|This year? Maybe take a pass on the flowers. (Shutterstock)
It's not until you get older that you realize parents are the ones who made holidays special as a child.
Mine would go above and beyond to create memorable, lasting traditions at Christmas and Easter that carry on to this day. My mom would even spoil us on Valentine's Day each and every February, surprising us with cards, candy or toys we'd had our eyes on. Recognizing full well that she didn't need a confectionery or greeting card company to remind her that she loved her children, she seized the opportunity to remind us.
The best part about it? It was always a complete surprise to me every year.
To the chagrin of single people everywhere, this 'greeting card holiday' is fuelled by marketers appealing to feelings of guilt and obligation to boost consumer spending. There is a similar blitz around Halloween every year, but the focus of that holiday is more on children, so we are generally exempt from feeling sad and depressed about being lonely and single.
Check out the She Said argument for Valentine's Day here.
It inevitably adds pressure to any relationship as well because women have unrealistic expectations. Men are clueless. Type 'Men's Valentine's Day Tips' into Google and you will receive more than 95 million results, likely all providing differing opinions on how to woo your lover. Many offer suggestions on how to buy lingerie. My advice? Don't. Unless you are dialled right in on the tastes, comfort level and exact size of your blushing bride, just don't. Valentine's Day is a holiday for women and lingerie is for men.
If you are not a diligent or attentive mate, this is one time of year that will shed light on that. According to Noel Biderman, CEO of the extramarital dating website AshleyMadison.com, the number of users of their sex site on Feb. 15 jumps as high as four-times an average day. This particular holiday is one focused on love and relationships, forcing you evaluate your own situation which could lead to feelings of inadequacy and unfulfillment.
Celebrating Cupid need not require flowers, chocolates and a fancy restaurant. Some of the worst dates I've been on have been at the most expensive restaurants and some of the best were ones that were totally unexpected, spontaneous and cheap.
My recommendation is to plan something (forethought is key) that you wouldn't otherwise do on a Thursday night that shakes up the routine of your relationship. That could mean hiring a babysitter for some much needed alone time or turning off the television and spending the evening actually paying attention to your kids. Regardless, why not embrace the opportunity to break the monotony by trying something new?
Life is fleeting and finite, so let's all do something unexpected and special for the people who bring light into our lives.
Follow John Drake on Twitter @John_D_Drake