Happy "Value-Times" Day!
Give me a home-baked vanilla cupcake fresh from a Duncan Hines box adorned with pink frosting from a can, and a Valentine card made of faded red construction paper with an endearing love sentiment, and you’ve won my heart forever! Those are the kinds of gifts I love for Valentine’s Day. I have friends whose husbands spend thousands of dollars on expensive jewelry, dozens of roses and lavish trips. I’ve never been in that stratosphere of wealth to even comprehend that kind of society-enforced consumerism. I much prefer the creative, spontaneous love language of cheap, cheesy gift giving.
Just this week I saw my friend give his wife a brand new high-end iron for Valentine’s Day. He presented it to her in a plastic grocery bag; because it was the floor model, it wasn’t even in a box! For some couples this would be a day of reckoning with Civil War proportions. But in this particular household, the iron was a gem of a prize. Prince “Practical” Charming got the exact iron his wife owned before—the one that she loved, the one that bit the dust a while back. He got a great deal on it and was quite proud to announce the process of his frugal acquisition. I watched as she smiled and gave him a hug. Very endearing. Very touching. Happy “Value-Times” Day!
Unless you know your spouse or significant other well enough to get away with this kind of homey/household giving and receiving, I’d stay far away from this style. It doesn’t work for everyone and it doesn’t fare well with many women out there who simply could not make it through another Valentine’s Day unless their husbands came up with the gift of the century! In our house, we’ve evolved into a Dollar Store mentality and have had a lot of fun doing so. We choose funny, silly gifts, and most have intentional and double meaning. It’s almost as much fun to see what in the world we can come up with that doesn’t cost any more than $5 or $10! For example, I found an obscure out-of-circulation DVD of a well-known slapstick comedy film from the 80s that my husband adored. I was so excited when I found it, knowing that he would love it. The cost? $8.18. Value? Surprise and happiness. When I got home from a recent road trip, on the table sat a cute little cross-eyed teddy bear super-glued to a decorative “I Luv U” bag for me. Cost? $1.00. Value? Priceless. Happy “Value-Times” Day!
One Valentine’s weekend, we got one of the worst snow blizzards on record on the east coast. My mother, who was all of 4 feet 6 inches tall, stepped off the front porch and was completely enveloped by a huge snowdrift. We lost her completely! When we finally figured out that she was gone, we rushed outside to see only the top of her head! As my dad—her Knight in Shining Armor—was attempting to rescue her, he laughed uncontrollably and said, “Dear, for a moment there I thought I’d be getting out of having to buy you a Valentine’s present this year!” That story goes down as a favorite in our family. A story. A moment. A value-time.
Value-time gift giving is the best!
1. Take the time to really know the love language or what “floats the boat” of the love of your life. The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman is a great guide to understanding your mate. There’s also an edition for singles. For the best in keeping the flame going in your marriage, be sure and read Red Hot Monogamy by Bill and Pam Farrel.
2. The spontaneous joy of creative gift-giving isn’t just for adults! Teaching kids early on to make handmade items is such a fun way of making memories. I still treasure those precious relics from my kids. They mean more to me than anything.
3. The gift of time is really the best. Scheduling a special alone time together ranks as one of the toughest things to attain, but well worth it. Make it about your mate. Make it about your relationship, and not the world’s expectations. The cost and value? Everything.
“I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love” (Galatians 5:4–6, The Message).