Just Call Me the Valentine Grinch

It might be a little early. In actuality, 25 days early. But, if you haven’t already seen it, the valentine’s frenzy is beginning. When I was in my 20s and for the most part unhappily single, I worked for the City of Vista. I don’t know what it was about the office culture but come Valentine’s day, delivery trucks started arriving with huge flower bouquets – mostly roses. Drivers would run from office to office delivering these massive displays to unsuspecting squealing women. But not me, pretty much never me. I just kept hoping that one year it would be me. Then it came.

A few weeks before Valentine’s, I went on a blind date. It went well (red flags aside). We went on a couple more and Valentines arrived. The delivery trucks arrived. The drivers ran from office to office. The women squealed. And then it came. Three delivery guys in coat tails carrying the most obnoxiously large display of flowers I, and everyone in my office, had ever seen. Probably 40″ diameter, maybe a bit more, complete with a full-size teddy bear in a sun hat. Seriously, this was a bit insane. It wouldn’t even fit in my car, I had to borrow a friend’s van. And the 3 guys? They sang some type of cheesy song.

People – we had dated two weeks! I received 40 lbs of flowers and a song. What do you think? A bit weird?

I didn’t love Valentine’s. Always felt left out and unwanted. Then this display creeped me out. Oh! Yes, he never called me again. (insert shrugged shoulder emoji). Pretty much cinched my distaste for cupid’s favorite holiday.

You may love Valentine’s and if you do – great. Love it! Celebrate it! Go for it! But if, like me, it’s not your favorite, here are a few reasons it is okay to think that Valentine’s Day sucks.

  • In many ways, money makes the world go-’round, and this is seriously apparent on Valentine’s Day. A little over a month after Christmas, retailers figure our bank accounts have recovered from the holiday season and need another reason to drag you into their stores. Yes, that’s cynical.
  • You can’t go out to dinner because literally everyone else there is on a date, making googly eyes at each other, and you just want to eat.
  • Cupid is kind of weird, don’t ya think? A baby shooting people with arrows is kind of a random mascot.
  • Secret admirers! Nothing says Valentine’s Day and love like when an unsuspecting girl receives flowers and candy from an unknown stranger. But really, stalkerish much?
  • You can’t have a bad day. You have to pretend to be happy because everyone else is, and if you aren’t just as happy, then you are the petty person because you’re not happy on Valentine’s Day for whatever reason.
  • Falling victim to jealousy (careful here). You are happy being single, and you know that deep down. That may not matter today because everyone else is posting pics with their gifts, flowers, and romantic dinners. Part of you may even want them to fail, but don’t worry, it’s not just you. We can all fall victim to this. This holiday can bring out the worst in every single person (pun intended).
  • And, the candy! It’s February, you spent January getting back on track after the holidays. And then Valentine’s candy arrives in droves. Candy and chocolate for days.
  • There are always the showoffs. Say you do find yourself on a date on Valentine’s Day. There are still ways to end up disappointed and mad at the end of the day. Even after you have bought that special someone flowers and chocolate, we all know there will be that one couple who goes all-out to show off their love. You know that guy who buys the $500 teddy bear with a straw hat and six dozen roses, trying to make everyone else feel mediocre for even trying? Oh wait, that was my life.

Bottom line, if Valentine’s Day makes love so special just on that day, what’s about every other day?

According to Wikipedia, Valentine’s Day originated as a Christian feast day honoring one or two early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine and, through later folk traditions, has become a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and love in many regions of the world. Not sure what happened to the cultural and religious celebration, but commercialism is alive and well.

I realize you could easily call me the Valentine Grinch. I just struggle with so many expectations, superficial ideals, and all the pressure and disappointment. Valentine’s Day paints a superficial picture of love, which isn’t the reality for so many people. There are always exceptions — which is awesome — but this is a confusing and painful day for many.

So, How to Love More Than Just on Valentine’s Day

Whatever Valentine’s Day is to you, it is for you to decide. Personally, I think it’s a great opportunity to celebrate love, whether it be for family, friends, lovers, or neighbors because Jesus said that people would know us by our love.

We should aim to reflect all the facets of love all the time because we aim to love like Jesus. We try to be as loving as Jesus by observing how he loved and practicing daily by praying for direction and a soft heart. Jesus wasn’t delivering flowers and candy, He was offering hope and salvation.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35).

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony (Colossians 3:14).

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10).

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).

… and the greatest of these is love. Don’t really need a card and a dozen roses for that!

For God and you,
Deb Bostwick

On a Lighter Note: Valentine’s Day Fun Facts

  • In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius I made the feast of St. Valentine an official holiday
  • After the Second Vatican Council in 1969, Pope Paul VI decided to remove St. Valentine’s Day from the calendar of major holidays, mostly because very little about the actual St. Valentine could be verified.
  • Passing out Valentine’s is a 600-year-old tradition
  • An estimated 145 million greeting cards are exchanged in the U.S. alone, according to Hallmark, making it the second-largest holiday for greeting cards after Christmas
  • The oldest record of a Valentine is a poem Charles, the Duke of Orleans, wrote to his wife when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415
  • During the Victorian Era and into the 20th century, those who didn’t want the attention of certain suitors would anonymously send “vinegar valentines” or “penny dreadfuls,” which would range from sassy to cruel and could be purchased to insult just about anyone in your life. Yes, I find this very entertaining.
  • In 1847, candy hearts were originally created as medical lozenges. 15 years later, a way to press words onto the candy lozenges with a felt roller pad and vegetable food coloring was developed. It took an additional 40 years for the conversational candies to become officially heart-shaped.
  • Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants, second only to Mother’s Day.
  • In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names to see who their Valentine would be, and they would wear the name pinned to their sleeve for one week so that everyone would know their supposed true feelings. Wearing your heart on your sleeve is more than just a phrase.
  • According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, Americans spent $23.9 billion on Valentine’s Day in 2022, the second-highest year on record.
  • In addition to creating arguably the richest, creamiest, and sweetest chocolate on the market, Richard Cadbury also introduced the first box of Valentine’s Day chocolates in 1868.
  • According to the National Confectioners Association, caramels are the most popular flavor in chocolate boxes, followed by chocolate-covered nuts, chocolate-filled, cream-filled, and coconut.
  • AND, whether it’s because they’re single or think the holiday is beyond cheesy, 49% of adults surveyed by the National Retail Federation in 2019 said they’re not celebrating the day of love!