It's all about love

Right off the bat I would like to make it clear that I am a Valentine’s Day cynic. The older I have gotten, the more opinionated I have become in the fact that this is a man-made holiday just for retailers to make money.

With this man-made day of love fast approaching us, I decided to figure out why it is that I detest this day so much. Is it because of that one year in high school, where I was the only girl in my group to not receive a Carnation, Teddy bear or Chocolate sent out by some admirer unbeknown to me?
Was it because I watched as my friends bought themselves a Carnation in case of the humiliation of not receiving anything, and if they just got one little something, they could say it was from their one true love?

Is it because of the 3 year “love” drought I had when it felt like I could never be loved by anyone whilst everyone around me was getting married, finding the person of their dreams and just being so darn lucky in love. Of course, this would make anyone a hater. Especially when all around us in the “month of love” we are constantly reminded of the fact that we are not in love.

But I realise now that my cynicism has grown stronger as time has passed  due to more and more people having the mediums to actually shove this Valentine Day thing in my face. Back in my day it was only the big corporations that could advertise. We had David Krammer reminding us that is was lekker to drive with a family, driving in a VW Volksie bus. Cremora was making sure that we knew it was not inside, but onnnnnn top! Let’s also not forget the iconic Sasol Glug Glug ad which resulted in the SA U23 Soccer team naming themselves “Glug Glug”.

The competition was not so stiff back in the day. As a country, we have grown tremendously over the past few decades and the competition is steep. So no wonder these guys have to use every opportunity they can to jump on a bandwagon. This is survival of the fittest! No room for the faint at heart or the ones lagging in the race. We now have laptops, cell phones, tablets, billboards, tv, radio and any other type of media I have forgotten. Oh wait.. newspapers! They are all feeding us images and information on a daily, hourly and minute by minute basis.

Upon researching the origin of Valentines Day, it is clear that it has absolutely nothing to do with some get rich quick scheme by some retailer. But yes, it is something retailers can piggy back on and make loads of money with. Retailers also however make money off weddings, funerals, Easter, Christmas, birthdays and so much more. Am I going to not celebrate any of these because of that? No.

So where do I stand now? No point in hating the retailers. They are just trying to survive in a very big race. Am I in love at this present time you ask? Yes. For many years now, happily married even, and have managed to not celebrate or give a present on any one of the Valentines days we have been together. Would it harm me in any way to give a present or express my love on this day? The answer to this is no. But my ego will be bruised, that is for sure. For I have been standing up for my right not to be influenced or swayed by the masses for years now.

If I do, for this one day, put my ego aside and get some lavish present like a WeWood watch made out of reclaimed wood for R2700 which is utterly beautiful and has been on my mind, or instead bake heart shaped biscuits with a cookie mix for R85.90, or do an artsy crafty hand-made card with thoughts of our past few years together, I can guarantee the result would be the same. I will be loved and thanked and hugged a hundred times, and thanked again. Basically on this day, or any day that I do such a thing, I would only be showing my love and appreciation of this beautiful person I get to share my life with. Now that is something I should not be standing up against.

I think the pressure lies within ourselves. Do we go beyond what we are capable of financially just to impress someone? If I had the money I would buy the watch in a heartbeat. If I don’t have the money, I should not feel like something smaller or making something is a less adequate symbol of my love. There is no price tag on love. Whatever we have to offer, if offered with honesty and integrity, will always be received with an open heart if that person truly loves you.

Hmmm... So can this bitter, cynical heart put my ego aside and allow love to overthrow my feelings of being pushed into a holiday? I think if it can, it will have to be something that completely fits, not a teddy bear or chocolates, but rather something meaningful and personal.

For me, there is no better place than Crafters Market to look for that special something I could be looking for. I know that I can always find something within my budget and have enough of a variety to choose from. I can even select something from their arts and crafts section if I want to make something. And by choosing Crafters Market, I also choose local and end up supporting my fellow countryman.

So let’s spread a little love. There’s no harm in it after all.

Author: Yolande Niemandt
Feb 2016

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