhere and everywhere, or to the kid who is always acting out, always trying to prove a point. It may be the time that they feel most loved in the world. They may carry that with them into their adult lives.
No matter the reason that people have for wanting to celebrate Valentine’s Day, there is no good reason for bringing them down. It is a holiday centered around happiness, love, and friendship. So, if you don’t believe in “materialistic standards,” then find another way to show people you care. If you hate Valentine’s Day because you hate love, try focusing on friendship instead. If you have a personal vendetta against the day, well, I don’t know what to tell you. Just please don’t ruin Valentine’s Day for everyone else because you don’t like it. It may be someone’s favorite day of the year.