Celebrating with a little schmaltz

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Column by Robert Villanueva

By Robert Villanueva

Tuesday is Valentine’s Day, and I can’t help but reflect on how Valentine’s Day means different things to different people.

For some, it’s an occasion to shower loved ones with cards, candy and gifts.

Others decry what they consider the over-commercialization of a pseudo-holiday or the outright fabrication of an occasion as an excuse to spend money.

As jaded as I am, in general, I must admit I’m closer to belonging to the former group than the latter.

Valentine’s Day, for me, is a way for my girlfriend, Rebecca Ricks, and I to set aside time specifically forT each other and honor shared love.

Yeah, I know: it probably sounds schmaltzy to some.

And that’s not to say I don’t honor our love any other day or set aside any other time for Rebecca. It’s just that Valentine’s Day has evolved into a tradition for us and not one based on anyone else’s interpretation but ours.

In fact, we don’t buy flowers for each other, unless they can be planted in the garden. We exchange very little candy, if any, usually purchase gifts not specific to the occasion and often make our own cards for each other.

Then there’s the homemade pizza and champagne dinner. That was what we had our first Valentine’s Day, and we’ve had it every Valentine’s Day since then.

We spread out a picnic blanket in the living room and watch a romantic movie while we exchange gifts and eat.

Yeah, I know: for some, that’s just more of that schmaltzy stuff.
Not everyone gets into the spirit of an occasion represented by a diapered, winged humanoid of indeterminate age who shoots amorphous arrows at unsuspecting victims. Hmm, when I put it like that, it sounds pretty weird.

But that’s the cool thing about any occasion. You’re free to enjoy it — or not — on your own terms.

Sure, the significance of many occasions was instilled in some of us at a young age.

Remember Valentine’s Day card boxes in grade school? I’m not sure they even do those anymore, but if not and if you’re too young to know about those, just play along. Or how it was imperative to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day to avoid getting pinched by your classmates? These days, I could purposely avoid the color that day with little or no consequences.

And what about Father’s Day and Mother’s Day? Though ideally we should honor our parents every day, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day again offer special occasions to do so. And again, for some, they are yet more examples of the over-commercialization of pseudo-holidays or outright fabrications of occasions as excuses to spend money.

It really all depends on what those occasions mean to each individual.

And that’s fine. To each his own.

As far as I’m concerned, Valentine’s Day is a day of tradition in our household.

A tradition and a day of schmaltzy stuff.

Our schmaltzy stuff.

Robert Villanueva can be reached at rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com or (270) 505-1743.