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Valentine’s Day: traditional views from the Etiquette Guy
Valentine’s Day: traditional views from the Etiquette Guy

By Jay Remer, the Etiquette Guy

I remember when everyone exchanged Valentine’s Day cards with one another in grade school. I hope that tradition still exists. It was good because we took some time to recognise the good in each person with whom we spent so many waking hours of our young lives. It taught us the basics of respect for everyone, and everyone was included. As we matured and youth gave way to adolescence we became selective to whom we gave cards. Family members received cards too. We watched as mothers and fathers exchanged cards, flowers and boxes of chocolates. Often, we would be included in this tradition so we appreciated its importance.

How we give a gift is often times more important than the gift itself. When a gift is given anonymously, we like to try to have a small hint as to who gave it. When we give our husbands and wives gifts, we make an effort to select something they would really like. I often think of buying things which I know the other person would never buy for themselves and would consider it a real treat.

The rose has become the traditional Valentine’s Day flower. The commercialisation of this holiday magically increases the price of roses to an astronomical sum. Consider an alternative — perhaps a single, beautifully packaged rose on Valentine’s Day and one each day for several days after is another option. Certainly a rose or roses are a lovely gift at anytime. To keep flowers fresh on the day after purchasing them be certain to store them in a hidden cool place. With good care, roses ought to last a week.

There are,  of course, a variety of gifts and kindnesses that will cost little or nothing and are full of meaning and of course love. One of the things which we never seem to have enough of these days is time with our loved ones. This holiday ought to be a punctuation mark on our busy calendars where we set aside time and give ourselves permission to spend meaningful time with those whom we love. Sometimes it’s a new girlfriend; sometimes a family member who is housebound; or more often than not it is the person who means the most to us - our spouse. That special person who means the world to us is sometimes taken for granted.

Valentine’s Day is a wonderful day to take the time to tell them you love them and how much they really mean to you. Think about arranging for a babysitter so that you might enjoy an evening out. Suggest going out for a quiet walk, a movie, or a concert. Share some special time. It is more difficult for men to express their emotions verbally. Though relying on the heartfelt words of any of the romantic poets will help in telling a loved one of your feelings. Sitting down and writing a beautiful card has tremendous impact on your loved one. This expression of one’s feelings shows sensitivity for romance and is healthy and joyously received.

For ladies, giving flowers or candy to a boyfriend or husband has become common place and accepted graciously by the man receiving them. Men and women thrive on attention and love a chance to spend some quiet time alone with their partner. This is a wonderful time to rekindle the feelings you have for one another.

Whoever it is that you love, this is a very appropriate time to express that feeling. It is also a time to consider how good it feels to love and be loved. Let us practice our Valentine’s Day traditions throughout the year. How good we’d feel about ourselves and others. This form of respect is contagious. Our children and parents notice it and it makes them happy. Having gratitude and showing it in demonstrable ways is the very essence of the etiquette of this holiday. Giving gifts of flowers, candy and our time are the ways to deepen and express our feelings for one another.

The important thing is to do something. Doing something shows that you love and respect those around you and yourself as well. Be fully engaged in your life. Take a moment this Valentine’s Day to actually smell those roses. Do it for you and do it for those who care about you the most!

Title photo: source

Thumbnail photo: D Sharon Pruitt

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