We are one day removed from the most popular "Hallmark Holiday" of the year - Valentine's Day.
How much did you spend? Pulling lint out of those pockets this morning?
You see, I've never really been a fan of the observance. I've celebrated it, much like the rest of you, but to me it's a questionable holiday at best.
It seems more of a competition. Children to adults.
In elementary school it's more of a contest to see which kid's parent is the most crafty. Heck, I've done the over-decorated shoe box for my kids, and when I was young I remember getting help on mine.
It's a competition that should be avoided in grade school, I think.
Lining up a box created by a parent from an idea on Pinterest beside one that a 9-year-old spent hours on without help can be a humiliating experience. The bells and whistles box vs. the one wrapped in aluminum foil just ain't fair.
Kids notice these things. Kids poke fun.
Parents should downsize participation. Teachers should perhaps eliminate the importance of these boxes or at least make them an in-class art project.
Decorating these boxes takes money - some parents spend at will, while others just don't have the means. Valentine cards, too, can be pricey. Treat bags are now the norm - each parent again attempting to out do the other. Honestly, folks, how many pencils does a kid need? And when did it become the norm to place anything other than candy inside a treat bag? Stop with the erasers.
As kids get older - those awkward teen years -there are no in-school parties. Perhaps there is a school dance. But kids don't bring decorated boxes to the classroom and I'd say very little Valentines are passed out -more so, privately, I assume.
Perhaps a teen purchases a teddy bear for that high school sweetheart, but have you noticed the cost of carrying one of those stuffed animals out the door?
Flowers on Valentine's Day is a tradition for most all those in love or looking to be in love. Being a florist on Feb. 14 is similar to an umbrella salesman during a rain storm or someone hawking bottled water in the desert.
Yet, on Thursday, many a man had flowers delivered to many a woman. And vice versa I suppose. Some of us personally delivered.
But my biggest argument has always been that cards and flowers should be more appreciated when one doesn't expect them vs. receiving them on a day catered to it. Think about that for a minute.
But when one is in love, you can't blame that person for wanting to make the other happy. If cards and flowers do the trick, then have at it.
I must admit, there is one day that really pains me- "Sweetest Day." If ever a (cough) holiday was manufactured it certainly was this one - concocted to fill the coffers of the businessman. No doubt.
There are other "Hallmark" types of days, though. Both "Secretary's Day" and "Boss' Day" come to mind.
Honestly, though, I could stomach Boss' Day. And for those who care, it's in October, and I prefer candy to flowers.
(Jim Mackey is managing editor of The Review. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org)