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What's the first thing that comes to mind when you read the following words: confusing, pagan, Christian, sexist, sacrificial, political, misogynistic, a drunken debauchery, a mating game, violent, literary, a spring ritual, romantic, unrequited love, and capitalistic. You're right - Valentine's Day! Far from the vision that Hallmark and makers of chocolate and growers of roses everywhere would have us believe.

The history of Valentine's Day is lengthy, sometimes brutal, and definitely convoluted. If you do want the graphic details, check out sites such as, Arnie Seipel, 'The Dark Origins of Valentine's Day' or, ‘History of Valentine’s Day’. It's quite interesting and might alter your perception of this day of love.

If you want to keep things pleasant, though, here is a super abbreviated (and interesting) video version:

So, today, despite the sordid history, Valentine's Day symbolizes romance - some love it, and some hate it.

And 'romance' means Valentine’s Day is BIG business in America. , in ‘Total expected Valentine’s Day spending in the United States from 2009 to 2022’, reports that spending is expected to reach approximately 24 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of about 2 billon over 2021. Just over half of the persons surveyed stated they planned to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The most popular gifts were an evening out and jewellery, followed by candy and flowers., ‘The Average American spent almost $164.76 In 2021’ tells us that the average spent was, well, $164.76. That amount was broken down to 54% on a significant other, 17% on family members, 7% to friends, and 6% to children’s classmates. But, let’s not forget the family Fido – 27% of people said they bought gifts for their pets. Oh, yes, if you are wondering, men spend more than women - $11.4 billion by men versus $7.8 billion by women! And, these days, online shopping is king.

But Valentine's Day does bring up fond memories of much simpler times. Who remembers the annual Valentine’s Day party in your school classroom in the 1960’s? It was the best day of the year. In the rural 1960's, we looked forward to any special event with great anticipation. We all brought food – and it did not matter what you brought (some of us had very little to bring; and this was long before we had to worry about allergies and intolerances and all the other food restrictions of today). We made sure that we gave every classmate a Valentine (homemade or store bought). In the morning, we’d decorate our own little envelope to attach to the side of our desk and, in the afternoon, we'd walk up and down the rows and deliver our Valentines and then share the food and open our envelopes which were overflowing with Valentine cards. Such fun, and very little pressure. Of course, we were shallow enough, even in grade school, to look for that special Valentine from our best friend or from our little romantic interest!

Do these Valentines look familiar? (Taken from,, 'Vintage '60's Elementary School Valentine's Cards') I laugh at the word 'vintage'.

I don’t love and I don’t hate Valentine's Day. I dislike the commercialism and the expectations that go along with any Hallmark holiday. And, if you know me, neither I nor my husband were blessed with the ‘romance genes’ which really takes the pressure off! But it is just fine to do a little something on this day. My favourite Valentine's activity is to make cupcakes for all our neighbours – again, everyone has to get one. This year, they are chocolate cherry, with cherry icing and a black forest Whippet cookie on top, delivered with a Valentine card. Then, we'll have a left over as our own little Valentine's celebration. (Who knows? It might be my subconscious way of recreating that Valentine's Day memory from years past.)

So, don't stress if your Valentine's Day is not full of love - remember, in times gone by, 'love' was not even in the equation! You know who loves you by the little things they do every day, not by how much they spend or how much they say they love you on one specific day. (As an aside, have you ever noticed that there is often an inverse correlation between how much money is spent and the actual strength of the relationship? For example, in, 'Couples who have expensive weddings are more likely to get divorced' reveals: "The study found that weddings that cost less than $1,000 show a significant decrease in the likelihood of divorce compared with those who spend over $20,000, increasing the likelihood by 1.6 (times) . . ." I wonder if the same theory applies to Valentine's Day?)

But if you are just a little sad or lonely, remember back to your grade school Valentine's Day party - the biggest day of the year! Think of the excitement of receiving that special Valentine from your bestie or from your crush three rows over and two seats down. Oh, and by the way, will you be my Valentine?


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