SweetHearts™ candy. (Photo: Shutterstock).

By Mary Lynn Bruny

Like a fair chunk of humanity, I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. It’s not like I had some traumatizing experience in high school on Valentine’s Day or I have been generally unlucky in love. No, I just think it’s kind of dumb.

Why do we need Valentine’s Day? If you are a couple, you have an anniversary. We also have birthdays and winter holidays to give presents to show affection. I know there is a historical origin to the holiday, but this doesn’t explain why now on Valentine’s Day at 5:30 p.m. one sees hordes of panicked teenaged to 30-year-old men at grocery stores scrambling to buy wilted red roses or whatever heart-themed crud is left on the shelves, usually garish pink and red teddy bears embroidered with “I wuv you.” So cringe-y.

I guess it’s not the love part of the holiday I have trouble with so much as its over-the-top couple-focused retail aspect. From its humble origins, Valentine’s Day (like Presidents’ and Memorial Days) has been hijacked by marketers who pressure couples (more so the poor men) into proving the level of their love and commitment via extravagant purchases.

Singles – many content with being so – are made to feel somehow deficient since they are not part of this collective love fest. Worst, those currently experiencing heartbreak are slung yet another painful arrow through their already hurting hearts. How many of them, like Bridgette Jones (in that classic scene), are crying while listening to “All By Myself” on continuous loop?

All that being said, there are several things about Valentine’s Day I really do like. The first is SweetHearts™ candy, those chalky hearts with silly phrases people either love or think taste like old antacids. They combine two of my favorite things: candy and quippy phrases. I also like giving and getting cards with sweet sentiments. Really, that’s nice any day of the year.

And despite my kvetching about stupid purchases, this year we are truly helping our communities when we buy gifts, food and services from our local businesses. In that spirit, even this Valentine’s Day curmudgeon wouldn’t turn down that thingie I want from my favorite store if my husband happened to buy it. (Hint, hint.)

But in terms of Valentine’s celebrations, the city of Loveland rocks it. First of all, what a great town name, right? (So much better than Hateland.) My late father-in-law of Fort Collins used to annually mail Valentine’s Day cards through Loveland to get their postmark, a lovely tradition the town has carried on for 75 years. Quit a feat. Then there are my personal favorites, the red message Hearts Around Downtown the city puts all over. These are so flipping adorable and fun to read.

Perhaps best of all, Loveland has turned Valentine’s into a fun festival for everybody with events, entertainment, art installations and of course, since we are in Colorado, a special craft beer (and wine and coffee). This is a Valentine’s Day celebration I can embrace (if I could embrace). Of course, it’s different this year with COVID (what isn’t?), but there’s still fun to be had. So much nicer of a way to spend the day then fighting over the last deranged looking teddy bear at King Soopers. But if you are there you might as well pick up a few boxes of SweetHearts™. You can never get enough of those.

For Loveland’s Valentine’s events, see visitlovelandco.org/valentines-day-in-loveland.

By Mary Lynn Bruny. Mary Lynn writes about local real estate and home-related topics. Contact her by e-mail at ml.bruny@comcast.net. To read previous The Lighter Side articles, go to athomecolorado.com/the-lighter-side.