Thursday, February 5, 2009

When it comes to love and valentines, some of the best things in life are free

By S. Derrickson Moore
Sun-News reporter
LAS CRUCES — Let’s talk about love. And Valentine’s Day, the primo day to officially celebrate it.
I can’t wait to catch some of the alternative Valentine’s Day art shows and celebrations this year, but —full disclosure — Valentine’s Day is my already my personal favorite holiday of the year and I beg to disagree with those who call it a contrived or “made up” holiday.
If you’re a V-Day grinch, I think you have the wrong attitude about the attitude that inspires the day. The way my loved ones and I commemorate it, it’s possibly the least commercial of celebrations.
You don’t need five dozen roses, diamonds, pounds of chocolate, a tacky stuffed bear, a $100 bottle of designer champagne or a steak and lobster feast that blows your family food budget for a month. In fact, I think the best ways to celebrate the day are inexpensive, by anybody’s standard. In fact, most of ‘em are free.
Here are my top ten ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day:
10. Take a walk with your loved one, your spouse, significant other, son or daughter or grandkid or niece or nephew. Or invite a friend or neighbor, a coworker, someone from your church or club ... anyone you’d like to get to know a little better. A little stroll is not as formal as a date, but might lead to one. Pick a pretty location like a local park, a desert trail, the Mesilla Plaza, the Downtown Mall, or a walk around any block you’re near when the spirit moves you.
9. Love your community. Prove you don’t have to be arrested to do community service. Volunteer for an hour or two for a cause that interests you. Walk a dog, help out at Jardin de los Niños or a senior center, join the Branigan Library Friends group. You might make a friend who loves the same things you do.
8. Dream some dreams. Invite a friend for a dream-storming session. Make a list of your top unfulfilled dreams and discuss how you can help each other make them come true.
7. Be a love slave. Give coupons to your loved ones good for anything from a hug and kiss to a backrub, a food massage or chores like a kitchen cleanup, a car wash, planting a garden, etc.
6. Plan a romantic picnic. Picnics are a romantic notion already, so it doesn’t matter if you don’t have the dough to spring for Champagne and caviar. Pack an extra brownbag lunch or zip through your favorite drive-through, then head for a nearby park or spread a pretty cloth on your patio or even your living room floor.
5. Write a poem or a song. Trust me, ANY poem or song you write yourself is likely to thrill your beloved, but if you can’t summon the courage, copy a favorite poem or download “your” song and present those, instead.
4. Send a love letter. Address it to the love of your life and rave about all your beloved’s qualities that you most admire. Deliver it in person or by snail-mail. If you haven’t met your soulmate yet, or if your beloved has died, send it anyway, via methods prized by sages in varied cultures: burn it with fragrant incense, tie it to a tree limb to blow in the wind or set it adrift in a body of water. (Love the earth, too: use easily biodegradable, recycled paper.)
3. Kiss someone: your spouse, your lover, your friends, your kids, your grandkids, your dog or cat. Be generous: throw in a hug or two. If your loved ones are far away, call ‘em up and blow a kiss over the phone.
2. Make your own valentines. Find some pretty paper and cut out hearts. Even recycled junk mail and magazine pages will do. Jazz ‘em up with lace, paint, interesting dried stuff from the desert or other found objects. Leave a few unsigned ones around on desks and doorsteps (extra points for thinking of people who aren’t likely to get any other Valentines on Feb. 14).
And the No.1 all time best way to celebrate Valentines Day:
1. Say “I love you.” Say it as many times as possible to everybody you’ve ever loved. Repeat it to your Creator. Face the wind and whisper it to unmet and departed loves. Keep saying it on every day that isn’t Feb. 14, too.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at

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