Oh Valentine's Day, you weird, polarizing holiday. We love to hate you because you make us feel so many things. If you love Valentine's Day, you're corny. If you hate it, you're bitter. If you have no feelings about it well then what the fuck is wrong with you. You just can't win. If, like me, you've been seeing those red and pink decorations at Target since December, you are just over it.
As a single girl who has always been single on Valentine's Day, my feelings towards the holiday have ranged from bitter and jaded ("Get those candy hearts out of my face before I choke you with them") to apathy ("Meh, wine's on sale, so I guess don't have to feel so bad about drinking it alone) to moderate not-hate ("Let's go do the single ladies dance at this holiday-themed party!). Real talk: if you're single, Valentine's Day kind of sucks. It's just not built for single people, and when we have created our own traditions, they're kind of lame. Like calling it Singles Awareness Day. Did no one realize that the acronym was SAD? Well. Ok.
Personally, singleness aside, the day feels commercial and cheap and is a really generic way to tell the people in your life "Hey, I like you. Didn't have to say it yesterday, but since it's today, here's some candy and a card that someone else wrote that I also wrote in."
I'd like to think that I make the people in my life feel special and loved all year, but I guess if I didn't, tomorrow's a day to seek penance. All is forgotten with a Vosges chocolate bar after all. At least for me.
Life's too short to hate a holiday that is promoted without shame or sense for a solid three months. So this year, instead of going off on all of the reasons I don't enjoy Valentine's Day, I'm going to share some alternatives to celebrate yourself, your partner/spouse, family and friends. Because as holidays tend to be, they're not about you. They're about celebrating yourself and the people in your life and when you take the focus off of your negative feelings, Valentine's Day is way less annoying (but it still is annoying).
Hope you enjoy these Valentine's day alternatives and spend sometime telling yourself and the people in your life that you love them more than Vosges chocolate bars. Or whatever you love as much as I love Vosges.
Galentine's Day Google+ Hangout- TODAY 2PM EST
I still don't understand Google+ and its purpose but I have participated in a hangout in which Thomas Keller cooked a roast chicken (his recipe by the way is THE roast chicken recipe, if you're into that) and it was superfun. It was like he was cooking the chicken in my house and answering my questions right to my face! Nevermind that they were questions that other people had asked, Tom was talking to me.
Anyway, Amy Poehler's online collaborative, Smart Girls, is hosting a Galentine's Day Hangout (aka live video/chat) to answer questions, talk about Valentine's Day experiences and what Galentine's Day means for us.
What? You don't know what Galentine's Day is? OK Leslie Knope would be honored to explain it to you.
The Valentine's Day experience seems to be harder on women for so many reasons, but mostly because there is is still this outdated, disturbing expectation: on this day, February 14, if you're a woman, a man is supposed to do nice things for you. If you don't have a man, regardless of how successful, happy and stable you are, not having one on Valentine's Day somehow devalues you as a woman and makes you...not special. That's so not true, but I think a lot of women can relate to feeling like that when they find themselves single on Valentine's Day. No woman should feel like that ever and that's why Galentine's Day is so great. It's not about saying "hey men, you suck!" It's more like "hey ladies, you're awesome, let's celebrate that!"
If you can't tell, I'm am Amy Poehler's biggest fan girl right now. She is a beautiful, intelligent peacock of a lady and she does a bang up job of spreading positive vibes and empowering women and young girls to be kind, fearless, powerhouse leaders, simply by being yourself. Operation Nice is one of the Smart Girls web series that's been turned into a campaign this February as an effort to "Spread the Love" and use the internet for good. If you have kids, it's a great platform to demonstrate philanthropy. Check it out and then try to tell me that you DON'T love Amy too.
I read a blog post a couple of months ago (which I now can't find!) and loved the way that this mom was able to really clearly identify, respect and appreciate the different ways her family members expressed love. I have never been a hugger-it's just not the way I show people that I like them. I send mail, I bake, I'll help with a project, but I don't hug.
The Love Languages test is a quick test that, if answered truthfully, can tell you a little about yourself and if you and your friends and family take it, it'll help you learn a little more about each other. You can take it if you're single, married or on behalf of one of your kids if you're still trying to figure that out. I think respecting and appreciating your love language and that of others is one of the nicest ways you can honor someone. I stumbled across the test over at We the Rills Say I Do during this week's SITS Girls Challenge (hi to those of you who are visiting!).
What's more generic than heart garland on Valentine's Day? Almost nothing. But this. THIS garland is different! I found this over at Mabey She Made It, another SITS challenge find and well, I just love it. It's personal and handmade and can be for any holiday or just because. The blogger, Lisa, even provided an alternative to using a sewing machine because she's just a smart lady like that. This earns extra points in my book because a) there's always more than one way to do something and b) I can barely wield a needle/thread to sew buttons back onto my J.Crew cardigans.
Those are only four things that I've found, but I'm sure you all have some other really great not-necessarily-Valentine's-Day ideas/projects/activities/ways to celebrate uniquely. Tell me in the comments and well, go get your Galentine's Day on!
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