I’m going to level with you. I really hate the Hallmark bullsh*t. I hate that Valentine’s Day is about buying and spending and doing crazy commercially driven activities, like fancy dinners and extravagant gifts and weekend spa packages with rose petal facials. (Okay, maybe I don’t hate the spa thing). But I do resist the traditional consumerism of Valentine’s Day.
Don’t get me wrong. I like planning and doing special things and I look for every opportunity to celebrate. You found a pair of jeans you like? We’re throwing a party. You ruptured your appendix? I’m bringing soup and balloons to the hospital with a handful of confetti and a jar to bring that bad boy home in. Your poetry was published in an obscure magazine in Newfoundland? We are popping corks and eating brie ALL NIGHT LONG.
But I don’t feel loved or celebrated when my husband gives me a dozen, over-priced roses or some expensive chocolates in heart-shaped box. I feel…icky. I feel like I’m a part of the machine. And now that I’m a parent, I want this to be a family and fun-centered day, without the Hallmark trappings. So, my husband and I are committed to thinking outside of the heart-shaped candy box and creating traditions without unrealistic expectations of what this one day should be.
When we were engaged, L and I started a Valentine’s Day tradition. We lit candles, and poured cheap wine in regular kitchen glasses. We set up a fondue picnic in the living room, complete with hot cheese, toasted bread, veggies, fruit, melted chocolate and cubes of cake to dip it in. We set a $15 price limit and gave each other gifts from our hearts. We’ve carried that tradition throughout the last decade and it’s one of my all-time favorite things we do together. Some of our best conversations happen over that fondue pot, and we end up giggling like teenagers and eating way too much. It’s the happiest kind of celebration.
Tomorrow, we will start the day with heart-shaped pancakes, make cards with our son, E, and deliver these homemade chocolates to our friends. Then we will share wine and fondue with our friends in the evening, welcoming them into our tradition because the whole point of Valentine’s Day is to share the love. Okay. And maybe make the love, too. But just the two of us. No one else is invited.
Um, now it’s awkward.
Here’s a recipe for chocolate. Because chocolate.
Hi Honey! Chocolates
- 3/4 cup raw, organic coconut oil (I like Nutiva brand because I can buy it at Costco.)
- 1/2 cup high quality cocoa powder (My favorite is Rapunzel cocoa.)
- 2 Tbsp raw honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (scant)
- In a small saucepan on low heat, melt coconut oil.
- Remove from burner whisk in honey, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder.
- Pour mixture into silicone molds, or a parchment-lined pan if you’re making bark.
- Sprinkle with a tiny bit of sea salt, and refrigerate until hardened.
- Refrigerate until ready to consume. These chocolates melt at room temp!
For Maple Bacon Honey Chocolates: Follow directions above, but substitute honey for Grade B Maple Syrup, and add 1 Tbsp cooked, chopped bacon.
For Curry Honey Chocolates: Follow directions above and add 1 tsp of curry powder and a pinch of salt.
What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?
Thinking Outside of the Heart-Shaped Box,