With Valentine's Day 2011 behind us, I wanted to get down my Valentine's Manifesto as a way of already getting ready for next year.
I love Valentine's Day so much I should marry it. At minimum, I should make it its very own Valentine, covered in stickers and glitter. I love Valentine's like I love Santa and Christmas and New Year's Resolutions and a host of other holiday traditions that make so many people grumble.
And there are really so many haters out there! I get it. For some people, these externally-imposed obligations are such a drag, create so much pressure and anxiety. The cynicism and negativity abound.
That's just wrong.
It's such a missed opportunity to use it for your own ends, to make something beautiful out of what might otherwise be a chore. Somewhere recently (maybe in Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project) I read, "if you can't get out of it, get into it." Such great advice!
The essence of my Valentine's Manifesto is getting into it, getting deep into it, up to your elbows in glitter glue and construction paper.
I have been doing it this way for years, so long that part of the fun of the activity is thinking back on the old days. It's bittersweet for me, too, because my strongest memories, the sweetest, are of hours spent over teacups and music, making delicate, beautiful Valentine's with a friend who's entirely lost to me now, eaten by substance abuse, vanished from the texture of my life. I think of her so much as I cut out hearts, remember being in her house surrounded by her mewling cats. For some years, we'd make a tea party out of it, but she was always at the center of the making, its creative hub.
Even then, like now, for me Valentine's Day is not a romantic thing. It's a celebration of love between girlfriends, between friends, a day for me to express love to all those people -- besides my husband -- who fill my little world with love all year long. For some, those for whom I have addresses, this means a Valentine in the mail. And that's the super-fun part.
I devoted an afternoon to Valentines this year, a whole leisurely slow happy Saturday afternoon while Joe was off racing, to cutting shapes from construction papers and doilies, applying the glitter glue, then the stickers. It was a three-step process, since they had to dry in between. It was sweet, listening to music, thinking of my friends the whole way through. They had to sit for a week to be good and dry before going into envelopes, then I had a little schedule for mailing, to ensure that the East Coast people got theirs in good time, the West Coast people not too early.
This is, no doubt, another manifestation of my Inner Dork, but like I said, Get Into It.
And, to be clear, I do not refuse the box of See's dark chocolate Nuts and Chews which Joe always brings me.
So here's my Manifesto for next year.
- Make an Open House out of it
- Lay in a supply of paper, pens, glitter, glue, stickers, what have you
- Bake a batch of cookies, make a big pot of coffee
- Put on music and
I can only fit a certain number of people around my table, so I'm inviting others to have their own Valentine's parties. Really, it's so fun.
Because Valentine's Day really is and should be a way to love up your friends, to let them know in a small but powerful way that you're thinking of them, holding them in your little paper heart.
And how nice would it be for me to receive some Valentines by mail next year! Get Into It!