Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In Honor of Valentine's Day

Alternate Title: The world's dumbest holiday

If this bothers you, please feel free to stop reading now.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have serious issues with Valentine's Day. Honestly, I have serious issues with most holidays due to their over commercialization and complete and utter lack of any real meaning, but Feb 14th is the ultimate worst. Named after not one, but at least 3 different Catholic saints, it should be noted that very little is known regarding any of these guys, and according to scholars, "no links between the Saints named Valentinus and romantic love existed".

And yet, here we are with roses double in price, chocolates tackily wrapped in cellophane and cardboard, and cards which ooze sappy sayings. I won't even talk about the expectation some people have for expensive jewelry. How does dropping cash express love? Are we so conditioned towards things and stuff that even for a holiday which is supposed to express love, things prove that someone loves us? Does anyone really buy that? Well, they must or it wouldn't be such a big deal that we are willing to wait hours for a table at a mediocre restaurant on a Thursday night.

Let's talk just a moment more about how Valentine's Day became such a big deal in North America. According to reliable sources, the most amazing feat of marketing genius ever can be attributed to Esther Howland.

"The reinvention of Saint Valentine's Day in the 1840s . . . In the United States, the first mass-produced valentines of embossed paper lace were produced and sold shortly after 1847 by Esther Howland1828-1904 of Worcester, Massachusetts. Her father operated a large book and stationery store."


She basically created a reason to sell cards. Genius! Her father's sale probably quadrupled or more just in his lifetime. I'm sure she and her future generations were very very wealthy. Absolute genius! She single handedly set a standard for only showing love on days dictated by other people.

Next to Christmas, more cards are purchased on or around Feb 14th than at any other time. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 85% of those cards are purchased by women. Of course, if you're getting $50 a dozen roses and diamonds and boxes of expensive chocolates in return, you just made a sweet sweet exchange. All of that for the cost of a card? You go girl!

With all of the crap available to celebrate with tomorrow and through the weekend, let's just remember to show love as well. Do service for someone, write a heartfelt note and not a bunch of glittery sappy goo. Take time to visit with someone.

OK, I'm done ranting. You can return to your regularly scheduled programming.

8 comments:

katzbox said...

Yep, I was listening on the radio and discovered there is no known, absolute cause for Valentine's Day...and how many Catholic Saints are there?...I grew up in a Catholic neighborhood and there had to be dozens that we talked about in whispery, quick voices in hallways and bedrooms...I learned even more in high school...but yes, I'm with you definitely on the commercialization...I love your ideas for service...now you've got me thinking....rats, I hate when that happens...

katzbox said...

Yep, I was listening on the radio and discovered there is no known, absolute cause for Valentine's Day...and how many Catholic Saints are there?...I grew up in a Catholic neighborhood and there had to be dozens that we talked about in whispery, quick voices in hallways and bedrooms...I learned even more in high school...but yes, I'm with you definitely on the commercialization...I love your ideas for service...now you've got me thinking....rats, I hate when that happens...

Christina said...

Well, I love V-day. But I can be sappy at times. And we don't do the gift thing.

I can't wait until next month to hear your thoughts on St. Patrick! Ohhh and the Easter bunny, it's a twofer.

Mom said...

OOPS! I forgot to send homemade valentines to all the grandkids. Now that I am retired, I don't even realize there is a holiday approaching -- if you can call Valentine's Day a holiday.

Give all the kids hugs and kisses from me and tell them I love them. And, I love you, too. Have a great Valentine's Day. :)

frizzlefry said...

Oddly, I have no issues (other than the commercialization) with St Patty's and Easter. Of course, St Patty's isn't such a big holiday as Valentine's and Easter has a reason. I don't love the Easter Bunny, but he visits here. It's really mainly Valentine's Day that drives me nuts.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes there is an anoymous option again ... i forgot my google password ... again .... have not been able to post comments ... kind of sad ...
Any way I like the heart day ... actually I like and take advantage of any holiday and a few i've made up to do something fun and un expected for my sweetie ... cause I like to see him smile. Cathie

Stargirl said...

You know Grandma it's never too late to send cards(and chocolate of course, remember that's the important thing). I mean we love your cards(and chocolate is always nice). we'll love them even if they're late(and we'll love them more if there is chocolate involved)Can you take a hint?

Mom said...

Hint taken, Rebi Sue, but don't hold your breath until the valentine and chocolate arrive. I have much more important things on my mind right now --a CRUISE. (: -Grom