Do you dread Valentine’s day?

February 14th is approaching and the TV is filled with the usual adverts for Valentine’s-related tat. But there is a difference this year – deference is shown to the credit crunch. There is a sharp trend towards cut-price items. Sainsbury’s, for example, is running ads for cheap cava and Thornton’s chocolates for a tenner, while M&S, Tesco and Waitrose are all battling it out in the Valentine’s meal deal stakes. Even my local pub is pushing a special three course meal for two for £14.

For a while during my 20s I believed Valentine’s was – at least in part – about receiving a bouquet delivered to your workplace, so it was clear to everyone how much your partner worshipped you. For some reason I was convinced that if s/he didn’t do this then s/he didn’t really love you. How shallow! I must have been extraordinarily dense and insecure. I did receive a dozen red roses once but only after dropping blatant hints, and the gentleman in question and I parted ways soon after, so it was hardly a display of true love! Looking back I am appalled at myself, even though I did send him presents too.

Some people boycott Valentine’s Day altogether and I can see why. Comedian Richard Herring started St Skeletor’s Day a few years ago, which is held on 15th February each year. It’s a bit of a joke really, but the message behind it is a serious one. It criticises the blatant consumerism of Valentine’s Day, the pressure many people feel to spend out on expensive gifts for their loved ones and calls for the ‘destruction of luurve and saucy greeting cards’.

Should the aspiring frugalist follow suit and kick Valentine’s into touch? DJ and I still celebrate it. We always exchange cards – I think I made him an appalling one last year from a piece of sketch book paper, coloured in with colouring pencils. But on principle he never buys me flowers for Valentine’s. He insists he dislikes all the commercialism, as well as paying ridiculous sums for flowers that are cheaper the rest of the year. For once I believe him. He’s a romantic but also a stubborn sort who hates being told what to do, whether by yours truly or the commercial Valentine’s machine, and I have learned to respect this.

We never go out on 14th February either. In the past I have ventured out and found the restaurants crowded, the tables too close together and the service slow. So instead DJ cooks a romantic dinner at home, and occasionally we go out for a meal out a week or so later which feels more romantic.

When you’re single, Valentine’s can be a drag – smooching couples seem to be everywhere exchanging lavish gifts and sickeningly showy displays of affection. I used to dread it all when I was a singleton, although at least I could rely on good old Dad to send me an ‘anonymous’ card. I remember getting very excited when I was a teenager and Dad insisted a florist’s van had delivered a single orchid for me while I was at school. I swallowed his story hook, line and sinker, wondering who the admirer could be. Of course it dawned on me later that it was Mum & Dad who’d bought the orchid, not a mystery suitor. At first I was a bit disappointed, but then I realised it was a kind thing to do and the fact it was from my parents meant more than if it had been from some creepy school boy!

Will you be defying the credit crunch and celebrating Valentine’s Day in style? Or are you a devotee of St Skeletor’s Day?

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7 Responses to Do you dread Valentine’s day?

  1. Christine says:

    Valentine\’s Day has become another commercialised event like Easter and Christmas – another seasonal giftmas day without meaning to part the consumer from dosh. I\’m very cynical aren\’t I? But then I\’m out of shopping for any major festival on the grounds of no money, the seasonal offerings are mainly badly designed tat that won\’t last and usually if kept just make for more dusting. I don\’t have a problem with buying a member of the family a new kettle or ironing board for a birthday present or for Christmas if the last one is bust. But buying into the idea of spending money on something just for keeping the shops in business is not my idea of the way to go.

  2. piper says:

    Christine! I thought buying irons boards as a present was the sort of thing men do to wind their wives up! I think I\’d rather get nothing than an ironing board, but then I hate ironing! Agree with you on the commercialisation front though. Can\’t see why people can\’t still celebrate Valentine\’s or any other festival just by making something nice or just exchanging a cheap or homemade card.

  3. Christine says:

    Piper if your job requires ironing of clothes as necessary and the pay is good, then an ironing board is a useful item! As for home made gifts – fine if you have skill of hand but you still have to pay for the materials. Sure I made Xmas puds and mince pies as ever for Christmas but I bought hand crafted cards from someone with artistic skill. On the other hand, the family potter\’s gifts are much in demand. I\’ve just had to buy another kitchen recycling bucket for another member of the family who composts vegetable peelings – by request for Xmas or birthday. And no I can\’t make a suitable galvanised bucket I\’m afraid!

  4. EXballroomer says:

    Valentines day has become a farce. The idea is that you are supposed to send a greeting anonymously to tell someone that you fancy them. Its NOT for people who are already married or in a relationship, to be forced into buying presents and making extravagant gestures to someone that should already know you love them. I know some couples that really couldnt care less and fell out of love years ago. They just plod on in life for whatever reason. But come valentines day they still buy expensive cards and presents and go out for special meals etc because they feel they have to. Its lost all its real meaning and like everything else its manipulated by businesses to see how much money they can make. I loved my husband dearly when he was alive, but we made a decision early on in our relationship not to fall into that trap. We didnt have to prove anything, and our relationship was 10 times better than some who made a big meaningless show of it. We showed our love all year round and bought each other gifts when we felt we wanted to say I love you and not when a business venture dictated.

  5. gordon says:

    bring back st.valentines day or are you all just a bunch of spineless carpets,doesn\’t anyone out there have the balls to stop playing the victim and stand up for all the things we have lost and will lose to this staasi/nazi state mentality and before we are all barcoded

  6. rachel says:

    being a sad loney person like myself I would of loved to have someone do some romantic jesture for me.

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