It always seemed a little odd why people would shell out oodles of their hard-earned money for overpriced flowers, chocolates and dinner just to celebrate Valentine’s Day. This is the part of the holiday exploited by retailers that bears little resemblance to why we celebrate it. This is similar to Christmas shopping madness that goes from October until the day after Christmas, when everything comes down and the decorations start to get put away. Christmas actually has twelve days, but that’s beside the point. Valentine’s Day, like Christmas, is what you make of it. Getting sucked in to the consumerism of the holiday spoils it.
Valentine’s Day is a special time here at Cerines. It’s a family-centered occasion, a special day in the middle of February. Why is that? Growing up, I had the impression this dead-in-the-winter holiday was a way to brighten up life a bit with and for everyone: school friends gave each other valentines to tell each other how much they were appreciated; my father would bring us kids each a bag of candy and chocolates; a special, handmade treat was presented to us by my grandmother; my mother liked to hold back the heart ornaments from Christmas for use on a Valentine’s Day tree fashioned from bare branches. A little color amidst the grey winter was always a welcome sight, and extended the festivities of Christmas just a little longer so spring didn’t feel so far away.
Valentine’s Day is about celebrating love in all its forms, a singular day out of the year to just send love to all who matter, whether it’s platonic or amorous. Back in college a few friends liked to throw an anti-Valentine’s Day dinner party by inviting all of their friends and wearing black. In a sense, they were celebrating the essence of the day: being together and having fun and showing appreciation for one another––even if they were protesting the consumerist Valentine’s Day with its dozen red roses and box of chocolates.
Approaching the holiday from this perspective will facilitate a spring in your step, a smile on your face, an excitement different from any of the days in February. Do something different this year. Do something lovely for yourself, something special for your family, a sweet treat for a friend or child. Here’s some things we like to do for Valentine’s Day here at Cerines:
•Leave a valentine under someone’s door. Ring the bell and run away!
•Write a note of kindness to a total stranger marked ‘A secret admirer’.
•Speak “Valentine”! Send an SMS using candy heart phrases. Our favorites: URA QT, B MINE, MISS U, HEART U, 2015 KISSES, LOVE 2 U, COOL U, Y NOT ME, AMORE
•Make flowers from crepe paper or tissue paper: red for love, pink for admiration, white for friendship.
•Make pancakes (recipe here) and top with an out-of-season treat: fresh strawberries (red!).
•Sweetheart breakfast: cappuccino (for the how-to, click here), great croissants and raspberry preserves.
•Make the same delicious thing every year on Valentine’s Day for your loved ones (we have PIZZA!).
•Prepare chocolate chip cookie dough (get the recipe here) and use red chocolate candies instead of chocolate chips.
•Decorate your space with red or pink (or both!): blankets and pillows are easy ways to make a statement, large or small. Pull everything together you have that is red, black or white (example: glass vases) to display.
•Create a picture collage with a free app and send out to all of your friends or post on Facebook to share your love.
•Decorate your table in reds and pinks.
•Collect some dead branches, place in a deep container and hang hearts, paper flowers or the paper valentines you receive.
Choose one or all of the above. It doesn’t matter which , just surround yourself on Valentine’s Day with some love at home and send out some love to others. You may be surprised what the universe sends back. Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Cerines!