Take Back Valentine’s Day

DenaFebruary 10, 2010

Yes, I know – merely mentioning this Hallmark Holiday to some results in sneers and eye-rolling, while others simply feel sad and left out, or perhaps pressured to make precisely the right purchase to prove their devotion to a sweetheart. I’ve certainly experienced all three of those reactions myself, most often the sneering and eye-rolling and ranting about how stupid and made-up this little holiday is. In recent years, though, I’ve had something of a change of heart; I still despise the consumerism and the pressure and the showcasing of romantic love as though it were the only kind – but at the core I think there might be something fundamentally important, or at least beautiful, about making sure to celebrate love in the midst of some of the darkest and dreariest days of the year.

Don’t get me wrong here – there is still no need for blood diamonds, pesticide-drenched flowers, or unfair-trade chocolate. There is still no need to exclude the single or to limit your love to your partner instead of letting it shine to the whole world. You don’t need to spend a lot of money or even have a lover to have a fantastic February celebration of love! Here are some of my ideas:

  • Write yourself a love letter. Detail all your glorious quirks and stunning capabilities. Celebrate your glorious creativity and accept your flaws. Bask in your own sweet love.
  • Make Valentines! You don’t need a lover, great (or any) artistic skill, or perfect penmanship. Just gather up whatever supplies you can find, sit down, draw some hearts if you want, and maybe write a few words to your friends &/or parents &/or pets &/or great aunt &/or crush &/or whoever you like. You don’t have to say much, but I guarantee this little expression of affection will absolutely make the recipient’s day. If you really want to get creative you can incorporate embroidery, watercolors, glued-on macaroni, feathers, quotes about love – the sky’s the limit!
  • Read some love poems. Rumi and Pablo Neruda are great starting points. Here are just a couple of my favorites:
  • Bake mouth-watering cupcakes or delicious cookies and bring them into school or work or give them out to your pals. (Bonus points if they’re heart-shaped!)
  • If you are a lady (or even an adventurous man), wear red, sparkles, pink, or anything with hearts. Dress up, paint your nails, accessorize fabulously!
  • Write a list the people you love and the people who love you. Write another list of all the things about your life that you love. Reflecting on these things will surely make you smile.
  • Surprise an old friend with an email, Facebook message, or text, just to let her know you’re thinking of her and hoping she’s enjoying her own celebration of love.
  • Cook a beautiful dinner for yourself and maybe a partner or friend, if you want. Set the table, savor each bite, and discuss or muse about love until you’re blue in the face. Make a love playlist to enjoy during your meal (bitter brokenhearted songs are allowed too, if absolutely necessary).
  • Whatever you do, don’t let the cynics get you down! Smile and offer them a cupcake instead, or ignore them altogether. You will have more fun than they will, I promise.

Love love, celebrate love, and most importantly give love – Valentine’s Day and every day!


This guest post comes from Leeann Drees.  Leeann studies, works, plays, and dreams big dreams in Michigan.

Comments (12)

  • Dena

    February 10, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Thank you so much for the great post, Leeann! I really love it. So many people get caught up with the anti-Hallmark-Card-attitude that they forget that Valentine’s Day is about LOVE. What a reason to celebrate! We all experience love — whether we’re in love with a pet, a Blackberry, a spouse, or a book.

    We can all benefit from taking a day out to spread love & light. Thanks for all of these great recipe and poem suggestions! XO

  • David

    February 10, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Hey, I’ve read this before! 🙂

  • Alexandria Eggertsen

    February 10, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Leeeann! Spread the good word!!!

  • Jenna

    February 10, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    So glad to see Leeann’s beautiful face on here! Lovely article, dear – I can hear you talking through the whole thing 🙂

  • Brad Chaffee

    February 12, 2010 at 12:21 am

    I totally feel the same way but usually when I spout such blasphemy, I usually get accused of not wanting to make my wife feel special.

    It’s such a consumer-driven holiday. I love my wife every damn day of the year so I show her every damn day of the year. We celebrate our love specifically on our anniversary. We do not need to be told by profit makers how to love our significant others.

    Thankfully my wife is not materialistic or jaded enough to think that a gift determines her value.

    Hey there’s another post for you Dena!

    “YOU ARE NOT YOUR VALENTINES DAY PRESENT” in the spirit of good ole’ Tyler Durden. 🙂

    (Wasn’t it you that wrote the Fight Club post?)

    1. Dena

      February 12, 2010 at 6:15 am

      Haha. You know what I sympathize with both you AND your wife. You know me, Brad, I totally AM anti-consumerism which is why me and my partner do not celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th. We actually create our own love celebration a few days after V-Day when everything goes on sale 50% or 75% off — and even then if we do the chocolates/flowers/dinner thing it is minimal at best. This is a mutually agreed upon deal; yet, like your wife, sometimes I still get that “girly” pang — am I special?

      It is rather ridiculous, I know, but girls will be girls. 😉

      Thanks for the comment, Brad. Here’s wishing you and your wife gorgeous days full of love, not just on 2/14, but always.

  • Carousel — 02.12.10 : evolution you

    February 12, 2010 at 9:57 am

    […] a gorgeous weekend. Spread love & light where ever you go. Enjoy your Valentine’s Day whether you spend it cuddled up with your lover, your turtle, or a soft pillow; writing love […]

  • Kristina Tabacco

    February 14, 2010 at 9:32 am

    What a great article! I’ve never been a V-day poo-pooer but I do wince at all the commercialism (just like at Christmas). Your ideas are great…and I’ve always appreciated a nice cupcake!

    1. Dena

      February 15, 2010 at 9:26 am

      Hey Kristina! I am so glad that you enjoyed Leeann’s article. Hope your having a great day. Thanks or reading!

  • yoli

    February 14, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Leeann, thank you SO much for those poem recommendations/reminders. Life is better with good poetry. 🙂

    1. Dena

      February 15, 2010 at 9:27 am

      Hey Yoli! I am so glad that you enjoyed Leeann’s article. It’s nice to see a fellow poetry-lover. Thanks for reading!

  • Suzette

    February 15, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Leeann, that was wonderful and just what I needed to hear..Yesterday!
    I forget sometimes that others need to be reminded just as much as the self that they are loved and appreciated!
    You totally rock and I am proud to call you my friend!
    Love You! ♥

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