I believe the best Valentine’s Day gift is not the giving of cards and chocolates, but expressions of communication and clear thoughts. Like every year since we’ve been together, that was the exchange of gifts that my wife and I shared yesterday.
As both of us have worked in media for several years, we’re well aware of the ploys of marketing when it comes to holidays. Okay, yeah, we pretty much succumb to it at Christmas, but doing it then falls in line with tradition. Exchanging gifts should not be dictated by a holiday for any one. No matter what your personal feelings, your religion, or your upbringing — giving a gift to another, be it a tangible item, a physical exchange or a thought, one should not feel obligated to give gifts on holidays. If you do, I’m sorry my friend, you are a victim. A victim of marketing that tells you that you have to spend money today in order to bring your loved one happiness or shows that you love them — you don’t.
I remember my first realization of this like it was yesterday. I was twelve or thirteen that year shopping at Macy’s and had enough money to get home after buying my last gift for a family member. Such a joyful time of year, so why was I now feeling depressed? Cause I was freakin’ broke !#^&*%($^ WTF! I determined from that Christmas on to never be in a FUNKY mood again due to feeling obligated to buy gifts for any one on ANY holiday that would leave me without any money, and have not turned back since — now that’s JOY!!! At that age, years and a career before I even began to work in media, I came to the stark realization that holidays are the way that capitalist get richer. From Macy’s and Bloomingdales to American Greetings and Hallmark cards, holidays are the time of year that these company’s clean up, and far too many Americans now left with lint in their pockets have to encourage one another and themselves to keep a chin up, while waiting for their next check. I refuse to do it. Life is hard enough without having to be destitute unnecessarily.
Absolutely, when I can afford it, I’m showering family and friends with gifts for Christmas and birthdays. If not showering, at least rendering a gift from a heartfelt place — but not because the aspect of whatever holiday warrants me to do so. I have been fortunate that my current and the last serious relationship I had with a woman, neither of them chose to be suckers for the formality of exchanging gifts on Valentine’s Day. I show my wife that I love her everyday, as did with my ex (girlfriend), so they want/ wanted for no additional frills on the day deemed for lovers. That said, in the words of Prince, to my ex “I never meant to cause you any sorrow, I never meant to cause you any pain,” as our break up is on my shoulders. When I suggested that we resume a relationship as just friends, I was not emotionally equipped to express why. In short, my feelings were hurt and I didn’t have the courage to tell her, which resulted in me hurting her feelings. After a long period she was able to forgive me. The time before I saw her last, I got one of the best hugs of my life from her, it felt sooo good. I was so happy that she was in a happier place than when we split up, as I totally blamed my self for not initially departing amicably — although that was my hope. But how could it have been, as I gave no substantial reasoning for calling it quits? At the time, I didn’t think all the words in the world would matter and all the words in the world wouldn’t have, but a few would have probably made a difference — only I wasn’t able to put the required ones together to verbalize my hurt feelings.
So, COMMUNICATION and CLEAR THOUGHTS my friends, in this humble writer’s opinion, are the best gifts for any relationship — be it business or personal, family, friend or foe. Happy (Post) Valentine’s Day! Happy Anti-Valentine’s Day, as exemplified via this blog the day after.
In the end, as for what Valentine’s Day has evolved in to as opposed to why it began, I think the photo below sums it up. According to the all knowledgeable Wikipedia: “St. Valentine’s Day began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. Several martyrdom stories were invented for the various Valentines that belonged to February 14th, and added to later martyrologies. A popular hagiographical account of Saint Valentine of Rome states that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to legend, during his imprisonment, he healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. An embellishment to this story states that before his execution he wrote her a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell.”