Controversial opinion, maybe, but I’ll be brave and say it: I like Valentine’s Day.

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Everyone just collectively groaned.

I know, I know, but hear me out. There’s something sweet about Valentine’s Day and all its cutesy pink, admittedly commercialized energy. We can skip the overpriced flowers and chocolates, but the theme of the day — love! — is at the heart of everything we do, no pun intended. It’s kinda sweet to have a full day to celebrate it.

I’ll admit, I’m coming at this with the perspective of someone who has never been in a relationship that demands a lot of Valentine’s Day spirit. My valentines have always been pretty laid-back about Valentine’s Day. I’d probably be singing a different tune if they took it more seriously, but since we’re casual Valentine’s Day observers, it’s just a fun holiday. A few candy hearts, maybe a stuffed animal, no biggie.

I have friends for whom Valentine’s Day is a much bigger deal. The day is like Christmas 2.0, with all the accompanying pressure.

No thanks. We just got out of the holiday season with all of its gift-giving and “best day of the year” stress. February is gray and sucky enough without the additional angst to make a random Wednesday into the most important day of a relationship. We can save that for an anniversary or something, not a consumerism-driven weekday.

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But even if you aren’t celebrating with a valentine this year, the day can still be sweet and special. I reject the idea that Valentine’s Day is all about romantic love. In fact, I’ve found that some of the best Valentine’s Days I’ve ever spent were more about my friends and family.

My friends and I exchange store-bought Valentine cards and little boxes of chocolates, and the underlying message is, “Hey, you. I love you! I love you so much I got us chocolate to share.” Chocolate is my love language.

I bring flowers home to my mother, and I’m saying, “Hey, thanks for everything. You’re the best! I love you every day, but here’s something special to make this cold day a little better.”

It doesn’t have to be deep. I always raise my eyebrows at people who hate Valentine’s Day with real venom. What did these candy hearts do to you?

And, of course, the best part about Valentine’s Day: Feb. 15, when all of the chocolates and candies go on sale. If nothing else, that’s worth celebrating with a passion.

I’d be remiss not to mention that my birthday is Feb. 14, so I really owe my mother some extra love every Valentine’s Day. Also, my favorite color is pink, so I’m already predisposed to like this holiday. But even if that weren’t the case, I still think Valentine’s Day is a fun chance to spread a little love to the people around you.

After all, February is gray and sucky enough. Why not sprinkle in a few candy hearts?

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