Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day: Commercial hype or romantic opportunity?

by Manda Sanko

Valentine's Day is probably one of the most over-emphasized holidays when it comes to Hallmark, the media, and even those around us, but it is also one of the most romantic holidays too. Most people at one point in their life have muttered "I hate Valentine's Day," either because a significant other does not choose to celebrate it, or there is no significant other to speak of. Others have even come out with the "Valentine's Day is just another holiday created by Hallmark to make money" comment as well. In reality, this is far from the truth.

The history of Valentine's Day can actually be traced all the way back to 270 A.D. It was at this time that Valentine, a bishop, was marrying young couples secretly since the Roman Emperor Claudius II had banned marriage. When the Emperor found out about this he had Valentine arrest. While he was in jail awaiting execution, he miraculously restored the sight of his jailer's daughter and wrote her a farewell letter signed "From Your Valentine." As a result, Valentine became a Saint and an overseer of an annual festival in which young men would offer young women greetings of affection, on February 14th. This romantic holiday has been around for many years, and definitely was no invented by Hallmark, though they did take advantage of it.

No one should need or wait for one specific day to show loved ones how much they are appreciated and cared for, but it is nice to have one day to give and receive such feelings of affection. No one has designated this the day of spending. There is no need to go out and by expensive jewelry, fancy gadgets, flowers, chocolates, cards, etc. unless you actually want to. No one is dragging you by your hair into the stores to purchase something; rather you do so if you choose. This day is not about who gets the best gift or the biggest surprise, it is about being with loved ones and letting them know just how loved they are. Sure, things have gotten a little out of hand and the day has turned into a bit of a commercial hype, but it is definitely still a romantic opportunity. Kiss, cuddle, whatever you want to do, just spend time with someone you love. It does not matter whether you stay home, go out, spend money, or make your gifts from scratch (those are usually the best ones anyway), we all just want some love.

Cook dinner, do the dishes, take him/her out, make a card, love coupons, rent a movie, go see a matter what you do, big or small, just do it with someone you love. Take advantage of the opportunity in front of you. It is not about shiny red hearts, though they are nice, it is about the heart in your chest. Follow it.

Just because you are single is no reason to hate Valentine's Day either. I understand that with the whole hearts and love theme going around it is a little difficult for a single person to make it through the day, let alone enjoy it...but why? Valentine's Day is about love, not sex. You love your parents, friends, family, etc., so make sure they know it! Spend time with all of your closest loved ones because this is not "significant other day".

As I have explained, Valentine's Day goes both ways-commercial hype and romantic opportunity. Guys, if I were you, I would definitely take advantage of this romantic opportunity. If you are not usually a romantic type, it is a great way to surprise your loved one(s). Girls, I also urge you to take advantage of it because you must give love to receive love.  I want you to use your ROMANTIC OPPORTUNITY to your advantage and turn it into something great so that it ends up on the news and part of the whole COMMERCIAL HYPE.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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