Thursday, February 4, 2016

Red Bras and Chocolate: Your Guide to Surviving the Holiday.

What comes to your mind when you think of Valentine’s Day?

I’ll never forget being a 7th grader when our History teacher had the class guess his least favorite holiday.  For the life of us, we couldn’t figure it out. You would think we would have been clued in seeing that he was young, single, and it was near the dreaded month of February. But we were all stuck on Halloween or the 4th of July. Clearly those were the holidays where you received the least amount of presents.

But nope, Valentine’s Day it was. He said it with such humor mixed with mild hostility towards this holiday. Then it all dawned on me. I had never thought before to feel weird about Valentine’s Day. But after that I realized some people might feel weird about it especially if you are in your 20’s or 30’s or 40’s or basically just any adult who is single who has lots of people pressuring them to find true love.

But I’ll be honest, I’ve never had it out for Valentine’s Day. I know that no family is perfect and mine is no exception. But as far as the holidays goes, my family really knew how to score. They were pretty darn close to perfection in the holidays category. They made every single holiday count. Every holiday was special. And Valentine’s Day was not exception.

Truth be told, I loved Valentine’s Day. My family is a gift family and Valentine’s Day was just another great excuse for such things. My dad would come home from work arms full of chocolates, flowers and stuffed animals. 

Being the little letter writer at a young age I would debate which type of valentines to buy and then dissect over which classmate should get what phrases. You’re special! You’re neat! I love you! The “love” ones clearly did not go to boys unless I wanted to give them the wrong idea. The generic ones went to the classmates I didn’t know as well. The funny ones went to boys I was unsure about but the meaningful ones all went to my close friends. Sometimes I would send secret valentines and I loved over-hearing everyone guess who on earth had given them a pink heart. 

My mom always made a special Valentine’s dinner for our family. There might be red napkins and candles lit and fancy wine glasses.  My grandma Moot would without fail, every year send a bright pink and red Valentine’s card bursting with hearts and a wrinkly well loved 5 dollar bill.

When I started high school I started having my girl friends over and we would drink "champagne" (read: sparkling cider) and eat Dove chocolate and write love letters at the kitchen table. I never felt alone at Valentine’s Day. In fact I looked forward to it, dating or single. I know this is not everyone’s experience. I grieve that we live in a culture that has conditioned us to feel entirely depressed if we are single on Valentine’s Day. I feel sad knowing that many kids grew up in families where they did not feel special or cared for on any holiday, let alone Valentine’s Day. It makes complete sense they would grow up to be adults that don’t feel special or cared for on a holiday that makes such a large deal about romantic love.

And while I’m on this topic, can we just talk about how Valentine’s Day is not really about romantic love? Let’s be honest, Valentine’s Day has it’s charm and cuteness when you are young, but when you hit college or your 20’s and even 30’s it suddenly turns into a sex-obsessed holiday. If you aren’t getting any (God forbid) you should clearly be distraught. 

Valentine’s Day has been reduced to a red bra.

Last year, 50 Shades of Gray came out on Valentine’s Day. Not only has Valentine’s Day represented sexual obsession, is it now supporting sexual violence?!

This month we have How To Be Single* to go see in theaters. While I haven’t seen it, I have watched the trailer and I can’t help but wonder why we need to know how to be single. Also, the idea that the way to be single is to get trashed and sleep with everyone you see, is is totally ludicrous. 

I have to believe that we can want more out of Valentine’s Day

This year I’m making Valentine’s Day cards because WASHI TAPE and crafty. And because I love mail. If I was into baking, maybe I would make a chocolate cake. Think of what you like to do naturally and do that for someone on Valentine’s Day. We can celebrate those we love and care about without being sex obsessed and without getting trashed. It doesn’t have to be a huge grand gesture or expensive. Just show that you care.

