Yup. You read that correctly. Some will probably think I’m crazy because this is a major holiday in the greeting card industry (a few months ago I even started painting my Valentine’s Day collection), but somewhere between avoiding hearts in all my designs and coming up with content that didn’t make my muscles clench, the hypocrisy sunk in. I’ve never been a drinker of the Valentine’s Day kool-aid so why would I feel compelled to put my creative energy toward it? Why would I inundate my customers, readers, friends and family with hearts and kisses and cliches when I’ve spoken so vehemently against what I believe to be an over-commercialized, money-hungry holiday?
I haven’t always felt so strongly about this day, but even in elementary school the holiday brought it’s own fair share of anxiety. Raise your hand if you remember the terror of putting little addressed cards in your classmate’s decorated boxes and hoping no one would make fun of you for liking someone. Or in high school, the dreaded moment in 2nd period when student aids handed out Candygrams to boyfriends and girlfriends while you desperately tried to look nonchalant in your glorious singlehoodom. In college Valentine’s Day swooped in causing awkwardness where it was already present in abundance: dating. We've only gone on a few dates, do we have to "celebrate"? What does that even mean? Does he think I expect dinner, chocolates, roses and vows of devotion even though I don't remember his last name? Should I ask him what his last name is again? What if he suggests going to the cliche Italian place with the bad pasta where all the frat boys take their dates? I don't think I could not roll my eyes... Maybe this is all just me and my anxiety-ridden youth, but I’m pretty sure I’ve heard at least one other person express these sentiments in my 31 years.
But my reasons of all reasons: why all the pressure to express your love on just one day?
Why is this one night special and not the other nights that we go out with each other specifically to spend an evening together? If I make an effort to do my hair and put on clothes that I don’t have to easily nurse a 5 month old in, it’s a special freakin’ night! And out of all of the other times we’ve said “I love you” why is it extra special this one day? Because I bought a cookie that spelled it out in chocolate chips? Hard pass. For me, the most memorable moments in my love life have been in the ordinary moments, without pomp and circumstance and definitely without the stamp of because it's Valentine's Day so I have to.
And I know you’re thinking I sound jaded, like I’ve had one too many terrible Valentine’s Day experiences and have become embittered in the process. But to be honest with you, I can’t remember a single thing I’ve done good, bad or otherwise on any past Valentine’s Day. Other than the general anxieties from my youth, Valentine’s Day is just a blur of department stores decorating too early and unnecessary pressure to spend money under the guise of love. I’m sure the holiday was begun with good intentions, but now Valentine’s Day has become a cliche, an overdone spectacle that causes more feelings of guilt and inadequacy than love and togetherness. Haven’t we all moved past this?
Love doesn't have a monetary value. It's not one day of trying.
I may be alone in my feelings toward Valentine’s Day so my cards are, as always, there for you. If this is the day you express yourself ignore me and do it all the way! Write it out and tell the person how you feel. Use your words, they’re more powerful and more sincere than anything you’ll find in a store.
I opened my business to foster meaningful connections between people and I would feel like a sham trying to get you to buy Valentine’s Day cards when I don’t believe in the holiday. If you’re cocking your head to the side thinking, “uh she has Valentine’s Day cards...” I do carry love cards, but I stock them year round. And I am featuring one Valentine’s Day card that I created with Matthew Grier, but I think you’ll see by the front of the card that I stay true to my feelings toward this “holiday.”