Do You Celebrate Valentine’s Day?

valentines day mailbox

I have a confession to make. In middle school, I hated Valentine’s Day. I hated it so much that my friend Lauren and I made a plan to wear all black on Valentine’s Day. We were determined show everyone just how much this commercial celebration of hokey Hallmark love disgusted us, and in our teenaged minds, wearing dark clothes was, like, a totally huge and powerful statement.

Oi. When I look back at 13-year-old Alicia, I feel a mixture of nostalgia, amusement, and a big desire to give her a hug, a cookie, and a chill pill. But I think part of being 13 is learning about who you are and what you value, and I had to take strong stances about trivial things then in order to learn what it would mean to take a real stand about important issues later in life. Boycotting Valentine’s Day cards and chocolates in middle school made very little impact, but making conscious choices about what industries and values to support with my dollar makes an impact now.

A decade later, I look at Valentine’s Day with the tolerant smile of someone who thinks you’re a little silly but kind of endearing all the same. When you love someone, of course it’s wonderful to share your appreciation. I have no problem with people who want to celebrate Valentine’s Day by buying jewelry, flowers, and chocolate galore–you do you! It’s nice that a day is set aside to remind people to show their love…but I sure hope you show that appreciation year-round as well. Is buying a bouquet of flowers one day a year the be-all-end-all? Or is it more important that you do the dishes every night because you know they hate it, or you leave a note on their car just to say “I love you and you’re awesome” on any given day?

My only real issue with Valentine’s Day is the subtle pressure to equate spending money with showing love. Maybe it’s the radical homemaker in me, but I believe that thoughtful expressions of love, romantic or otherwise, are entirely possible without spending a dime. I do love love, and one of my favorite things to do is remind people how much I appreciate them. I try to do it often but don’t always succeed…so why not treat this day as an opportunity to share? This year, my Valentine’s Day celebration is coming entirely from the heart–and from my overflowing craft supply stash!

valentine what are you waiting for

valentine you make me smile

I have always loved writing letters and collecting all kinds of stationery and cards to make each note special. I have a huge collection of paper and craft supplies that has steadily grown over the years, so for the past year, I have been on a stationery-buying ban. Granted, I have slipped a few times (letterpressed cards are so cute!), but I have succeeded in paring down my stash quite a bit. Technically I guess I did spend money awhile ago buying all these supplies, but because there was no outlay in February 2013, I still feel a sense of frugal victory.

Valentine’s Day 2013 moved my stash minimizing project forward by leaps and bounds. To make custom valentines, I used plain white cardstock, stickers, origami paper, pinking shears, and some cards with silly phrases that I received as a stocking stuffer. My collection of Anne Taintor postcards featuring vintage images and cheeky phrases about love and sex made funny, perfectly suitable cards for friends.

While digging through my stash, I found plenty of cards I’ve amassed over the years from various artists and presses. One of my favorite cards came from Arthur’s Plaid Pants (“Much love for your mustache, and of course, your beard”), which features many creative cards about love across state lines and (facial) hair colors. Not to turn this post into even more of a confessional about middle school Alicia, but in 7th grade, I earned the nickname Popeye for my blazin’ bicep guns. I saw this inside joke reflected in another great card made by Sapling Press that says “I love you like Popeye loves spinach”, so that one is going out this year too.

valentine much love for your moustache

Making and writing cards for friends brought a huge amount of joy to my holiday preparations–and organization to my craft drawer. My other concessions to Valentine’s Day will include pestering Kerry to see what kind of amazing dessert she whips up to celebrate and eating some decadent dark chocolate that may or may not be heart shaped and peanut butter filled.

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Are there certain things you like to buy or make to show others you care? The holiday is almost upon us, so I’d love some more ideas to celebrate in a low-key, non-consumer way.

About Humble Foodie

While we both love to eat well, life as AmeriCorps volunteers doesn’t afford us the budget to try every new restaurant and type of cuisine. With many post-graduate expenses and limited financial resources, what’s a foodie to do? The answer is here, at The Humble Foodie. Instead of spending our hard-earned cash paying other people to cook for us, we’re spending as frugally as possible making delicious meals at home.
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8 Responses to Do You Celebrate Valentine’s Day?

  1. I’m loving those cards that you posted! I think your approach is a level headed one. Especially since it includes indulging in crafting and some love listening! 🙂

    On my end, traditionally A and I haven’t done anything grand or spectacular on the spending front for Valentines. Both of us have a similar opinion to Valentines in that spending crazy amounts isn’t the way we should our love to each-other. When I started dating A, I made it clear that I wasn’t the type of gal who expected some fairy tale gift experience with multiple Tiffany boxes. I’m of the Let’s Plan Something Together camp – it always feels so much more special that way & we get to do something that we’re both looking forward to. This year we’re seeing a concert on Valentines night and then over the weekend celebrating with a group of couples at a favorite restaurant. I like the idea of celebrating as a group, cause it’s about loving our friends, too!

    That said, this year I was a little sneaky and bought one thing for A and I to open together on V-Day as a treat for both of us (a hook up for our record player to our stereo system) so that we can finally play A’s vintage collection of Simon & Garfunkel albums. I can’t wait to cook away in the kitchen with those sweet tunes in the background!

    • Music in the kitchen makes such a big difference. My dad gave my mom and I a joint Christmas gift a few years ago of a Bose radio/CD player/wireless laptop hookup that he installed under one of the kitchen cabinets. It is so much better to rock out while cooking and not have to worry that my laptop is going to fall off the flour jar where I have precariously balanced it!

      I like the “Let’s Plan Something Together” approach. Focusing on experiences you can share rather than material gifts that one person gives to the other (usually the guy to the girl) is a wonderful way to build a relationship without spending lots of money. The group dinner sounds like a blast! I read a post on Career Girl Network last week about hosting a dinner party for your single girlfriends on Vday–same idea of celebrating friends, and a great excuse to all have a fancy dinner! I hope you have a delightful and low-key holiday with A. What band/musician are you seeing in concert?

      • That is way sweet of your Dad! I’ve been scolded multiple times by the King of Caution (Arturo) for my poor placement of electronic devices. I can’t blame him, the other day I had the hair dryer resting in the sink.

        The dinner party idea is genius. I recall my first few Valentines in the city, I got together with all my single ladies for a girls night out with lots of dancing circles to celebrate our fabulousness.

        This Thursday we’re seeing Joy Orbison at Smart Bar. He’s a UK based producer and DJ that we both enjoy, and he almost never comes to the states. I’m going to have my dancing shoes on! And since it will be a late night, I secured a work-from-home deal for Friday, which I’m hoping will abate some anxiety when we’re still at the bar at 2 AM. Catch me on Friday and see how I feel then…. 🙂

      • Alicia says:

        Ahhh the work from home is clutch. I hope you have a wonderful time!

  2. Love all this…the cards and your attitude. I try to be on top of my game enough to send Valentines to my girlfriends…looks like it’s going to be paperless post this year, since work kind of got away from me, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

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