Why I Love Valentine’s Day – And You Should Too

Eden Amberber, Co-Editor-in-Chief

When I was growing up, Valentine’s Day was really only about one thing: candy. Every year, on Feb. 14, insane amounts of candy not fit for an elementary schooler’s bloodstream gave me a sugar rush. But, it wasn’t only the sugar high that riled me up as a child. The holiday made me full of anticipation.

Year after year, I’d wake up in the morning and watch as my father walked into the house with his hands full with a bouquet of flowers and a large heart shaped box filled with chocolates for my mother. He would then pick out two roses from the bouquet, one for me and one for my little sister. Then he’d hand both of us miniature versions of my mother’s heart shaped chocolates. Later that night, we’d go out to dinner. Although some see Valentine’s Day as a holiday specifically for couples, it was never that way for me. For my family, it’s tradition. I always knew that on that day I was loved and I was special. I know it’s sappy, maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic, but Valentine’s Day is a day that should be cherished. It’s baffling to see the amount of negativity that surrounds the annual holiday. It’s a reminder for individuals to tell everyone in their lives, romantic or not, how much they love them.

Brown paper sandwich bags may represent disappointment to some. But, not to me. In elementary school, I fashioned mine into a fantastical mailbox for valentines. My hands dripped with Elmer’s glue, scraps of pink, purple and red construction paper garnished the floor, and loose glitter adorned my hair as I meticulously worked on my creation. Then, I spent hours at the convenience store agonizing over picking the perfect Valentine’s theme set for my cards and picking out the perfect candy to go with them. It was as if the candy I chose and the cards I picked spoke to who I was. It was like I was planning the elementary school version of an extravagant wedding.

Eventually, I think we all grew out of this enchanted phase of our childhood. Over time, Valentine’s Day quickly started meaning something completely different. Now many of my peers have started to define Valentine’s Day as a sort of scorecard. One point if you’re in a relationship on the day. Another point for a greeting card. Another point for chocolate. Another for roses. A whooping ten points if your significant other walks through the door with jewelry or a huge stuffed bear. It’s not surprising, especially since companies like Hallmark, Zales and Ghiradelli blast this ideal as soon as the new year rolls around. The commercialization of Valentine’s day is a common critique among the anti-Valentine’s Day bunch. It’s true, Valentine’s Day is commercialized. But not as much, or even as close to other holidays. Easter, for example, tends to have more to do with Cadbury chocolates, Peeps and egg hunts than it does about Jesus rising from the dead. Commercialization is expected. But, outside of this commercialization, the meaning of Valentine’s Day cannot be lost. Valentine’s Day is more than just the celebration of romantic love. It’s a celebration of all kinds of love, whether it be familial, romantic, or oneself. It’s a day to look back, examine and realize just how many people in your life love you. It’s a chance to appreciate them and all that they have done for you. It’s also a day for you to appreciate how great you are and how many people you love. It’s a day where you can forget about all the parts of your life where that make you feel unloved – and remind yourself you are.