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Valentine’s Day

photo by megan nelson
Photo of a bouquet with flowers at the shop

Critics accuse Valentine’s Day of being a “Hallmark Holiday” intended to serve a capitalist market but those who turn their noses up at Cupid’s bow might be missing a much bigger mark.

Feb. 14 is a day long-known for romance, cliché gift giving, and grand gestures. The foundation is simple, love. This day is set apart by long standing tradition to prompt us to look outside of ourselves at who has contributed to the joy in our lives and express our gratitude, unabashedly–whether that’s your romantic partner, your best friend, your mom or a coworker.

The eye-catching isles filled with oversized stuffed animals and heart-shaped chocolate boxes represent the commercialized surface layer. They’re an option for gifting and a reminder of the season but they don’t encompass a holiday that dates to the year 496AD. That’s 1,527 years of humans around the world, on this day, setting aside time to focus on the connections they shared with their loved ones. The holiday at its core has nothing to do with the kind of things you can buy with money.

Unattainable aesthetics projected by social media, Hollywood, and yes, ultimately, capitalism- have muddied the waters but these false projections haven’t stripped Valentine’s Day of its sincerity.

“We go out if we can but not the day-of because of crowds” -Paul Bigelow of Buford, when asked how he and his wife of 55 years celebrate the big day.

Jennifer Johnson of Flowery Branch has been married 20 years and says that although they celebrate the holiday, they have four kids and tend to stay in. “I buy chocolates for my husband and I get something for the kids, too!”

“I’m doing ‘Galentine’s Day’ this year,” said Briana Ellington of Oakwood. “I just want to do something special with my daughter and the women who have made this past year so much better than it would have been without them.”

No matter how you celebrate- or who you celebrate with- remember that taking some time to appreciate the pleasant things in life is an act of self-care! Everyone deserves to embrace joy and that doesn’t necessitate gifts, it only requires that you take the opportunity to show you care.

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Megan Nelson, Staff Writer
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Valentine’s Day