No Thanks, Cupid! Why Laura and I Skip Valentine’s Day
The older I get and the more years of marriage I have under my belt, the harder it is for me to get behind the concept of Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me wrong! I love my wife — Laura and I have been married for 28 years now, and I’m beyond lucky to have her — but I don’t think I need to buy a heart-shaped box of chocolates and spend $200 on dinner on one specific night of the year to show her how much I care. Laura and I both agree that when it comes to gift-giving and date nights, it’s the thought, not the day on the calendar, that matters. Valentine’s Day does have debatable historic origins. In fact, it could date all the way back to the Roman festival Lupercalia, which was held to celebrate fertility and the arrival of spring, but these
days in the U.S., it’s basically just a moneymaker for the candy and floral industries. Valentine’s Day is easily their biggest day of the year, and they take advantage of the hype by raising their prices through the roof. Even restaurants get in on the hustle, coming up with special menus and higher price tags for the night. That’s why Laura and I go out on Feb. 13 or 15 instead! Everything is cheaper, and there’s no holiday pressure to live up to. Here in Austin, for instance, there are some spots where you can go the day before or after Valentine’s Day and get the same meal for half the cost. Personally, I’ve found that taking the focus on flashy spending and fancy meals out of the equation makes it easier for me and Laura to focus on each other when we go out in February. We’re not trying to imitate a romantic comedy movie; we’re just enjoying each other’s company. When we were first dating, holidays like Valentine’s Day mattered a lot more, but in this day and age, we keep things low-stress. We grab a bite to eat sometime during Valentine’s Day week, exchange cards, and that’s pretty much it. Other occasions, like our anniversary, are more meaningful and a lot more worthy of an expensive night out.
Here’s my advice for anyone struggling with planning the perfect Valentine’s Day date or finding the perfect present: Remember what you’re doing this for. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about expensive presents or big, sweeping romantic gestures that take weeks to plot out (although there’s no shame in doing that if you enjoy it). What really matters is celebrating the love between you and the person you’re with. As long as you’re doing that, you’re doing Valentine’s Day right, no matter what the candy sellers and flower peddlers have to say about it! However you choose to spend your Feb.14, I hope you enjoy yourself. I know my night of hanging out at home with Laura, even if it’s just in our pajamas in front of the TV, will be just fine.
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