The truth, in my opinion, is that Valentine's Day is completely over-rated. I think the only time it really matters is when you are at the beginning of a relationship and in the complete and utter infatuation/lust phase - it gives you a great excuse to go all goo goo ga ga over each other and confirm your feelings for one another. But if you're single, then you likely feel like crap if you spend it alone (or marginally better if you're with your posse of other single girlfriends). If you're married or in a long term relationship, then you feel like you have to do something special but probably feel resentful that everything is over-priced or just plain cheesy. I do get some joy making it fun for the kids though (and yes, I did do separate little bags of chocolates/candies with cards for every kid in both my daughter's and son's classes - now that was fun. Not).
My husband always says "every day is Valentine's Day" and hates that he feels pressured to do something that will blow my socks off (and by the way, he feels the same way about birthdays and Mother's Day). So we just made an agreement to not do anything more than exchange cards on Valentine's Day (does NOT apply to birthdays or Mother's Day - these are NOT exempt). This year, however, I made an exception - I bought him a gift since he's returned my last 2 birthday gifts and I was feeling guilty. Although I did tell him that if he said he didn't like it, didn't need it or wanted to return it, I was DONE buying him gifts. My husband travels a lot for business and he usually carries his toiletries in ziplock bags - so I got him a Frommers Toiletry Bag meant specifically for men. And guess what? He LIKED it - and better yet, he's KEEPING it. Will miracles never cease?
Anyway, back to Valentine's Day. Here's what I'm thinking... let's forget the whole Hallmark reason for the holiday and look more at what it should mean. It should be a reminder to take a step back and appreciate the love you share with your partner. So here's my thought instead of spending money and coming up with elaborate gifts and feeling let down or disappointed that he just didn't nail the gift once again. Why not create 10 coupons that entitle your spouse to something special that he/she can cash in any time later in the year? You know, like a massage, breakfast in bed, a weekend free of chores, etc. This way the love and kindness that the holiday should evoke will carry on for longer than just one day. The key is, remembering to actually use them!
P.S. If you're interested, I included a link on the the history of Valentine's Day. Find out how it all got started!
Last but not least, Happy Valentine's Day!