The true spirit of Valentine's Day

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

VI'm a pretty cynical person. When I loan someone money, I first make sure I won't miss the money in case I don't get it back. I've been known to curse at incompetent drivers on occasion, and one of my favorite hobbies is watching bad reality TV and screaming insults at the television.

But I really love Valentine's Day. While I understand why many people despise the holiday -- many cite corporate greed to support their vitriol -- I think there's something really nice about a day that allows you to tell people you love them. It's nice to celebrate love, and I don't think you can do it enough.

My mother's birthday falls on Valentine's Day, but she's always given me a gift on the day anyway. That, I believe, demonstrates what the day should be about. My mom went above and beyond on Valentine's Day and still does; she has sent me flowers, bought my grandmother pretty nice jewelry and given her friends enough chocolate to induce diabetes.

Following her example, I've made a point to give random gifts on Valentine's Day. When in college, I distributed heart-shaped cookies to my professors and fellow students. I even hosted a make-your-own-Valentine party for my sorority, complete with cupcakes and blood-red punch.

By purchasing heart-shaped cookie cutters and various red candy, I'm sure I played right into the hands of all those corporations who want my hard-earned money. That's fine by me. I did spend more money than I would have on any other day, but the gifts I gave to people really meant something. As I said, many of my friends have delivered soliloquies about how much they hate Valentine's Day.

Yet these same friends appeared to enjoy personalizing a card for loved ones and being given free chocolate truffles. They ate their surprise cookies with joy.

This year, my mom and my childhood best friend will be visiting me on Valentine's Day. We're going to the Chocolate Festival in Eureka Springs and then to Fayetteville to see a band perform. I bought my mom's ticket to the show, but I also purchased a separate gift for her. I'm giving Dora chocolates and a card, too, as I do every year. We have been exchanging Valentine's gifts since elementary school and probably won't ever stop.

Valentine's Day isn't just about romantic love. It's about taking time to show those you care about that you do, whether you purchase something, make a gift with materials you already have or simply call someone to talk for the first time in ages.

Don't think of it as celebrating a day created by holiday card companies, because you'll be missing the point. There's never a bad time to celebrate those you love, even if everyone else is doing it.

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Samantha Jones is a reporter for the Carroll County News.