We’ve all been there. Running through stores trying to get our last minute romantic shopping done for a gift that will show our love and appreciation to our boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s the time of the year when red, heart-shaped candies, and boxes of chocolate fly off the shelves in our desperate attempt to find the perfect gift that conveys the message: I love you. And yes, we’re talking about Valentine’s Day.
A cursory glance of the holiday shows you that there isn’t much historical backing for why it has become unanimous with the celebration of love and pairing. It had originally been a day to remind Christians of their love of god and the return of spring, but has quickly been established as a day for romance and love by English tradition of unknown beginnings. A poem by Chaucer in 1381 seems to be the first reference of “Valentine’s” being associated with love; in this case, being associated with the mating of birds.
Since then, it truly exploded in the 19th century when developments of the British postage stamp lead to 400,000 Valentine’s cards being sent 1840, the first reference to it being a commercial holiday.
So why is it so stressful? Is it because we feel like we have to spend money on our lover, and that if we fail to do so, we’re not good to them? The typical image of a successful Valentine’s day involves a fancy dinner with luxurious wine, a bathtub full of rose petals and maybe something else happening after…but don’t feel stressed if you can’t pull that off!
There are many alternatives for showing your love and appreciation! You can always hand-craft a card for the same price — if not cheaper — than you would be able to buy one in store, and if you’re not so artistically inclined, you can always write a poem like Chaucer, or even a love letter telling your significant other everything you love and appreciate about them. Don’t have the dough to go to a fancy restaurant? Valentine’s day is a perfect opportunity for looking up how to cook a delicious meal, and surprising your partner with the dedication and attention you’ve put into it. All you need is a few candles and a bottle of wine. If anything, the extra time and effort you’ve made to express your love will truly show how much you’re willing to do.