Valentine, Galentine, Palentine and How it All Started
Let’s face it, you either love or hate this holiday which seems to grow bigger and redder every year. The store displays scream love and candy and it does seem like a fun distraction from the cold and dark month of February.
Hallmark makes out on this holiday but what if we embrace the love of Valentine’s Day and rewrite how we celebrate without feeling the pressure of making Valentine’s Day something to feel bad about? Not everyone wants to buy expensive jewelry, roses, cards and chocolates and not everyone has a partner.
History has it that the birth of Valentine’s Day was a priest who defied an emperor and was secretly marrying lovers during a ban on marriages (that supposedly happened) until he was busted and put to death—not very romantic if you ask me! The holiday became official at the end of the 5th century when February 14th became “St. Valentine’s Day” and in the middle ages the holiday was connected to love, not the darker history of death. In Europe the common belief was that birds started mating during this time of year, hence the romance of the holiday was born.
There are some beliefs that love letters were exchanged during this time of year, but it became officially a start of mass produced valentines cards in the 1840’s when valentines day cards were produced in bulk. Flowers were exchanged in the 17th century and the ball started rolling from there. According to research, Americans spend over 20 billion dollars each year on Valentine’s Day gifts and over 145 million cards are sent each year not including classroom cards. I have to say as a kid, getting 30+ cards/candy on Valentine’s Day was a lot of fun!
For Valentine’s Day, the most money is spent on jewelry followed by a fancy dinner, clothing, candy and then flowers. So how can we celebrate the holiday without becoming too cliché and also be original? Some creative thoughts of romance…
- A special homemade dinner (avoid the crowded restaurants!) with candles and a red tablecloth.
- A homemade card that includes a heart-felt message or poem.
- A gift to teach someone a new hobby-tennis lessons, dancing lessons, learn to speak Spanish, etc.
- A handmade gift—candles, decorative shelf, a hand knitted scarf, etc.
- A themed evening at home (especially with covid and cold weather)—if your significant other loves Game of Thrones, do a fun meal with turkey/chicken wings/a fire or candles, and re-runs of GOT favorite episodes. If Sex and the City is a favorite, how about Cosmos, fashion magazines, a DSW gift card? Maybe it is a Palentine or just an evening with the kids—make it a heart shaped pizza making event with the homemade dough from the grocery store and a fun drink with funny valentine card swaps.
The ideas are endless and your creativity means more than a Kay Jewelers bracelet that doesn’t measure up to the love of one’s thoughtfulness. But mostly remember it is a time to let your loved ones know that you are thinking of them and sending your love and there is no price tag on that!