Of all the celebration days during the year, Valentine’s Day is arguably one of the most commercialized; one of the more makey-uppy ones. Although not as makey-uppy as yesterday’s “Get a Different Name Day” which coincided with “Madly in Love with Me Day” (what, you mean you missed both of those?). At least Valentine’s Day has a history and traditions and provides an excuse to eat chocolate.

But the cool kids don’t really celebrate V-day do they?

People ask “Are you doing anything for Valentine’s Day?” And the stock answer is “Oh no, we never go out for it. Too busy, too expensive, it’s all just marketing anyway”

My now-husband and I went out twice on February 14th ; once to the cinema, to see the very unromantic but hilarious* Dude Where’s My Car (*may have been hilarious due to drinks before movie). The year after that, we booked a table in our favourite restaurant. It was a mistake. The food didn’t seem as a good as it usually was. We were so close to the people beside us, I could have dipped my chips in their ketchup without either of us noticing. And we had to give the table back after an hour, because the restaurant was doing not two but three sittings that night.

After that, we stayed in. We became the “Oh no, we never go out for Valentine’s Day” people. We aspired to be the cool kids who didn’t celebrate it at all, but at the last minute every year, a card or flowers or chocolates would become too tempting to walk past. And any excuse to cook a nice dinner and open a bottle of wine is welcome; once the obligatory criticism of commercialised celebrations had been dispensed with, we felt free to indulge.

And then came kids. And suddenly it all changed again. My children have been making Valentine’s Cards for three weeks now. They baked a Valentine’s cake. They can’t understand why there isn’t a day off school and work for this monumental occasion. They have been looking forward to February 14th since New Year’s Day. And we just go with it.

many hearts created this week
many hearts created this week

That’s the thing with kids; all the annual feast days take on a whole new meaning when children come into the equation. Christmas: no elaboration needed. Birthdays: ditto. Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, Pancake Tuesday, Mother’s Day, Easter; occasions that in the past may have warranted something small to mark the day (in the case of Halloween: hiding in a back room with the lights off) suddenly become huge on the calendar, with weeks and weeks of excited planning (and more card making – I think Hallmark may have been invented by children). And it’s lovely. It makes them happy, it seems to give a focus and structure to their year, and of course, it’s good for bribes.

And that’s why we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day in my house today – with homemade cards and a jam-filled cake (“red for Valentines mum!”), and lots of kisses.

And then as a very special treat, my husband and I will allow ourselves to skip the endurance test that is dinner with the kids. We will have steak and chips. After they’ve gone to bed of course. Huddled on the sofa like kids having a midnight feast behind our parents’ backs. And we’ll have wine. And we’ll have cake. And we won’t feel an ounce of guilt. I’m sure it’s exactly what Saint Valentine would have wanted.

V-day steak 2014. Nom.
V-day steak 2014. Nom.
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13 thoughts on “V-day”

  1. I think so long as you have wine, you’re doing fine. Steak and chips are a bonus.

    Here in the US, Valentines has inexplicably been taken over by the schoolchildren as a time for them to exchange cards/stickers/pencils/candy with everyone in their class. (Oh wait, that inexplicably would be Hallmark.) And then there are Pinterest wars for people who want to make their own 25 cards for the other preschoolers to ignore, and the kids come home with more sweets (it’s also known as pink Halloween in some circles) and the whole thing is just terrible and tedious and leaves me with absolutely zero interest in putting more pressure on myself to be romantic with the mister. So we skip it and pretend it’s not happening.

    Except every now and then one or other of us will cave and buy a card/bake a cake/whatever, and then the other one feels vaguely guilty. But not much. Wine, as I said, is enough.
    Christine recently posted…Brat bán sneachtaMy Profile

    1. Oh Christine this puts fear in my – I don’t think there’s a single tradition in the States that hasn’t made it’s way here. So in a few years we’ll all be organising cards for the whole class, oh dear. Good to know though, so we can enjoy the relative (relative) simplicity for now,

  2. I love this post. We too are ‘the cool kids’ we don’t really ‘do’ Valentines – except that we totally do. We went out for dinner last night, to avoid the crush of tonight and I woke up to a birthday’s worth of gifts. Books from my girls and jewellery from himself. (!!) And of course, my girls are so excited about Valentines Day and being allowed to have a chocolate heart at breakfast time. I’ve decided that I don’t care that it’s a Hallmark holiday and accept this excuse for a treat in the middle of dreary February!
    Sadhbh @ Where Wishes Come From recently posted…Love and Other NonsenseMy Profile

    1. I’m with Sadhbh on this, kids give everything a twist and suddenly it’s OK and completely acceptable, not so much the commercial side (although I was well spoiled today too) but in the worth getting up 20 minutes early type of way to colour the milk pink and scatter some heart shapes and little chocolates on the table; I even made the Friday night pizzas heart shaped and it was so worth it for the whoops of delight from the kids.

      Hallmark gives way to homemade and love is celebrated, how bad can it be ;0)

      Enjoy the steak and wine, sounds perfect for the day that’s in it!
      Naomi Lavelle recently posted…Bird on a wire!My Profile

      1. Naomi that’s lovely – Hallmark gives way to homemade – I really like that. You should see the pink cake we made – it’s a dreadful looking thing and the decorating caused arguments, but they were SO proud of the finished product, it made the day.
        I think I need some heart shaped cookie cutters or a heart-shaped tin for next year…

    2. That exactly how I feel Sadhbah – yes it’s Hallmark, but it’s an excuse to celebrate it. And with all that rain today, we needed anything to give us a lift.
      So you got jewellery? Husband of mine – are you seeing this??

    1. It was lovely Joanna, albeit interrupted three times by the toddler but he’s under the weather so I can’t complain 🙂

  3. Steak and chips and wine here too. After the kids go to bed too. And it is likely that channel flicking will happen until we fall asleep on the sofa!
    The boys went off to school with their home-made valentine cards to day for the preferred girls in their class. They wouldn’t show me the cards or who tell me who the girls are!

    I did feel bad for the nice woman who I disappointed as I left the supermarket with my balloon and card. She commented how nice but I told her they were for the au pair from the baby girls! The boys had chocolate hearts in their lunchbox.

    I got nothing for hubbie – except for steak and wine. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll battle the rain to get him a card this afternoon. And send a text to him to ignore my protests about the commercialisation of the day. I think I would like a flower or a chocolate after all!

    Happy Valentine’s Day

    1. So did you get a card for your husband? And did you send a hinting text? I don’t blame you if you didn’t manage the former – all bets are off in that rain. As long as you have the steak and the wine and the couch, you’re all set. Happy Valentine’s Day to you too!

  4. Didn’t send the text, I didn’t get a card. But I picked him up from the Dart and we went for a rare pint! And went out for a Lebanese meal last night (special to us) for V+1. But I just can’t be doing sore heads any more! The wine was Lebanese and was so fruity, served chilled, it was like drinking Ribena!

    1. V+1 is a great night to go out – we did the same! But yes, the sore heads are not great with the kids. Still, I think it’s worth if for a rare and well-deserved night out – you earned it, not in the least for picking your husband up from the Dart on a rainy Valentine’s day 🙂

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