Thursday, February 4, 2016

My Issues with Valentine's Day

The commercials have started… Online, tv, radio, storefronts… “Buy this to show her how much you love her”…  What a crock!

When I was younger and single, I was always so sad around Valentine’s Day because I didn’t have a significant other in my life to make me feel “special”.  I knew lots of people that felt the exact same way and we all dreaded that holiday.  What we didn’t understand was that the holiday was nothing more than an opportunity for retailers to market their crap via guilt trips… It has nothing to do with how special you are or how much someone loves you!! (I now affectionately refer to it as a Hallmark Holiday).  Now, I admit that there are several holidays that we celebrate here in the US that have strayed far from their original purposes,  but this one seems to be the one that leaves a lot of people feeling left out and hurt.

The pressures of Valentine’s day start in grade school… kids give each other little paper valentine’s cards (the one’s you get at the store that folded over and just say To: and From: ).   At 8 years old, it clearly isn’t about “love”, but rather becomes a popularity contest.  Kids compare how many valentines’ they get and if they don’t get as many as some of the other kids, they feel like they aren’t very “cool”.  So, at a young age we are teaching kids that if people don’t give you cards on a day specified by marketers, that they must not be loved or lovable… don’t kids have it hard enough already?!?!

Another thing that really bothers me about Valentine’s Day is how one sided it is, it’s all about a man buying a woman something “special” to show their love?  Gee, no pressure there.  If you don’t spend enough money she may think you don’t really love her.   If you spend too much money and it’s early in the relationship, you might be sending her the wrong signals.  It all seems a bit unfair to me… relationships are a two way street (always), so why isn’t the message geared to tell men AND WOMEN to be showering their loved ones with gifts??   MORE IMPORTANTLY, wouldn’t it seem more authentic if a man (or woman) got you flowers, a box of candy or jewelry on some completely arbitrary day??

The thing that finally changed it for me was when I was dating a man who did the coolest thing on Valentine’s Day… he would spend the day with his two teenage daughters getting pedicures together, bringing them flowers, going out to lunch, etc…  He would tell them that he never wanted them to feel bad or left out, because they always had at least one man in their life that loved them and thought they incredibly special… their dad :).   If you are wondering what he got me for Valentine’s Day, the answer is nothing (and I was about it).  The best gift I got from him was watching how he treated his daughters and the message he was sending them.   From that moment on, I no longer cared about Valentine’s Day.

You may think it’s odd that I own a company that sells a product that would actually make a really nice, personalized, unique Valentines’ gift and yet we’re not doing any major “Valentine’s Day Promotions”…   That’s because Sophisticated Rebel would rather their customers buy it as a gift (or for themselves) for a graduation, birthday, or just because!  This year for Valentine’s Day, Sophisticated Rebel is doing something to try and spread the love to those who most likely need it the most.   The women of the Sophisticated Rebel Tribe and I are collecting purses that aren’t being used anymore, filling them with toiletries, candies and notes of hope and encouragement and delivering them to women at domestic violence shelters. 

If you know someone who might be feeling sad or lonely this Valentine’s day, I hope you reach out to them…   
Find a way to spread some love this Valentine’s Day… and everyday!

(If you would like to join the Sophisticated Rebel Tribe, please send a request on Facebook): Sophisticated Rebels 


  1. Awesome blog post, Kasten! I completely agree! Actually I feel the same way about Christmas too! show love everyday and I give to people just because.

    Thanks for your reflections and your action in the world. You rock!

  2. Awesome post Kasten. I've always felt similarly. People should show their love and appreciation throughout the year, and not try to make up for their lack of expression/appreciation on just one day.

  3. Awesome post Kasten. I've always felt similarly. People should show their love and appreciation throughout the year, and not try to make up for their lack of expression/appreciation on just one day.

  4. Thank you for saying what many of us believe! My husband gives me love and affection every day and that has been the norm in the 17 years we've been together (we've been married for 15). You are indeed a Sophisticated Rebel!!

    1. Thank you Meredith! So glad to hear that you and your husband share your love and appreciation for each other all days of the year! ~ Kasten

  5. Great article! Love it!