Valentine’s day is the cilantro of the American holiday circuit …you either love it, or it leaves a nasty taste in your mouth. Personally, I have a tumultuous relationship with the holiday, which started during an excruciating 4 month stint working at Hallmark in high school, where I was forced to stock mass produced, impersonal greeting cards and listen to Michael Bublé’s Caught in the Act album on repeat. I still cringe whenever I hear a Bublé track.
My employment stint happened to span the Valentine’s day season, so I ended up a smidge jaded when it comes to the candy heart holiday. Also, I got fired from Hallmark for yelling at this douchenugget of a customer who asked for my phone number after I helped him pick out a V-Day card, clearly for his significant other. The termination also may have had something to do with my tendency to inhale helium from the balloon tank and sing along to the much loathed Buble tracks. Either one of those reasons…
Anyway, working in that corporate environment really highlighted the super consumeristic side of the holiday and made me dislike it, but at the same time, if I’m in a relationship and the day goes by unacknowledged, I get my panties a little twisted. At least I’m admitting my paradoxical mindset, right?
Basically, my juxtaposing feelings about the holiday encompass my aversion to giving into consumerism, drawn parallel with my need for validation that I am indeed a special snowflake. My solution to this problem over the past few years has been simple: spend time not money.
The point of the holiday, which I’m pretty sure Hallmark invented, should be to show your partner how much you like them. You don’t need to spend a paycheck doing that; just shower them with time and attention. Put away the screens and cook dinner together–restaurants are swamped tonight anyway.
If you do want to spend a little green, something my partner and I have been trying to implement is setting up a “wish account” we both put money into instead of buying impermanent gifts like chocolates and flowers. Everyone’s wishes are different, like saving up for a home or a trip to Prague. My manslice and I have a travel fund that we do this with, because we’d both rather take a trip together in the future than waste money on smaller, forgettable things now. It’s the idea behind the day that should make it special, not the baubles and bling.
So tell me how you’re celebrating your Valentine’s day. Have you ever worked at Hallmark? What’s your relationship with Michael Bublé? Shudder.
*This post was originally published on iEatGrass.com.