A friend of mine posted the photo below the other day with the caption “Seriously?” and the hashtags #toosoon and #valentinesday.
I have to say I agree. The holidays have been encroaching on each other for years now, particularly Christmas. Back in the days of yore (meaning when I was a kid), the Christmas season didn’t officially start until Santa made his appearance at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. These days Christmas decorations appear alongside Halloween candy in drugstores, and I’ve seen Christmas displays in retail outlets as early as August. North America barely finishes paying off the previous Christmas when the next one appears on the horizon.
Now we have Valentine’s Day encroaching on New Year’s Day. I started seeing Valentine candy the day after Christmas. This simultaneously bewilders and annoys me. First, how on earth can anyone keep chocolate around the house for six weeks without eating it? Are they not human? Do they not bleed?
Second, it feeds into what I call the Holidates Phenomenon, wherein single people feel they simply must have a partner to share the holidays with, as evidenced by a crunch in online dating sites between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, followed immediately by another surge right after New Year’s Day.
Call me an ice queen, but I don’t partake. I don’t do online dating regardless, but I also wouldn’t start dating someone I met in the wild during the holidays, either. Although it could be considered romantic to meet someone at that time of year, I’d wonder how much of the romance was based on genuine affection and how much of it was loneliness-avoidance owing to pressure from society, including the constant barrage from the retail sector about “gifts for that special someone.” It seems we move right from mistletoe to roses, without a break from pressure to pair off. Thing is, if I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it 100 times where people get together during the holidays and then break up in early March, so my policy is to just say no between November 1 and February 15.
At the risk of sounding bitter or rancorous, I haven’t been into Valentine’s Day for at least 25 years, anyway. I think I was 19 the last time it truly thrilled me. Even when I was married or in a relationship, it just seemed to be a manufactured holiday, something to fill the gap between Christmas and Easter. At the very worst, it’s an opportunity for florists and restaurants to price-gouge, and what you get for your money is often lower in quality than what you would have gotten the week before or the week after. I think it’s much better to celebrate personally meaningful dates, like an anniversary or a birthday, and more fun to share an experience together, like going away for a weekend.
So don’t mind me while I sit this one out. You’ll find me in the chocolate aisle the day after Valentine’s. Everything tastes better on clearance.