Jaywalking: For the love of it all

John Walker
Opinion Editor

Valentine’s Day is the one holiday I swore off when I was younger. Of all the useless days to celebrate, why would we make one entirely centered on the commercialization of love. Not only is it entirely a waste of money, it’s a celebration of the No. 1 cause of human problems. Nothing comes close, not even the attainment of power, to the havoc love wreaks throughout history.

There are many other holidays we can take pride in. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a time to reflect on our civic duty and give back to the community. Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for our graces and the harvest for the year. Christmas is a time to spend with our family and celebrate the past year, while New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate the next year as a gift.

In fact, only Halloween comes close in the race for uselessness. If it weren’t for Latin countries and Wiccans it would be the one on the chopping block.

However, for the first time in my life I can say I found a purpose in celebrating Valentine’s Day. I am a sucker for romantic notions, just not for the cheesy heart-shaped chocolate boxes. So when I decided to order flowers and buy a card the thought of candies and teddy bears never once crossed my mind. I was only thinking of her. Even when I caught myself being the world’s biggest hypocrite, standing in the aisle full of cards at the pharmacy, I knew she was more than worth it.

Why is it OK to forego all those previous reasons for not participating? After experiencing the humility I think I have figured it out. We have lost the authenticity we once had in celebrating our holidays. Christmas is about presents, not sitting around the fire with the family and telling stories. New Year’s is more about getting wasted, not being with friends and family. And Halloween, well, we’ve already been over that one.

What we need today is to find the real meaning in these holidays and stop clouding them with the material aspect of the department stores. We should celebrate Halloween to honor our ancestors just as we should celebrate Valentine’s for the ones we love the most. Why not replace that box of chocolates for a dance and a kiss? Or we could stop buying the teddy bears and spend that money on cooking a most excellent dinner.

I know these suggestion aren’t completely unheard of. There are plenty of families and couples who find better ways to spend their holidays. What we need now is more people to find unique, immaterial ways to celebrate the holidays. If we could all find a way to do this we might find a lot more worth celebrating.