Not Just Commercialism?

The newest issue of Martha Stewart Living arrived in our mailbox a few days ago. This being the middle of January, it is covered with hearts and chocolate and full of things that won't be relevant for another month. The problem with getting Martha Stewart Living is that is sometimes tricks my brain into believing that time is moving faster than it really is.

Still, it got me thinking--Mr. Scrimp doesn't particularly like or see the point of Valentine's day. He views it as being more or less completely commercial, all about spending money, and I think he's vaguely offended by the idea that there is one day where he is supposed to love me more or be somehow more demonstrative and romantic than he is the rest of the time. I get the distinct impression that he resents that.

I, on the other hand, love Valentine's day. In my family, we celebrated it as a family holiday, with small gifts, exchanging cards, a special, traditional Valentine's day breakfast, and decorations. It never occurred to me that Valentine's day was a commercial holiday. In my mind, Valentine's day is to love--and not just love of your significant other, but love of all the people in your life--as Christmas is to generosity. We're supposed to be that way every day, but it's good to have one day set aside every year in which to be reminded that we're supposed to be that way every day.

Plus, I like to get flowers.

This year will be our first married Valentine's day, and only our second Valentine's day ever, and I'm not sure exactly how it's going to go. We didn't really do much for it last year. Mr. Scrimp has always viewed it as a strictly romantic holiday, but I don't see it quite like that. To me, it involves romance sometimes, but really it's just about remembering to affirm your love for people around you who are meaningful to you, no matter who they are.

One of the questions I try to ask myself a lot these days is, why are we doing this? A lot of times the answers are manifold. Do you celebrate Valentine's day? Why, or why not?


  1. I have conflicting feelings about Valentine's Day. On the one hand, it's always fun to have something to celebrate (and I love the way your family celebrated it); on the other, the implication of Valentine's Day is that there must be an excuse to love/affirm your peeps.

    But what really broke the camel's back for me is the commercialism. I decided a while back that I would not do anything for Valentine's Day that participated in the Business of the holiday - in other words, buy anything Valentine's-related - no flowers, Valentine's candy, cards, etc. I can make things, just not buy them.

    We've also made it a point not to go out on Valentine's Day, because dealing with the crowds and prix fix dinners just isn't worth it.

    Instead, the last couple years (as I remember), we've stayed in and cooked and had a bottle of wine. Last year we made fondu and had friends over. This year, as it happens, we'll be in DC visiting friends, which I think is perfectly appropriate.

    Anyway. That's a long way of explaining why I don't "buy into" Valentine's Day.

  2. Beth, my family was the same way since my sister's birthday was the 14th. We always had a heart-shaped mayonnaise cake with white fluffy icing and little cinnamon hearts on top. It's all about loving others. It's My holiday. Most years we didn't have any money to spend so I made candy or heart shaped pizza. A couple times I sneaked inflated lips into my husband's briefcase. Surprise! When my parents died we found fifty years of Valentines cards in a box. It was a testimony of longevity and annually reaffirming their love. As you are married longer and LIFE takes over, it's good to stop at regular points and refocus. Valentines Day and anniversaries help us do that.

  3. When you were little Valentine's Day breakfast was like having a tea party with the whole family! Flowers on the table remind me that spring will finally come - that's why they were most often tulips or daffodils. And pretty vintage tablecloths.

    One of my favorite surprises in life has been when one of my sons has sent me flowers - not in a vase- but a big box that makes the whole house smell like a greenhouse! It's only commercialism if it's not already in your heart.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...