Valentine’s Day Scrooge

I love people; not Valentine’s Day. In fact, I pretty much hate this holiday. Just call me Ebenezer.

I liken it to a grown-up version of standardized testing. Valentine’s Day puts unnecessary pressure on people to express their love for each other. Boyfriends, girlfriends, and spouses everywhere rarely pass the test. Single people feel obligated to appear sad. And mothers of young children turn into competitive lunatics.

Those of us less-crafty-types with small children feel lame on Valentine’s Day. Two years ago, my friend, Polly-the-Pinterest-Addict (girl, I love you), made these:

I have NO idea what they are, but don’t they look fabulous? Polly inspires me to be a better mom, and I love the creative things she does for her boys. But that photo launched me into a moment of inadequacy. Am I doing enough for my kids on Valentine’s Day? I did manage to use food coloring to dye their milk pink. I’m not getting any awards for that!

On to the crafts. Check out these gorgeous card boxes by two girls in my son’s class.

The boa! The glitter! The ladybugs! I have box envy. I simply love it. The problem is, I have full-on panic attacks when I walk into a craft store. It feels like a foreign land where the right side of my brain might hemorrhage, causing me to drop dead in the pipe cleaner aisle.

I also loved this one with the lace. I wanted to call the mom and ask her how she made it.

I know you’re dying to see my son’s box, so without further delay…

Um, ya, that is the reverse side of some leftover Christmas wrapping paper.

Adding to the paucity of my self esteem were the beautifully crafted hand-made cards and gifts at the class party. I was lucky we had managed to complete our store bought cards. Hec, I call it a success if I can get my kids to write their own name 22 times. By this time of year, I’m out of steam. It takes me two months to recover from that stupid Elf on the Shelf’s antics. I mean, er, I’m still tired from implementing all my fun Elf on the Shelf ideas! <insert happy holidays smiley face here> Can we take a break please? I’m saving up for April, when I have Easter and both kids’ birthdays all in one week. Pray for me.

Don’t judge. I have a good attitude about Valentine’s Day in public. I even smile, wear a red shirt and hug people.

But honestly, here are three lessons about love we can learn from Valentine’s Day:

  • TELL people you love them. Not just on a holiday. Tell them every day.
  • SHOW people you love them. Do something unexpected for a friend. Send a card for no reason. Make your family’s favorite meal on a Tuesday night.
  • REACH OUT to those who might not feel loved. Chances are you know someone who is hurting from painful circumstances. They’ve lost a parent. They’re the new kid at school. They’re going through a divorce. Notice them. Befriend them. Invite them to lunch. Or simply pick up the phone.

Let’s focus less on the performance aspect of Valentine’s Day. Of course if you’re a talented baker or crafty-type and you enjoy those activities, rock on! (Will you make some things for me next year, please? I’ll pay you.) Go ahead and pay the 300% markup on flowers this week, it helps the economy. But for those like me who are self-critical on this holiday, keep in mind it doesn’t matter if yours is the best gift, most delectable treat or embellished card. Take the pressure off yourself and do one thing.

Love others. Every day of the year.



  1. Very funny! Love the 3 lessons!

    • Great post, Tracy; more evidence as to our “separated at birth” status. As a mom of young children who both decided to MAKE their Valentine’s this year, I couldn’t agree more. I secretly admit to being relieved that I was scheduled to be out of town so the responsibility of project-managing this task fell to Super Dad, not me.

      What makes him Super Dad isn’t his exceptional creativity or fantastic artistic ability (both of which he has in spades), but the fact that he reminded me that it wasn’t about delivering the most AMAZING VALENTINES EVER!, but about letting the girls be creative and have fun on this “holiday.”

      They had a blast and their Valentine’s had all the love in them that those two precious girls, under the encouraging but not micromanaging eye of their Dad, can put into them. Once again, they teach me more than I teach them. Still, when I am asked next week about their valentine’s, I wonder if I will resist the temptation to smile, roll my eyes appropriately, and say, “Well, I was on a business trip…” One day I will get it. Thanks to you, and them, for the lesson. xo

    • Thanks, Mike!

  2. Robert Taylor says:

    I’m totally with you, Tracy. I think parents are getting out of hand in general (not just Valentine’s Day), with try to have the biggest/best/brightest decoration/birthday party/Halloween costume/Christmas gift/etc.

    It has turned everything into an “arms race”. I can’t remember ever buying V-day cards as a kid. I made about 20 of them out of construction paper, dropped a couple of those (AWFUL) chalky hearts with them, and called it a day.

    I guess to some extent this is an outlet for some parents to “show their love” for their kids (as an “Act of Service”:, but for the most part, I think it’s just a way for some people to “win”. I hope I’m wrong (Am I getting cynical? Or am I just jealous, because, like you, I don’t have the proclivity to make such amazing things, or the intestinal fortitude to drop $800 on a kids’ 5th birthday, or… you get the point).

  3. oh trace, remember the carnations that you could buy for 50 cents at high school and give to your boy/girlfriend on valentine’s day? cringe-worthy.

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