Confession: I don’t hate Valentine’s Day. I know it’s the popular thing to bash it, but I think it’s one of those things that becomes what you make it. People always rip it as a “Hallmark holiday” and complain that “I don’t want flowers and teddy bears” and “you should show the people in your life that you love them all through the year, so I don’t need a special day to prove it to the world.” But who says it has to be a “Hallmark holiday” that’s all about flowers and candy and teddy bears? Who says it even has to be about romantic love only? If that’s what you expect of it, then yes, that’s what it will be. Love encompasses many things in life, so why not celebrate brotherly/sisterly love? Love for your parents. Love for your friends. So yes, I do agree that you should show the people in your life that you love them all the time, but I don’t see anything wrong for dedicating a special day to it.
I find a small inconsistency, then, with everyone’s attitude about Thanksgiving. The trendy thing right now is to do “30 Days of Thankful” on Facebook, posting something each day for which you are thankful. I get the sentiment behind it, and it’s overall a great one, but it bothers me for some reason (partly, I think, because I tend to resist jumping on the bandwagon of such online trends myself). But I think it comes down to the fact that if you’re following Valentine’s Day logic, you should be thankful EVERY day, not just on Thanksgiving or in November, just as we should appreciate the love in our lives every day as well. So if we’re going to broadcast that sentiment for Valentine’s Day, then shouldn’t we broadcast the same one for Thanksgiving as well?
But do you know anyone who gets annoyed about Thanksgiving in the same way many people get annoyed about Valentine’s Day? I don’t. They don’t bash the intention or meaning of Thanksgiving Why? Because they’ve made it into what they want it to be.
That’s what I think all holidays should be, really. Make it into what you want. We don’t celebrate the religious meaning of Christmas, but (to me) that doesn’t mean that I can’t celebrate Christmas and focus on the spirit of giving, being kind to others, and helping those less fortunate than us. We don’t celebrate any “evil” of Halloween but instead use it as a fun time with friends and family — sometimes it really can be that simple.
The fact is, holidays DO make us stop and reflect and think about things in a more focused manner. Yes, you should show your spouse you love him every day. Yes, we should be thankful every day. But sometimes we need that reminder amid the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Taking a moment to reflect on the important things isn’t such a bad idea.