Tuesday, February 19, 2013 | By: HiDee

Just a Hallmark Holiday

"Valentine's Day is just a Hallmark holiday," my husband claims, his voice derisive. 

He often accuses Hallmark of making up holidays, including Valentine's Day. Any day that encourages men to be mushy and publicly romantic with their women is suspect. 

In over 25 years together, I can count on one hand the number of times he's succumbed to the lure of a store-bought card. When our kids were little, he occasionally let them pick out cards – funny cards and cute cards, never serious cards. He prides himself on being a non-consumer of Hallmark paraphernalia. Instead, he makes his own cards – he says they should mean more than a store-bought version, and they do.  Every Valentine's Day, every anniversary, he selects a card from a deck of cards. On the face of the card, he composes a verse for me. 

He's not into PDAs – I can only think of a couple times in all our years together that he's held my hand. He only buys me flowers on our anniversary. But he'll pick violets from the yard and put them in a dainty vase on my windowsill.  He'll pick wild flowers from alongside a country road and put them in the center of my table. He plucks roses – one at a time – off the bush he bought and planted for me in our yard, leaving them in unexpected places to surprise me. I found one stuck in the keyhole of the bathroom cabinet, and another strategically placed on the dash of my car. What a nice way to start my day!
photo by HiDee Ekstrom
Occasionally we go out to dinner, but he'd prefer to pack a picnic lunch and take me hiking at one of our favorite parks. He knows how much I enjoy seeing deer and other wildlife (minus snakes and spiders) as we walk the trails. We've seen live clams, a skink (lizard), a variety of birds including eagles and an egret, a fox, raccoons, a ground hog, a snapping turtle, and a muskrat momma and baby. I've captured most of them with my camera.

In spite of my husband's insistence that Valentine's Day is a Hallmark holiday, the United States Census Bureau claims Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as Valentine's Day in AD 496. Hallmark can't even claim producing the first Valentines – that honor belongs to Esther Howland, a Massachusetts native, who sold the first mass-produced valentines in the 1840s. Hallmark wasn't founded until 1910, but their statistics include 10,000 new and redesigned greeting cards each year, with 49,000 products available at any one time. 

Thinking about consumer habits encouraged by companies such as Hallmark, I researched online and found some staggering Valentine's Day statistics:

180 million - the number of Valentine's Day cards exchanged annually
196 million - average number of roses produced for Valentine's Day
14% - percent of women who send themselves flowers for Valentine's Day
$116.21 - amount the average consumer spends on Valentine's Day
11,000 - average number of children conceived on Valentine's Day
Source:  www.statisticbrain.com/valentines-day-statistics/

24.7 pounds - the per capita consumption of candy by Americans in 2010
$880,893,904 - the value of imports for cut flowers and buds for bouquets in 2011
28.6 and 26.6 years - the median age of a first marriage in 2012 for men and women, respectively.
393 - the number of dating service establishments nationwide as of 2007
Source: http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/cb13-ff06.html

Hallmark probably has precipitated some of these numbers, but I won't argue with my husband. His personal romantic touch on our lives makes me happy.

What does your significant other do to make you happy?


Ana Morgan said...

Great post, HiDee. My husband picks flowers, too.

He remembers our anniversary each year. (I can never remember if it's on November 6th or 7th. We eloped in 1969. It was a crazy, dizzy time.)

He asked me to be his Valentine this year, which was a first. We don't buy gifts for each other. We hang out together, go out to eat.

Angela Adams said...

I think your husband is very "creative" and romantic. It doesn't take much effort to walk into a store, pull out a couple of dollar bills, and buy a pretty card (some men don't even read the words inside). But, your hubby expresses what's in his heart.

RT Wolfe said...

I've mentioned Hallmark in books one and two in my trilogy. LOL
-R.T. Wolfe

Renee Ann Miller said...

Hi HiDee, I enjoyed the post. Sounds like you have a great guy! I'd much rather have wildflowers than a fancy bouquet, especially if hand picked. My son's girlfriend gave him a deck of cards on Valentine's Day. She wrote on each card and labeled them 52 reason's why I love you. I thought it was so cute and original.

HiDee said...

Thanks for commenting! Ana, I think its great that you've been together so long. Angela, I think he's a closet romantic, but I won't tell him that! I wanted to put a picture up of the flowers and card he gave me this year, but he had a fit when he saw me taking a picture of it, so I didn't. Renee, I'm very luck to have a great guy. I love what your son's girlfriend did - thanks for sharing. And R.T., thanks for stopping by. :)

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