And since I was single, am now married, and I am presently 30!!! (for some reason being 30 makes me think I am some kind of life guru. LOL), I feel I have a tiny bit of platform to say, married people and single people alike just want to feel loved. 

We all just want to feel connected and special and cared for. 

I think that’s why I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day because it was a time to celebrate and be grateful to those in your life. Married people want to be invited to Gal-entine’s parties too! We don’t stop wanting love because we are married and it’s happily ever after and I live in a constant state of estatic bliss over my fortune and need no one else ever in my life now. And when I was single, I wanted to be included and told that I mattered and that I was important. What I did NOT want was for people to assume I was in complete despair over my singleness and pity me when this wasn’t my reality**. (being set up and having your first date on valentine’s day is probably like the worst thing ever…let me be home with my girls having a reading party pleassseeee.)

So here is your handy guide to surviving this holiday:

1   .    Think of who and what you’re grateful for
2   .    Do something kind for them
3   .    Have a Happy Valentine’s Day
4   .    The end J

*Confession and I’ll be honest, I might watch it because I think Rebel Wilson and Leslie Mann are hilarious. 

** One time it was my reality. I got dumped two days before Valentine’s Day in Las Vegas. It was absolutely the worst. You better believe I was living and breathing despair. I am here to tell you it gets better. And you won’t always feel this way.


  1. Hi Heather, what a wonderful post! Hubby and I don't tend to do holidays, but every year on Valentines day he'll appear with a single red silk rose. I have a crystal vase upstairs where they all live :) I always cook one of his favourite dinners for him getting home from work, usually lasagne. Year before last I made a ridiculous, huge, heart shaped cake (I bought a wonderful silicone mould from Ikea of all places) which had one layer chocolate sponge, one layer black forest gateau and the middle layer was vanilla sponge! I layered these three sponges together with masses of double whipped cream and sliced strawberries then dusted the top with icing sugar :) Hubby took it to the office with him for his colleagues morning tea break :) Making that cake was the most fun!

    Working in retail, Valentine's Day is right up there with Christmas in the shamefully commercial holidays list, and it does make me feel sad at times. I don't need a silk rose to know Hubby loves me and I hope he doesn't need a holiday lasagne to re-assure him either :) You summed it up perfectly angel, do something kind for someone you're grateful for. This doesn't require money being spent and certainly doesn't have anything to do with underwear sales and even less to do with trashy, badly written fiction lol :) It's all about making someone smile, making a connection, letting someone know they're cared about. This is such a wonderful post Heather, off to share everywhere. Huggles always dear one xxx

    1. Hello Rosie! Thank you for your sweet sweet comment! Always brightens my day! I love that Hubby appears with a single red silk rose every year. That is so precious. I wish I was a better cook but I always get so frustrated and it entirely takes the fun out of it. I make a good cup of coffee though!
      I can't imagine! I bet working in retail is somewhat disturbing around the holidays especially Valentine's Day! I had to laugh when you said it doesn't have anything to do with underwear sales! LOL. It certainly does not! How ridiculous! Much love to you. Thanks for sharing this via twitter. You're the best!

  2. So love this!!!! I've always loved Valentine's Day, single or not! My son and I may be alone this year since my husband and other son will be gone. We've already made plans to buy our favorite Chocolates and watch on going Hallmarks. My son actually finds the cheery fairy tale bling and brightness, without the trash, a nice background to his computer games as we sit together and dig into comfort food. I've celebrated myself alone with a box of my favorite Chocolates, wine, a romantic comedy DVD, cozy wrap, and indulged in solitude from my busy life, never missing a beat! I love celebrating me sometimes and what greater time than Valentine's Day! We are a gift to ourselves and sometimes we deserve a squeeze! So cheery up and INDULGE! Celebrate others and yourself, it's all good!

    1. So LOVE your comment!!! So happy you stopped by my little blog land. I can totally visualize your happy day with chocolate, wine and a romantic comedy. SOUNDS PERFECT. We all gotta celebrate!!!