Thursday, February 13, 2014

In Love With Valentine's Day

From Cheryl's Writing Crate

Valentine's Day is nearly here, and though for most it symbolizes a day for sweethearts to celebrate their love to one another, I say it's a day of celebrating who and what we love most--regardless of whether it's our spouse, partner, best friend, pet, child or muse!

Personally, I think Valentine's Day gets a bum rap!  People who are tired of running out to spend money on yet another "Hallmark" occasion are frustrated with the spin that gets thrown at us by the world of consumer marketing so that we might take note and shell out a few hard-earned bucks on cards, candy and other sweet trinkets to make this day a memorable one.

If you love what Valentine's Day stands for (or could stand for)--celebrating the people and things you love in life--why not mark the occasion by dedicating your time and energy to just 5 ways you can enjoy this day without spending big bucks or ridiculous oodles of time making it special and memorable?

Here are the five ways that this here writer, mother and baking enthusiast plan on celebrating heart day this year:

  • Write a "love letter" to myself!  OK, stop rolling your eyes!  I know, I know--sounds corny, right?  Well, maybe so, but as I approach my 50th birthday this spring, I'm going to kick off Valentine's Day by writing a letter from me to me in my journal about all the things I admire about myself, have enjoyed doing this past year, and perhaps a few special things I hope to accomplish (both personally and professionally) in the upcoming year.  If we can't validate our own best qualities and attributes on Valentine's Day--then when?

  • I love buying children's Valentine's cards (the ones you can pick up at Wal-mart or a drugstore for $3.99) and passing them out to neighbors, friends and co-workers.  It reminds me and them of those carefree days when we filled a brown paper lunch bag with dozens of Valentine cards from our classmates.   I even leave them for the mailman and drive-thru bank attendants.

  • Baking and cooking are definite passions of mine, so each year on Valentine's Day I find a new cookie recipe and surprise my kids with it for an after school treat.  Last year I did a chocolate fondue with lots of fruits, pretzels, and even cereal mixes.  This year I am making caramel dipped apples with all the fixings like peanut butter cups, M & Ms and cinnamon chips.

  • Pay it Forward.  I'll never forget the time I went to pay a toll on our local Newport bridge and much to my delight was told that the car in front of me had paid my toll!  It was only a $2 payment but the gesture felt like $200!  I love surprising people with a little "pick me up", especially during the drab days of winter, so on Valentine's Day, or thereabouts, I like to pay a few dollars ahead at the coffee shop or other places in town so that it will hopefully make someone feel special like I did all those years ago on the bridge.

  • Smile!  This is the simplest gesture of all during the Valentine's season--and quite frankly, it should be something that is done year round, no matter what!  People are in such a rush these days that they keep their heads buried towards the ground as they run from one activity to the next.  I can't think of a nicer way to "show the love" than to simply share my smile with those I come in contact with at the milk store, dropping off the carpool at school, standing in line at the grocery store and especially when my kids come home from school and I haven't seen them all day long!  A smile is the greatest gift we can give one another, but sadly, it's something we are hesitant to do these days.

How do you "show the love" on Valentine's Day?  It might make a great topic for you to write about!

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