Starting December 26th, millions of schmaltzy greeting cards are churned out and endless heart-shaped chocolate boxes begin to crowd grocery aisles in anticipation of the Valentine’s Day rush. Buying chocolates and flowers on Valentine’s Day may seem like a foolish expenditure that supports a corporate sham of a holiday, especially for the average cash-strapped college student, But perhaps we are too quick to malign this holiday; if today’s apocalyptic fixation has taught us anything, it’s that we should probably be telling the people we love that we do indeed love them, and it helps to have a day reserved for doing just that. Besides, who doesn’t love getting flowers and chocolate?
This Valentine’s Day, think beyond the Hershey’s Pot of Gold when picking up gifts for friends and lovers; there are many bakeries, florists, and gift shops well-known and well-loved by Jumbos that offer delightful Valentine’s Day presents. Going local for V-day doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank, either. Think whimsical and inventive, not mawkish and ordinary. For example: instead of a humungous box of waxy chocolates from CVS, how about a handful of amazing truffles from the Danish Pastry House? The sweethearts of chocolate lovers should also be steered towards L.A. Burdick near Harvard Square. Their chocolate treats are placed in simple wood boxes and tied with a red or pink silk bow, starting at $20 for 16 pieces. Those who, like myself, plan to squeeze back into their bikinis for Spring Break in March will surely appreciate quality over quantity.
Cupcakes—once relegated to the realm of tasteless, Crisco-laden confections served in plastic containers at birthday parties—have become modish, boutique desserts that can make for a charming V-day present. “Sweet” in Harvard Square, a fabulous product of the booming cupcake industry, can put together a box of their delectable mini-cupcakes for your main squeeze. Overachievers can even customize their orders to spell out I <3 [insert crush’s name here]. Mere mortals can run over to Kickass Cupcakes, pick out one with pink icing and call it a day. Served in a simple box with red hand-dyed twine, this gift is sure to please. Of all of these, however, making your own cupcakes is always the cheapest and most personal option.
For the I-prefer-the-cheese-plate kind of girls, though they may be few and far between, gifting flowers is another sure-fire Hearts Day option. But before you tearfully reach for your wallet to shell out 70 bucks for a dozen red roses, check out a local florist like Ulla’s on Boston Ave, which can put together a cheaper but still lovely bouquet of flowers. Red tulips, pink stargazers, or purple calla lilies are fabulous substitutes for your average roses. For the traditionalists or the florally challenged, a single red rose should never be underestimated. A single carnation, however, is gag-worthy.
While it may be trendy to hate Valentine’s Day, , the merits of this holiday are all in the eyes of the consumer. Being original on February 14th doesn’t necessarily mean reaching for the doilies and Elmer’s glue, but it may mean hopping on the T.
A Brief History of Valentine’s Day
There is much speculation about the origins of Valentine’s Day. According to one legend, during the third century in Rome, Emperor Claudius II issued a decree forbidding young men to marry, hoping to swell the ranks of his army with unattached bachelors. One Roman priest named Valentine refused to comply with the unjust edict and carried on performing marriage ceremonies for young couples in secret. When his actions were discovered, Claudius commanded that the recalcitrant priest be executed. From then on, Valentine was considered a martyr for romantic love.