Why I don’t need Hallmark

Last night, I read a PostSecret that said, “There are a million reasons why I completely despise Valentine’s Day but not having a valentine has never been one of them.”

For those of you who don’t know, PostSecret is a community art project where people anonymously mail postcards containing their secrets in to Frank Warren, the project’s creator. Some of the cards are posted on the project’s blog, and some are printed in his series of books.

Often, I feel as though I can relate to the secrets expressed on those cards, and I’m sure some of the other thousands of daily visitors to the blog can as well. Last night was no exception, and although I don’t have a million reasons—just a few—that card pinpointed my sentiments about Valentine’s Day.

Every year, Feb. 14 comes around and, regardless of whether I’m in a relationship or enjoying time on my own, my shoulders tense up a little and my outlook that day is a little darker.

The excessive commercialization of religious holidays, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter and virtually every other holiday, religious or otherwise, has been discussed to death. But I’m describing my reasons for hating on Valentine’s Day, and it’s worth mentioning. As a child, I delighted in carefully writing out a valentine card for all the 30 or so kids in my class. Our teachers gave us cinnamon hearts and little candy with sayings like “Be Mine” written on them, that always tasted like chalk. I was ight and loving it.

Entering high school, Valentine’s Day changed and it was no longer the friendly, all-inclusive holiday it had once been. With the introduction of hormones came the stress of Valentine’s Day gift-giving etiquette.

My turning point happened in high school one year, on Feb. 13, when a friend asked me what I had purchased insert-boyfriend’sname- here for Valentine’s Day. Struck with the horrifying realization that it was the next day and I had almost missed it, I quickly set to work deciding what I could buy my boyfriend to show him how much he meant to me.

Bad girlfriend? Maybe. But my animosity for Valentine’s Day was born.

The day adds stress to relationships, and I don’t see the logic in being able to buy someone something extravagant and unnecessary to tell them you love them.

While I am a stronger advocate of the homemade gift, I still fail to understand why I need a specific day to tell me when to show someone that I care. Isn’t that what anniversaries are for? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not down on love. I love love. I just don’t need Hallmark and everyone else telling me specifically when to show it. I do have plans for Wednesday, and they involve fondue, some friends, and a board game called Scrabble. But for me, all relationships aside, be they friendly or otherwise, it will be a day just like any other day and a party just like any other party.

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