In elementary school I always looked forward to Valentine's Day. I loved decorating the box that would collect valentines from my classmates during our parent-sponsored parties of heart-cookie decorating and cutesy crafts. Then I would go home, spread all the valentines out on the floor and read each one - some over and over to decipher whether any of my crushes might be crushing in return...
Once those blissful days of "valentines for all" went away, Valentine's Day took on a whole new meaning. While some girls pranced down the hall between classes with big bouquets of flowers, I wondered if there was even the slightest chance a secret admirer would surprise me with the same (insert daydream sequence here). Yeah... right. Praise the Heavens, all that holding out for my hero finally came through in my wonderful husband! Otherwise Cupid and I would already be having our yearly talk.
So who do we have to thank for this special occasion? Is there really a saint named Valentine that holds dominion over Cupid and his bow and quiver of arrows?
The reality is, as with many of our holiday traditions, there are mixed directions from whence the occasion came.* The short story is that several Christian martyrs were named Valentine. A variety of founded (and unfounded) legends about their martyrdom prompted the romantic association with the name Valentine. One of these saints was noted as being buried on February 14th, and while the Catholic Church still celebrates this feast day in some parts of the world, such influential persons as Chaucer and Charles d'Orleans (the author of the first surviving valentine) brought the romantic component of that feast day more prominently into view. Later, the High Court of Love was established in Paris to review matters of romantic relation on Valentine's Day, and judges were chosen for such cases based on their reading of poetry to women. And the rest I leave to Wikipedia.
All the history and cutesy cards aside, Valentine's Day is ultimately a day just like any other - a day where you CHOOSE how to spend it, what to expect, and how to make the most of it. Think outside the vase of roses - this holiday isn't reserved for lovers! If you want to enjoy the rose-petaled holiday, keep an open mind and heart about how to make the most of it, regardless of whether you are single or have a special someone. :)
- Redefine "special someone"- Think of all the people in your life that make it special! How about sending out a stack of Valentine's Day cards to those you appreciate and love? Who wouldn't appreciate an unexpected valentine from you?
- Wishing for a Valentine? If you've considered taking a risk with a certain someone, now is a great time! BE the secret admirer. Or, get even more proactive about admiring! Match.com is one of MANY options for online dating, if you are open to the experience. Or find a interest/faith-focused service, like ChristianCafe.com.
- Buy your own flowers, just the way you like them - Who needs to wait around for someone else to bring them to you? Or treat yourself to a nice piece of jewelry. Make it a day of "I love me" and fill it with your favorite things to remind you of how fantastic you are!
- Want to give back? Have a mission to visit those who are most likely to feel lonely - take a trip to a local retirement home, orphanage, hospital, or even visit a neighbor that might be needing a smile.
- Anti Valentine's Day? Throw a co-ed party with all your single friends at a brewery, bowling alley, or other locales in anti-honor of the day. You never know... you might not be so "anti" after all the fun. ;)
- Open to crafts? Make a "gift book" or "coupon booklet" full of special non-monetary gifts, like a back massage, get-out-of-doing-the-dishes free card, etc. Or frame a special picture of the two of you and write a sweet note around the outside of the frame with a paint pen.
- Have a silly side to your relationship? JibJab is has several options for you to personalize hilarious e-cards of love.
- Big fans of supporting good causes? Kiva is one of many resources for giving a gift that gives to those in need. Or see Equal Exchange below.
- Planning on exchanging gifts? Uncommon Goods has some great, unique suggestions. Kindnotes.com also has pre-arranged or customized jars of love notes; a great twist on the bouquet and card.
- Here are also some (alphabetically arranged) great sales/deals and promotions for the holiday:
- Bedhead Pajamas - Touted to be the #1 pajamas in the nation, these PJs would be a welcome treat! Ue the code LOVE15 for 15% off all orders thru 2/14.
- Blue Nile - Well known for their beautiful jewelry! They have several Valentine's Day promotions to help keep things Classy Not Pricey (scroll down for different price ranges for gifts).
- Burpee Gardening - Give the gift of flowers that will keep on blooming! This is one of my favorite ways to give gift that live beyond the life of cut flowers (and can also be vegetables, herbs, etc.) Use code FSA12 for $5 off orders of $30 or more thru 2/29.
- Cellars Wine Club - Celebrate your love not just on Valentine's Day! From $19.99 up.
- Equal Exchange - Offers high-quality fair trade and organic items that give back to important causes. Look around their shop for chocolates, coffees, and other great gifts.
- Flowers.com - Try a new flower company for less-common arrangements.
- The Body Shop - Give a gift that pampers beyond the holiday. Save $10 off any $40 purchase at The Body Shop. Enter code VDAY at checkout (thru 2/8)
- Things Remembered - Find unique, personalized gifts and use the code UPGRADE for expedited shipping at the standard shipping rate!
- Victoria's Secret - Always a great bet for some fun and sassy ideas. Use the code FA1129989 for free shipping on orders over $100 (through 4/4).
- 1-800flowers.com - The classic gift of flowers from a brand you trust. Use code VAL15 for 15% off your purchase thru 2/14.
Want more ideas? Get inspired by following us on Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ClassyNotPricey
*Source: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentine%27s_Day