Posted by: Kate | February 14, 2009

Bah, Humbug, or Yay, Sentimentality?

There’s a spectrum out there.

At one end is a group of people billing and cooing today, grooming each other’s feathers and picking nits out and eating them… or whatever human equivalent feels appropriate.

At the other end is a group who snarls and hisses at the mere thought of Hallmark, brushing off the date as a fake holiday and glaring at the idiotic 20-year-old boys standing in line at Walmart with some limp flowers and a cheesy card and a sense of self-righteousness at having remembered a holiday about which they have received constant advertising and media reminders since Christmas.

I’ve always hovered a bit more toward the latter side of things, though I’m not a true anti-Valentine’s crusader. I don’t like the holiday for myself, and Willem has been well-trained in the mantra of, “Flowers on some random Tuesday mean a lot more than a gift on a contrived, pretend holiday.” We don’t exchange cards or gifts amongst ourselves, and in fact he has been so well-inoctrinated that, when he made a comment this morning about wishing we could go out to dinner tonight, it was just because it’s a Saturday without other plans. He’d forgotten it was Valentine’s Day altogether, which means most of the restaurants are going to be extra-crowded.

But I don’t have a problem with my kids enjoying the day. Obviously, we planted our lollipop plants, and I’m pleased to report it was a big success despite the fact that I collapsed, exhausted, in bed last night without setting up the last, full-lollipop-growth step. I was able to make it into the kitchen before the kids this morning, and thereby thrust, willy-nilly, a handul of candies in each bowl. The kids were happy enough with their bounty of sugar that they didn’t notice the haphazardry of the presentation.

I’ve also always helped them make Valentine’s cards, even before they had classmates to exchange them with. For the past two years, Emily has been the only kid in her class with handmade cards. This fact causes simultaneous delight and appall-ed-ness for me. One kid this year didn’t even bother writing the other kids’ names on his cards; he just signed his name a bunch of times and handed them out at random. Emily, thankfully, still thinks it’s cool that we make cards together, and I think I’ll get a few more years out of her before the uncoolness of an involved parent occurs to her.


So, I’m not totally against the holiday altogether; it just doesn’t ring my bell. Where are you, on that spectrum? Am I risking life and limb if I send a card your way, or have I already risked permanent ostracism because I didn’t actually mail out a single V-Day-related item this year?


  1. I’m torn. I hate the idea of doing something because of some made-up holiday. On the other hand, it gives a reminder to husbands who don’t really think about those kinds of things normally.

    Having said that, I got a card and some crap bought at the local Hallmark store. At noon.

    Why no, I’m not bitter. Not in the least.

  2. Brandon and I have a history of valentine’s day disasters, so we don’t celebrate any more. But the girls and I made all of their school valentines with lots of paper and ink and stamps and had lots of fun. I like that they get so excited about it, knowing full well that in a few years one or both will have their heart broken by some teenage boy on valentines day. And then I’ll have to hunt him down and kill him.

  3. It’s always been my mother’s birthday on V-day so that comes first. After that, it’s an excuse for A. to stop playing his computer game and help me make dinner (which usually consists of food he really likes– that’s our compromise). He sometimes gets flowers, too. I like the cards- I can usually find pretty funny ones– and I like to remind random people that I love them. Other than that, not really a big deal kind of day….

  4. Frank and I are just apathetic. About 2:00 this afternoon I looked his way and said, “Oh. Hey. Happy Valentine’s Day.” And he said, “Yeah, Happy Valentine’s Day.” That about covers our observance of the holiday.

    Then we got Jake down for a nap and Lane and I went to Costco.

  5. I bought you a card, but didn’t buy my husband a card. I think that says a lot about my feelings regarding VDay.

    Because several of my great friends are still single and without a significant other, and because I spent nearly every VDay single except for two in high school, I look on it as a day to share general affection and well-wishes with the world. Mike and I see it as a day to do something we do every day anyway – tell each other we care – so yesterday we spent the afternoon with friends with two kids and hung out watching movies and playing with the babies. Oh, and I baked chocolate chip cookies on Thursday night, but I’m apt to do that any day of the year.

  6. I’m with you on this one. I prefer random expressions of happiness and gratitude scattered throughout the year as the boyfriend sees fit to show me he cares. (This does in fact happen. He’s made me dinner, given me candy, and been delightfully extra nice several times in the past few months.) However… if someone *wants* to celebrate Valentine’s day, I’m not going to go around yelling that it’s a stupid holiday that no one should celebrate.

    Also any occasion that gives a kid candy is fine by me. 🙂

  7. I am with you on the random just cause flowers and presents mean a lot more than the ones given out yesterday. Of course DJ was the kid that didn’t write names on the cards. We lost the list. Heck we didn’t even do his cards until Friday morning when we got to school because I was hoping the list was on my desk at school (not so much).

  8. I have a lot of random thoughts on this, which means if I didn’t have so many things hanging over my head this weekend (which I’m ignoring right now of course) I’d have posted on it myself, but there’s always next year…

    1. Would rather shoot self in foot than go out to overcrowded restaurant and receive poor service and rushed food (or v-v).
    2. Think it highway robbery/extortion that florists raise rose prices for the peri-period.
    3. Was ASTONISHED at the array of candy & accoutrements at Target. Had no idea it had become an industry of such gargantuan scale for the school-age set (or rather parents thereof). What happened to the occasional box of conversation hearts?
    4. Homemade cards, yes MA’AM.
    5. Which “holiday” is next for the full-on-consumer buy-in?? St. Patricks? St. Swithens?

    Send me a card. Sure. But it better be homemade. xo, Sweetheart…

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