No Valentine, please

My husband is off the hook. I don’t need, expect, or want a Valentine’s Day gift. This is just my personal thing. If everyone else in the world wants to celebrate Valentine’s Day, please, enjoy. I know couples who put thought, effort, and love into the occasion, and I think that’s wonderful. For them. But not for me.

I have never been a fan. I’m not speaking about the traditions of the day for kids. The little Valentines that kids give out in school…well, I guess that still happens. Maybe not. I haven’t had an elementary school age child in my house…oh, for the past dozen years. But the small gestures of Valentine cookies, or Valentines for children to exchange…those things are fun, and are another marker of childhood.

I’m not a fan of the manufactured and obligatory gift giving that is milked to death in the name of love. Last week I had the thrill of having access to cable TV, an experience now limited to hotel stays or visits with family who still subscribe. Since we pulled the cable plug last summer, my TV exposure has been minimal, to say the least. But I digress.

All week I saw commercials for Valentine’s gifts suggesting that the perfect thing this year is a HUGE stuffed teddy bear; or footed pajamas; or edible fruit; or the ever popular trio of jewelry, flowers, and candy.

I love gifts, and I’m happy to be on the receiving end on my birthday, my anniversary, or any other day that has meaning to me, or to me and my husband. (Christmas doesn’t count in this scenario as everyone in the family gets gifts at Christmas.) In our culture, there is a tradition of giving gifts for birthdays and anniversaries, which are personal events. But I don’t like to feel that my husband and I are buying gifts for each other because of a commercial expectation that isn’t even personal. I don’t like the messages some commercials give when they show gifts being delivered in an office setting, and the lucky woman is envied for the gift she’s received. I don’t want my gift giving, or receiving, to be a competitive sport, thank you very much.

And most of all…this is specifically addressed to my husband, but anyone I know…please, please, listen carefully: do not, under any circumstance, ever give me a life size teddy bear to cuddle with. I can’t imagine what I would do with it, other than find a place that accepts new and unwanted bears for donation. If this is your idea of a great gift, you may have my bear. But this is definitely not for me. Take me to dinner, give me my favorite tea (that’s Republic of Tea Ginger Peach, in individual tea bags, if you’re interested); give me a gift card if you’re stumped. But please, don’t send giant bears my way. And the same goes for footed pajamas. Who comes up with these things?

One last word about gift giving. In my opinion, the best gifts are those given “just because.” Because someone saw something that reminded them of me. Or because I saw a need and filled it for someone else. That giving is straight from the heart, and without obligation or expectation on the part of giver, or receiver. Or one step further, in this day when most people have what they need, and even what they want, maybe the best gift, regardless of occasion, is the gift of time and presence: the gift of self.

Well, even though I don’t want a gift, I’m a sucker for Valentine’s cookies. I think I’ve previously admitted my guilty love of Lofthouse sugar cookies…you know, the ones in the grocery bakery that have garish colored icing, but are so soft and delicious? Well, that’s how I celebrate the day. Nothing like a little red and pink food coloring to make a cookie look inviting.

Boy, do I feel better. Now that I’m pretty sure no bears or pajamas are heading my way, off to find some cookies.


  • Betty Choate
    February 12, 2012, 10:19 pm  Reply

    Sheila, you are just so good! I had to laugh out loud at your closing!

    • February 12, 2012, 10:34 pm

      Hey, you know I love a good cookie! Thanks Mom!

  • Hubby
    February 12, 2012, 10:29 pm  Reply

    How bout a $2,000 laptop with all the trimmings? Happy Valentines, sweetie 🙂
    Now you can write your blog and book in style.

    • February 12, 2012, 10:38 pm

      Now that’s a gift I can get excited about! Thank you, thank you, Valentines Day or any other! S

  • February 13, 2012, 3:50 am  Reply

    Ooh, sounds like Valentine’s Day at your house is gonna be fun – judging by Hubby’s comment! You’re right that the best gifts are ones that are given because they reminded the giver of you. I love finding something that I know the receipient will absolutely love!
    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • February 13, 2012, 8:19 am

      Yes, and the best part? He really did buy the laptop! (Although it was something we’ve been discussing for a while.) The timing was funny, the very day I put this post out.


  • February 13, 2012, 4:01 am  Reply

    I’m with you on this, too — no teddy bears or footie pajamas for me, either. I don’t need one more thing to move around and I’d die from heat in the footed pj’s – ugh!

    TLC and consideration = now that’s where it’s at!

    Loved your hubbs’ response .. MJ 🙂

    • February 13, 2012, 8:40 am

      Yep, and he meant it too! He really ordered the laptop yesterday! The timing was so perfect…he didn’t know I had written this post, and of course I was not thinking about laptop orders when I wrote it. May have to back track a little:)


  • February 13, 2012, 10:17 am  Reply

    Oh! No! Your bear is already on it’s way wearing footed PJ’s!!!! :o)
    Thank you for making me smile and for reminding us all of the precious gift of “self” – time and being fully present!!
    Eat a cookie for me please – I love them too!! How ’bout a cookie with a cup of hot Ginger Peach tea!!

    • February 13, 2012, 10:24 am

      Yes, I love cookies and tea, a little tea party is always good! We’ll have to find some gluten-free goodies for you!


  • February 13, 2012, 2:07 pm  Reply

    Who needs a valentine when you get a new computer!

    • February 13, 2012, 2:13 pm

      Yes, I couldn’t ask for a better gift! Even though this didn’t start out as a Valentine present, this one will cover me for all my big events this year! Now he’s really off the hook.:)


  • February 14, 2012, 8:36 am  Reply

    We feel the same way. I don’t like the hype. I don’t like to be compelled to go out for a fancy dinner just because it is Valentine’s day for instance. Or to expect presents and flowers. It is nice to do these gestures of flowers, presents or dining out even when there are no occasions but we just feel like doing them. 😉

    • February 14, 2012, 8:27 pm

      Yes, I like that best! “Just because!” ~ Sheila

  • February 14, 2012, 2:39 pm  Reply

    My wife and I have been married for almost 27 years, and we don’t really do Valentine’s any more. I agree with your assessment of it. Even when we did, I didn’t send flowers. Sometimes I send flowers “just because,” and I usually try to remember our first date and send flowers on that day. She gets a kick out of that one, because it is very unique to us.

    • February 14, 2012, 8:26 pm

      Yes, I like that better than a VD celebration! Remembering a day that is special to you…now that’s something to celebrate! ~ Sheila

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