Monday, February 14, 2011
Love Letter to Valentine's Day - Because It's Not Christmas
by Laura Bickle
Yep. It's that time of year again. Valentine's Day. My inner cynic rolls its eyes, but my inner romantic digs the chocolate, the presents, and the romance. Valentine's Day is all about reliving romance with one's partner, often recalling milestones in the relationship like first dates, first kisses, proposals...
Heh. Yeah. I'm not going there. Let's stick to Valentine's Day.
Valentine's Day is one of those holidays that one can love one year and loathe the next. And it's odd...though holidays inspire ardor and venom, that's usually a really consistent thing from year to year.
Take Christmas. There are people who love Christmas, who go all-out for that every year. I'm related to a lot of folks who spend weeks decorating, wear Christmas sweaters, and bake every weekend from Thanksgiving until New Year's. Folks who lovingly tape every card they receive on the mantel, fill stockings, and keep eggnog suppliers in business.
Not me. I hate Christmas. I'm the original Grinch. I hate everything about it: the family members stomping their feet, insisting that I MUST travel cross-country on icy roads, regardless of obvious hazards. Tugs of war over who does what at whose house when and what they eat. Doing the holiday over and over again at a variety of houses because everyone is stubborn and only wants THEIR turkey, THEIR way, at THEIR house. Sending presents to people with very specific and expensive wish lists who treat gift givers as personal shoppers...and who can't be bothered with thank-you notes. Overcrowded stores and malls. Lots of demands, no time to fulfill everyone's expectations.
I'm not into it. Every year I just wish I could just take a pass on the madness and have a quiet holiday at home.
Don't get me wrong. I love my family. I'd just much rather have something low-key, low-stress. Go have a cookout with burgers and brats some weekend in spring and play some whiffle ball. But the thing is...Christmas is one of those "mandatory" holidays that people have no issue with twisting your arm into celebrating they way that society/family deems you must. Everything is steeped in..."tradition." Which is code for..."Hey, I can guilt you into doing a bunch of stuff you don't really want to do...'cause this is the way it's always been done."
There are other holidays which are easier. More laid back. If you get a chance to celebrate 'em...great! Sometimes, you have a great time. Other times, not so much. But with holidays like Halloween or Valentine's Day...you can choose to have a quiet dinner at home. You can go out. You can throw a party. Give big gifts. Little gifts. Pass out candy. Send cards to folks you love. Give nothing at all. There's no "right" way to do it. There are no hard and fast traditions to screw up or annoy people with. Anything goes.
And I find that I enjoy those holidays more. Some years, I take a pass. Others...I enjoy planning a night out, or a night in. I look forward to making costumes for Halloween, choosing candy, picking out a nerdtastic Valentine's Day present for my husband.
It's simple. Uncomplicated. It gives me a warm fuzzy.
And that's why I love Valentine's Day.
Posted by Laura Bickle
Labels: Laura Bickle
Writing as Laura Bickle, I'm the author of EMBERS and SPARKS for Pocket Books and THE HALLOWED ONES for HMH Graphia. Writing as Alayna Williams, I'm the author of DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE. More info on my urban fantasy and general nerdiness is here: www.salamanderstales.com