The Valentine Conundrum

by Natalie Heather

No big deal, you know. I mean, don’t panic. But the (possibly) most hated holiday of the year is coming up.

I’ve been noticing stores advertise their “Valentine’s day” over the last few weeks. Weeks. Weeks. I’m always curious to see what stores think is appropriate for Valentine’s day. Most of the time, as long as it is in the pink color family, it is V-day approved.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I really dislike the color pink. It’s actually a fine color (most of the time) it just really doesn’t suit me since I have pink undertones and feel the need to shy away from anything in the pink and red family. Not to mention my ginger hair combined with pink calls for tears of little children.

Despite disliking pink, I adore Valentine’s day. Valentine’s day was only associated with romantic love in the High Middle ages thanks to Geoffrey Chaucer and his posse. Say hello to courtly love. By the fifteenth century, lovers used Valentine’s day to express love for each other by presenting flowers, confectionary and cards. Since then, Valentine’s day has taken off to be an excuse to shop for people you love – friends, family, your elementary school teacher… As if our society really needs another excuse to shop.

Now now, I’m not saying all Valentine’s day gifts are pink – that would be ridiculous! There’s also a whole lot of flowers and chocolates – and I love both.

These are just the usual gifts – and who wants usual gifts? I read on a men’s forum about what to buy “the girlfriend” that the only acceptable gifts are jewelry and lingerie. I beg your pardon – what?!

I’ve often told Robin that he has the easy way out when it comes to buying gifts for me – I love bubble bath, jewelry, books, tea, cute socks, mugs and chocolate. I mean, come on. Easy peasy. So, my fair ladies (and possibly a few gentlemen) I present to you my new guide for shopping for “the girlfriend” for Valentine’s day.

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1. Laura Secord French and Frosted Mints, $25
2. 
Cath Kidston Strawberry Hankie, $14
3. 
Mulberry Magic Tea, $9
4. 
Felt Hat, $15
5. Tailed and Tiny Pin, $12
6. 
Glitter Minimergency Kit, $15
7. 
Rabbit Ears Watch, $35
8. 
Letter Together Mug Set, $30
9. 
Sketched Hearts Scarf, $35
10. 
Inca Socks, $14
11. 
I Love You Activity Book, $16
12. 
Emerald Green Resin Necklace, $46
13. Penguin Classics: Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma, $17/each
14. 
Lavender Bubble Bath, $21

Ok, I know it sounds like I can’t choose whether or not I like Valentine’s day. I mean, I just made a list of things I’d like to receive! Nonetheless, I am pretty critical of the fact the day has turned to a shopping day. Despite this, I still love Valentine’s day! Not because of the romantic side of it though – I personally find sitting in a dimly lit restaurant with couples making out on either side a little uncomfortable. No, I have a different reason.

Every Valentine’s day, my mother would cook a delicious meal for the entire family and my father would buy each of us a card and a gift. It wouldn’t be anything big, maybe a notepad or a box of chocolate. My father didn’t see why, on a day about love, we shouldn’t all have a little reminder that we were loved. Yep – my parents are the best (don’t worry, it’s not a competition).

For me, Valentine’s day is about snuggling in bed for a little longer than usual or offering to make someone a cup of tea. It’s about the little things.

The gifts are just a bonus.

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