Did you know while Valentines was created to celebrate a saint, it’s first association with romantic love came along in 18th-century England? Yup, that’s long before Hallmark Cards ever made the scene (Jan. 1910).
In the 18th-century, Valentines became an occasion similar to what it is today — a day where lovers express love for each other by offering flowers, candy and yes, sending those sometimes adorable, sometimes sappy valentines day cards. In Europe, they weren’t rushing around trying to find a $$$ restaurant with a 7:30 spot on OpenTable.com. Instead, Saint Valentine’s keys were given out as a gift of love and as an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart.
Now, I’m down for going with convention when it serves me, but I always think convention should be questioned and thought through newly. I mean there might be a good reason for it, but that good reason in 18th-century England might not make sense in 21st-century America. So several yeas ago, and as a single person, I did just that. I thought about conventional Valentine’s day and I redesigned it to suit my needs, I gave it a bit of an update. I found one concept worth keeping: an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart.
Every year I create Valentines newly. It’s the most flexible holiday in my calendar, it can mean anything I want it to as long as I use it as an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart — my heart. I mix it up, some years are big, other years are subtle, but they all have the same theme: Give love and invite yourself to unlock your heart.
I have a double-dog-dare challenge for you: Make this Valentines Day a day of gratitude, love, and giving. Skip the dozen red roses, they’re three times the price this week. Cards? You get to say. Will you make them or buy them? Will you vulnerably share your adoration, yearning or appreciation for someone(s) and sign your name or will you send the love notes anonymously? Will you love on your single friends? Will you take time to nurture yourself?
After I updated my relationship to this holiday I learned that celebrating single or coupled no longer matters. No more, “It will be better next year when I have someone” or “It will be better next year when I have a different someone.” This holiday is delicious now — as long as you’re willing to spread your love around and unlock your giving heart.
Happy Valentines Day! I love you — Wendy
I’m Wendy Newman, a media-celebrated author & trusted dating, sex & relationship advisor. Pick up my book, 121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!) here!