A New Way To Look At Love On Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day – many people have negative feelings about this wonderful holiday because they confuse it with the crass, commercialism it has become known for. Like many other days that have the potential to add so much to our lives, jewelers and card stores have convinced us that it’s the dollar value of love, and not the true feelings, that matter. How many carats do you love me? How many dozen roses do you love me? Do you love me Russel Stover, Godiva or Vosges?

St. Valentine was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius II for aiding Christians, and for marrying Christian couples. This was during a time of persecution when being Christian was a crime. Claudius took a liking to Valentine, and considered saving him, until Valentine tried to convert Claudius – Valentine died on February 14th.  This bit of history is often debated, but it is this version that leads to the day we celebrate now. Some say that Valentine’s Day first is noted in the fourteenth century by Geoffrey Chaucer and his peers as a day to celebrate romantic love, others say it was put forth to supersede pagan celebrations of the times.  In the eighteenth century Valentine’s Day was embraced in a more secular way for secret admirers to communicate their desires, and for those in love to acknowledge each other.  This is the time where the first notions of what we recognize as Valentines are seen – bits of lace, poetic words and posies are sent hoping for a kind return of sentiment. Flowers at this time were especially sent for their meanings – the flower, its color and the arrangement spoke volumes to the recipient.

Valentine’s Day right now is promoted as a day to impress, make grand gestures and show your love in dollar signs.  Prices go up, reservations get scarce and the pressure is on. Roses, chocolate, jewelry and champagne are used to measure the depths of love. This is the Olympics of relationships, it’s time to go big or go home. Many very happy couples can take a hit if the message of love is interpreted as a message of “I forgot and I now give you the best CVS had to offer at 7PM tonight”.

I offer a different approach to the big day of celebrating love – in all the forms it takes in our lives.  Perhaps my way of looking at Valentine’s Day is why it truly is and always has been one of my favorite, if not my favorite, holiday. It can truly be a day of giving love, celebrating love and showing love without it necessarily being about romantic love. This allows the celebration to include all of us, young and old, as participants in a world wide love-in. It’s a day to be thankful for the love in our lives from partners as well as children, parents, pets, friends, neighbors and kind strangers. Yes – the strangers that smile at us, hold doors and connect with us, and look us in the eye.

If we choose to we can make this day about showing love. Taking the time to communicate why you love someone rather than the garbled, drive-by “loveyou” we have all adapted as shorthand on the way out of a room, out the door, or on the phone. Spending time in a way you know is meaningful, rather than spending money in a way you know is bartering. Showing love to others through service and kindness rather than checking off cards and chocolate on a “to do” list. In each instance we not only have the capacity to bring more meaningful love into the world, but we have the opportunity to expand our own hearts and drive away the cynical thoughts we may have given in to.

It is said it takes twenty one days to form a habit. Imagine if you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day my way, and you really liked it?  Imagine if you decided this was a great way to be everyday? Imagine how amazing your life might be by March 6th???

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!  Go out and spread some love!! xo


jim dine heart

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Valentine’s Shoes – One Of The Many Joys Of The Day!!

Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays – I would rank it right after my birthday and right before Christmas.  Long before boyfriends, flowers or feats involved to prove the depths of one’s love – I loved Valentine’s Day.  My earliest memories include a Dad who brought home one of those huge cards with the lace and satin for my Mom, the largest Russell Stover heart and the smaller version for me (I am sure he bought my sister one, but I have blocked that part of this story out – it’s my blog!).

I loved picking out the assortment of Valentines for the class – the kind with one special one for the teacher included.  I am sure they were mostly Barbie themed, with Batman, The Beatles and The Monkees thrown in depending on the year. Our class always had a Valentine’s Mailbox and in the later years of grade school I am sure it was primarily a vehicle for candy and finding out the class crushes. In my all girls high school the celebration continued in that there was a major emphasis on decorating and having class parties (yes, I picked the perfect school for me!).

I remember the first Valentine’s Day I spent with my husband. My then boyfriend walked through the door with a dozen pink roses and – wait for it – the largest pink satin heart filled with chocolates you could imagine. It was a sure sign that this one was a keeper! Not because of the beauty or the size of the gifts as much as the fact that without knowing about it he recreated my idealized childhood ideal of what it meant to have a Valentine.

Years have gone by and we have celebrated in the most extravagant ways, we have also sat with each other being sick, a few bouts of morning sickness thrown in, and then the amazing celebrations with our children. Most importantly over the years the celebration became more and more focused on the meaning of the day – a day to celebrate and honor love in all its many forms. With maturity you learn that love isn’t measured by the gift, but by the day in and day out of being there for each other. True love is so much bigger than two people – it’s opening your hearts to children, to family, to friends, to those in need. It is supporting your partner to be the person they dream of being, while being responsible to continue to grow and learn yourself.

And then, when all is said and done, it’s also about the shoes!! xoxoxo

Valentine's Shoes - Marc Jacobs


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