How I really feel about Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day means different things to different people.  For some it’s romantic, for others it’s a dreadful “holiday”.  I think it’s all a matter of perspective combined with your own personal history of traumatizing Valentine’s Day experiences.  I started working as a florist when I was 16 years old so I was in the business of Valentine’s Day fairly early in my life.  It was always more of a work-day than a love-fest for me.  

{A bitter history}  In high school I worked long hours in the days leading up to the holiday filling water tubes and making rose arrangements, but after all of this flower-prep I still could not get my boyfriend to buy me one of those darned overpriced carnations they sold at school.  Valentine’s Day definitely felt like more of a chore in my younger days.  Add to this the time a customer told me that he’d buy one arrangement for his wife and “another one for his girlfriend”–biting my tongue was definitely part of my j-o-b and Valentine’s Day was starting to get gross.  The bloom was off the rose.

{On the sweeter side}  I can remember being 10 or 11 years old when my dad came home with a dozen red roses in a vase for my mom and 2 vases with a half-dozen roses for my sister and me.  The impact of receiving those flowers is still fresh in my memory.  I can recall how grown-up I felt having them in my room.  Several years later when I was in high school my father gave me Adam Sandler’s What the Hell Happened to Me? on cassette tape as a valentine.  I guess my point is that it’s clearly the thought that counts. Every year I get a Valentine’s Day card from my uncle–often the girliest of girlie cards…like with red glitter roses or ballerinas (I’m thinking they don’t make Valentine’s Day cards for ‘a great niece’ who is older than 9!)–and I think that makes Valentine’s Day a little more special.

{Even Sweeter}  Forty years ago my parents got engaged on Valentine’s Day so for them I think of it as kind of an “extra” anniversary they share each year.  On August 21st this year they will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.  I think that’s pretty darn sweet.

{Present day}  As I’ve gotten older (and more specifically since I’ve stopped working at a flower shop on Valentine’s Day!) I’ve softened up a bit on the whole Valentine’s thing.  I also found a pretty sweet valentine in my husband so that makes it easier to embrace the ooey-gooey-ness that’s required to truly acknowledge this holiday.  He makes me smile with my heart.

{Valentine’s Day Pep Talk}  I encourage you to look at this Valentine’s Day not as a florist’s holiday or a creation of the greeting card companies, but rather as a day to affirm to those you love that you’ve got a little extra sweetness to share.  Make a romantic dinner at home; crack open a bottle of bubbly; share a box of chocolates; send a Valentine to your mother-in-law; get “the expenssive” take-out from all the way across town–just do something! 

What are your Valentine’s Day plans?  I’m going to make a nice dinner and sew up a few large holes in Dave’s favorite old sweater.  I’m a terrible seamstress so he will really know that my heart was in it!  Here are a few of my tips on how to order flowers for your valentine (just in case you haven’t done anything sweet yet).

Something sweet I got for my sweet.  A strawberry fruit tart from Chef’s Corner in Williston.  Deee-lishh!

Yup, you guessed it…these are Valentine’s Day cards from my uncle.  Yup, I save them.

And a pic of Dave and me at UVM in 1997 (about a year and a half before we started dating).


  • Jackie

    February 14, 2011 at 11:05am ·

    Love today’s post! xoxo

  • alison

    February 14, 2011 at 11:18am ·

    Thanks, Jackie! I hope you have a nice Valentine’s Day!

  • Kate

    February 14, 2011 at 8:38pm ·

    This year’s Valentine’s Day took the cake for me. Not because I have an awesome boyfriend that promises to splurge on me (we’re celebrating later this week) but because I got the CUTEST handmade valentine from my 2 1/2 year old niece. Mommy helped a little but all the scribbles, glitter (it’s still on my pants) and stickers are all the product of my little bug. I love handmade gifts but this is a precious gift.

    (I can’t post pictures on Facebook or Twitter because my parents in Florida haven’t gotten their card yet, and I want them to be surprised.)

  • alison

    February 15, 2011 at 8:27am ·

    I love that your Valentine’s day was made special by someone other than your “valentine”. By the way, that glitter will probably be on your pants for the rest of your life–a sweet reminder!

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