This year I've taken a pledge. I, too, sometimes feel that holidays are advertised to the extreme. But I decide to approach it from the angle of what can I do to make it matter, and better, not what can I do to gripe. In my effort to make it matter, I'm trying to do gifts of thought, not price. Not to demean the value of chocolate or flowers: I admit those have a special place in my heart, and I am shallow or typical enough that I do enjoy those standard gifts. (Standards are also standards for a reason). So, what does I mean by gifts of thought, not price? Mostly, handmade or thought-full gifts. These include gifts of my time instead of my money. And I think that most people try very hard to spend their thought as well as their money on their gifts for others. And I like to encourage that.
I am lucky enough to have a Valentine in my life, and for the Romance day this year I wrote him a book. It's simple. It's made of cardstock and a manilla folder I had in my house. Only 9 pages in big print, each page with a different kind of fabric heart in the center. And it is the best valentine I've given. What a reward for me to see his face as he recognized the silly, sometimes cheesy, but specific reasons of why he is special to me. And he's not the cheesy type. But it mattered to him. And it was better than anything I could have bought because it was so personal. So what about the pledge, you say? It's this: I pledge this year to spend more giving of my self, not my money, on the people that matter most to me. Not only will it be healthy for the wallet, it's healthy for the heart.