It can be nerve-wracking to decide what to get your significant other for Valentine's Day, and when you're faced with the challenge of getting a card too, it's understandable why even people in relationships begin to dread the holiday.
When you're in a new baby bird relationship, sometimes you're not sure if a box of chocolates will suffice, or if a weekend getaway is too far overboard. Even in long term relationships, when you know for sure their favorite candy, or type of flower, or their entire wishlist, it can be daunting to decide how to approach gift giving on a relationship-centered holiday.
Personally, I've always been a nervous gift giver. I'll show them the gift receipt before they've even torn open the paper, and I'll insist even after they've said they like whatever it is that they can return or exchange it (and I promise I won't be hurt). One thing I've always excelled at (so I'm told) is writing cards. I guess my teeming emotional palette comes in handy when it comes to sentimental messages, and my handwritten cards are my saving grace.
If you're anywhere near the college kid income bracket, then buying a gift for your significant other, or even family and friends, on Valentine's Day can drain your motivation just as much as your bank account. Although writing a whole card yourself may seem like the unnecessary Life Hack videos that create more work than they eliminate, I promise you'll feel a whole lot better getting your feelings out on paper after you've expended yourself shopping for whatever else. If you share my frustrations with overpriced one sentence blurbs in glittery cards, here's why I prefer to give and get handwritten cards on Valentine's Day.
1. They're less expensive.Giphy
Although I love Hallmark (yes, I'm one of those people that will watch every single Hallmark Christmas movie on the air), they've run up quite a racket for cards with 15 words max on them. Writing your own can save that $5.75 for two Red Bulls, or a Megapack of gum, or a Grande Caramel Macchiato. Treat yourself, and make the card at home.
2. They're more heartfelt.Giphy
If you're writing to a significant other, they're probably going to appreciate you saying how you feel about them rather than how 100,000 other people feel about their significant other. Even if it's just including an inside joke, or saying something you may be afraid to say out loud, or just putting a personal touch on it, I'm going to quote my mom in saying that it means so much more from the heart.
3. You can get your creative juices flowing.Giphy
As a Creative Writing major, you may expect me to say this, but I mean it. If you're a STEM person, an art person or just NOT a words person, I promise writing for the pure fun of it is like nothing else. If I had to put it into words, I'd say that writing just because you want to is kind of like driving with the windows down in a drizzle. You're not risking much, like wrecking your interior if it was pouring, but you can feel the cold sting on your cheeks from the wind. It makes you feel excited, and who isn't chasing that feeling?
4. Not to be too deep, but writing can change your mind about things.
Sometimes Valentine's Day can be a turning point for people in relationships. Society sometimes puts a lot of pressure on what can seem like an arbitrary day where you're supposed to buy chocolates that nobody likes and flowers that die anyway. Although it may feel that way sometimes, and it may discourage you about the whole institution, I suggest reconsidering. If you feel like you're at a breaking point, romantically or emotionally, sometimes sharing that with someone can help.
I'm not here to give psychological advice, but I'm of the school of thought that bottling things up can never be good. We've all seen how well not talking went for Ariel in "The Little Mermaid," and I don't recommend it. Writing a card can kind of be like writing a letter, and that's talking. It may help.
5. Using glitter at home is 100% more fun.
Although loose glitter can be a nightmare as well as a childhood dream come true, it's always better than paying for a $7.00 glittery card that someone else got to decorate.
6. It's an excuse to buy the 50-pack of gel pens you always wanted.
If I'm alone in this wish, let me know, but you know the pens I'm talking about. The 50-pack of assorted gel pens that wrote with beautifully fluid ink and shimmered when held up to the fluorescent elementary school lights. If you invest in handwritten cards for every occasion, you can finally justify the purchase.
7. If you can't afford a gift, the person receiving your card won't even notice.
I get that money can be tight for all walks of life, and sometimes a stuffed bear holding a plush heart just isn't in the budget. If you dedicate a couple minutes to a heartfelt card, a genuine person wouldn't lament the absence of Mr. Teddy.
8. If you're against buying into the commercial side of love, don't.
If you hold the belief that Valentine's Day is a marketing scheme vomited onto a bunch of construction paper hearts, that's fine. I'm not here to judge, or to change your mind. If you're not about that commercialized life, don't buy Valentine's Day products. Sincere words on plain old loose leaf paper mean just as much as on decorated cardstock, if not more.
9. It has been proven that writing is cathartic.
This ties into writing for fun, but I think this is important. Writing your feelings down, especially one as complicated as love, can help you to understand what it is you want. I'm by no means a relationship adviser, but I think it's common sense to communicate your desires to someone you're going to share your time and affections with. Even if for whatever reason you never show it to them, I still think it can't hurt to write important internal things down, Valentine's Day or not.
10. If you receive a handwritten card, you'll feel warm and fuzzy. Promise.
I mentioned above that my mom used to tell me that a gift I made her was better than anything I could buy her in a store, and it took me longer than I care to admit to realize that she said that not because she didn't want me to spend what money I had on her. Instead, I realized that she genuinely meant anything I thought of to create for her generates a type of pure contentment that is unparalleled by anything else. Generosity, kindness, and love are some of the more sacred emotions in humanity's repertoire, and I think the culmination of those exists in a handwritten letter from someone you love.
Even if you are against giving Valentine's Day gifts because it's marketed as just for couples, or that overpriced rose bouquets are the only gift option, write a card for someone you care about this Valentine's Day. It doesn't even have to be for a significant other, or a crush, or anyone having to do with romantic love. My family has exchanged Valentine's Day gifts my entire life, and every year I look forward to buying my mom a box of chocolates with her favorite Peanuts character, Snoopy, on them.
I think Valentine's Day doesn't deserve the bad rep, but I also think Galentine's Day is one of the coolest things ever. If you're not a fan of the holiday because it's too cheesy, or too expensive, or both, I implore you to try writing a card this year. Give it to your sibling, your parent, your friend, or even just write it for yourself. I won't get into the history of the holiday, but the whole point is to appreciate someone you love, right? Don't let it be about money or decoration or clout. Appreciate someone you love this February 14th, and I completely respect your decision no matter who that person is.