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Show the Love: Donate Blood

images-1I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day, at least in the tradition sense. With the holiday comes a tremendous amount of pressure to speak the most romantic phrase that’s every been spoken or make the most romantic gesture that’s ever been made, and more often than not – at least in my experience – expectations get out of hand and the day ends up a disappointment. Additionally, Valentine’s Day has recently become a “crafting” holiday (thanks a lot, Pinterest), and I always feel like I’ve let someone – my kids, their friends, the crafting world – down if I don’t create elaborate, homemade Valentine’s Day cards for my kids to distribute in their classrooms.

I celebrate Valentine’s Day with my children, not because I love it, but because they love it. We make Valentine’s Day cards for friends, we bake a heart-shaped dessert to enjoy after dinner, and I give the kids a small Valentine’s Day gift that they receive at the end of a treasure hunt. I try my best to keep the day very simple and it usually ends up being fun.

I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day with my husband because neither of us is interested in adding any additional stress to our lives. We don’t buy each other extravagant gifts, go out to dinner, or spend a weekend away; usually we enjoy a piece or two of my heart-shaped dessert, tag along with the kids on their treasure hunt, and give each other a Valentine’s Day card (which he purchased on the way home from work an hour earlier).

It’s not that I don’t think Valentine’s Day is worth recognizing or that I don’t love my husband enough to celebrate our love on February 14th. It’s just that I don’t really like the way our society celebrates Valentine’s Day: the pressure, the expectations, the money.

donate_blood_rotator_0I’d been looking for new ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day when it suddenly came to me…what better way to show my love – for my community and those who call it home, including my family and friends – than to donate blood at an American Red Cross blood drive?

Donating blood adds very little stress to my life: all I need to do is schedule my appointment and show up. Donating blood takes very little time out of my day: between the amount of time I spend in the car and the hour or so I spend at the drive, I’m committed for less than two hours. Donating blood costs me nothing, AND I get a cookie out of the deal (which I can enjoy, guilt-free, because it’s Valentine’s Day and we’re all allowed an extra treat or two on holidays).

Donating blood is the perfect Valentine’s Day gift.

So as Valentine’s Day approaches, I invite you to consider celebrating a little differently this year. Click here to find a Valentine’s Day blood drive in your area and to make an appointment to donate. (And don’t worry if there isn’t a blood drive ON Valentine’s Day in your area – you can always draw the holiday out a little longer and donate during the week before or after.)

Show the love: donate blood!

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