Be My Valentine!

Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible – it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.

-Barbara de Angelis

That seems like a good way to start a message about love and the way we celebrate it.


I’m sure you’ve received emails or other advertising encouraging you to get that special something for your true love – not just a card, or candy, or flowers, but special dinners, electronics, event tickets, and even getaways. I’m here to say that I don’t believe any of these are necessary just because the calendar says the date is February 14th.

As a teacher, I’ve never enjoyed Valentine’s Day. It’s always marked by too much candy, spilled drinks, hurt feelings, and wild student behavior. Nevertheless, I’ve tried not to be a party pooper or come home from work in a bad mood since this is a day designated for love.

While every business seems to be capitalizing on Valentine’s Day, I think it’s interesting that this is a day that wasn’t just created by clever businessmen, but one that’s been celebrated for about 700 years – since the Middle Ages! Cards, sweets, and flowers became a tradition associated with romantic love in the 1300s. These simple expressions of love I can appreciate, but I’m not a fan of the Valentine extravaganzas. I heard on the news that the average amount spent on Valentine’s Day last year was in excess of $125. Is that per person? Per couple? per household? In any case that seems like a lot of money.

If you receive an expensive gift from your Valentine, that’s great! Smile! Say thank you…and mean it! But if you don’t …smile and have a great day anyway. A card, especially a homemade one, a back massage, a movie at home, a home cooked meal, even kind words make excellent Valentine gifts. In fact, the actress Audrey Hepburn said,

“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.”

Sounds like a good Valentine’s Day gift.

Being together is really all that’s necessary to make the day special, but even if that’s not possible, you can always “do a time warp” – celebrate on a different day – one that’s more convenient. Who needs to spend extra on flowers, restaurants, or gifts just because it’s February 14th.

So, what do I have planned for Valentine’s Day? Well, it does not involve a party with 10 year olds. It doesn’t involve spending a lot of money. Instead, I plan to bake a coconut cake. I’ll spend less than $5, but I know it will be appreciated, and I’m pretty sure I’m getting a home-cooked meal prepared by my Valentine. We’ll enjoy the evening on the porch at the lake relaxing together without a lot of fanfare – perfect!

Finally, here’s my math geek Valentine to you. Paste the following into Google and search:


Happy Valentine’s Day!