For some people, Valentine’s Day is a lovely excuse to let the person you’re with know how much they mean to you. For others, it’s a source of stress and un-met expectations. Still others are reminded of how lonely they are. Me? I choose to opt out—of all of it.
I do believe Valentine’s Day can be nice—if that’s your sort of thing. Sure, it’s a manufactured holiday, but they all are, really—at least the ones where we give gifts. Oh, and President’s Day. That one’s always bothered me too. And while we’re at it . . . Groundhog Day. What does that day do for anyone?
My husband and I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day. We don’t celebrate (or, most of the time, remember) our anniversary either. We don’t give gifts to each other—pretty much ever. Birthdays? Christmas? It’s all completely gift-free around here.
One of the reasons for this is that my husband is absolutely terrible at giving gifts. The worst (and historic) example that I can site is from when we were still dating. The man gave me a set of dishes for Christmas. To be fair, I had admired them when we saw them at Target. But still. Dishes.
Another reason is that, on the flip side, I’m really hard to buy for. Chocolates or other food are not good options because I make weird decisions about when I eat bad stuff and when I want to be “healthy.” I’m also cheap—which makes it really hard for someone who is sharing my bank account to get something for me that I don’t consider a waste. So I can rarely truly enjoy a gift. It always comes with a side dish of guilt or worry. And that makes giving me things super enjoyable.
OK. No gifts. But why don’t we go out to a nice restaurant or do something romantic for Valentine’s Day?
First problem: I think romance is hilarious. Again, going back to when we were dating, any attempt my now-husband made at wooing me was met with an eye-roll, an eyebrow raise, laughter, or some combination thereof.
Second problem: My husband hates pressure. To be fair, I don’t love it either. Valentine’s Day is the epitome of pressure—to do something ‘special,’ to have a good time, to dress up. Inevitably, when I try to do any of these things, it ends up going very, very wrong. On one of the only vacations we’ve taken (also when dating—we learned our lessons early), we tried to find a romantic log cabin. We ended up in what was basically a hotel room that was going to a costume party as a cabin. I got so cold when we were taking our lovely, scenic drive that I turned the heat all the way up, and he was forced to sweat it out. We ended up having fun, but we could have done it all at home for much, much cheaper. And romantic, it was not.
I don’t mean to be the grinch of Valentine’s. If you’re more successful at ‘special,’ by all means, go for it. But I’m here to tell you: you don’t have to. My husband and I do nice things for each other periodically throughout the year. I buy gifts for hubs, and he comes home telling me what he was going to buy until he thought of all the reasons I wouldn’t like it. To me, that’s love. And I feel like we celebrate it every day—just by being together.