On Thursday many people will be marking Valentine’s Day in very mushy, romantic kinds of ways. Flowers will be purchased at the last minute. Rings, necklaces, and bracelets will be presented, dinners will be eaten (of course with accompanying Instagram updates), and chocolates will be distributed.
That’s all well and good, but I wonder if we are limiting the potential of what this day could mean. Surely there must be a a way to make today meaningful in a more universal way.
A More Meaningful Valentine’s Day
In fact, it seems to me that Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to show love for your wider community, for your city or your state, or heck, for the world!
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to ignore your significant other. But imagine presenting him or her with a note saying, “I donated $50 to the IGHMS Read-A-Thon fundraiser in your name.” Instead of asking you to give something to me, could you spend whatever you were going to spend via a donation to his Build a Bathroom project in Ghana?”
The nice thing about giving gifts like this is that they can stand as a long-time legacy. You and your significant other can track the progress of the project, and assuming it succeeds, you can both remember that part of that success marks a tribute to your strong relationship. You are also expanding your circle of love and friendship to people who may not be as fortunate as you are. To me, that seems far more meaningful than pigging out on some chocolate-covered strawberries (although I REALLY love those, don’t get me wrong).
A Day of Remembrance
The other reason why I think this year is a great year to treat Valentine’s Day a little differently is that February 14th will not *just* be Valentine’s Day. It will also mark the two month anniversary of the tragedy at Newtown.
Spouses and friends of the adults who were taken on December 14th will be marking Valentine’s Day without the person they love. The parents of the children who were taken that day will see other kids getting their little cards and candies ready, and they will not have a child there to enjoy the fun. True love this year can include remembering those who lost their loved ones in this tragedy. This community page on Facebook has half a million members, and could be a suitable place to express your thoughts on Thursday.
Maybe instead of doing something directly related to Newtown, you could find a way to show love to kids in your own community. Do schools need book donations? Is there a homeless shelter in your city that could use some kids’ clothes?
It’s Just a Hallmark Holiday
A lot of people, single or not, dismiss Valentine’s Day as just an excuse to sell a lot of expensive products. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can change how we respond to this festive occasion. We can make it more meaningful. We can put real planning into it not just for those closest to us, but also for people who would not expect such a surprise.
What do you think? Can we make Valentine’s Day a little more about love this year? Can we make it a little more about giving?