In my 16 years of life, I can’t remember a single moment when Valentine’s Day was my favorite holiday.
I certainly recall loving the classic holidays: Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and my birthday, of course, which just so happens to be Barack Obama’s as well—I’m convinced the whole country celebrates both of us on August 4.
But Valentine’s Day has never reached the top of my favorite holidays list.
In elementary school, I did like decorating those cheap, brown bags with glitter and paper cutout hearts so that my peers could shower me with corny valentines. The best one I ever gave out to my classmates was a bag of Pop Rocks candy along with a pink card that read: “You rock!”
I’m not saying I liked the day itself; being the typical elementary school kid I was, I just enjoyed the excuse to eat bags and bags and bags of candy.
The evolution of the day continued in middle school when giving Valentine’s Day candy grams—little plastic bags filled with mini chocolate hearts and a “heartfelt note”—became the new norm. The day became more selective, as I recall only a few people in my homeroom receiving them.
The Community Service Club sold those grams for one dollar each and distributed them on the morning of February 14. The few so-called ‘serious’ couples would buy each other grams and explain how much they liked each other on the notes. Some boys would send them anonymously to that one special person they were too shy to talk to. Others—those were either particularly desperate for candy, or just embarrassed with their lack of valentines—would send themselves grams.
I never resorted to that level of loneliness, luckily, but I did send a few grams to my friends, who gave me some in return. Still, I felt envious, as any other single middle school girl would, when the cute guy in math class gave a valentine to someone else and not me.
When high school came around, the lack of excitement from my single peers on Valentine’s Day was a bit of a shock. Valentine’s Day grams were gone, and no one even gave each other candy! I guess we just felt a little awkward being single on a day that we finally realized was only meant for couples.
Somehow, the day that began as a way for little kids to exchange candy or handmade cards grew into a Hallmark holiday and an excuse for those in relationships to give each other Lindt chocolates and bouquets of red roses. I saw no point in designating an entire day for this when couples could just as easily perform these grand gestures on any of the other 364 days of the year.
But this year, I say we make the best of February 14. Let’s deviate from the traditional view on “the day of love” and finally make the holiday worthwhile for everyone, including those of us who are single.
Instead of sitting at home indulging in movies like Titanic or The Fault in Our Stars (admit it, we’ve all been there) and feeling sorry for ourselves, this year let’s gather our best friends and have a good time! Let’s see who can eat the most Sweethearts in one minute. Belt out all the lyrics to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” while dancing around the house together. Or have a good laugh while binge-watching Friends—all 10 seasons are on Netflix!
And if this holiday is supposed to be about love, why not celebrate the love we have for our family and friends, too? Let’s make them dinner—even if we only know how to do Kraft Mac & Cheese. Or we can call our grandmas and thank them for baking those delicious, signature chocolate chip cookies we love.
Let’s help our little siblings with their spelling homework, or better yet, ditch the work and agree to build that snowman. Instead of buying bouquets of flowers, let’s spend that money on heart-shaped squeaky toys for the dog! We can use this holiday to appreciate everyone we love in our lives—not just a significant other, for those of you in relationships—and let each person know how much we care.
Of course, if you are in a relationship, go ahead and have dinner where you had your first date, insist that you really do love him or her more, get into an argument over who loves whom the most, eat Fro-Yo while strolling through Harvard Square, and end the night with a cute kiss on the cheek—or more than that, depending on how serious the relationship is…
Just don’t forget to celebrate with everyone else you love, too. This year, let’s make Valentine’s Day number one on the list of best holidays—or at least in the top five.