Let there be (saintly) love

As regular readers will know, I’m not a particular fan of abbreviating words or finding shorter ways of saying things. I always prefer calling friends David rather than Dave, for example. Although only if they are actually called David. I tried calling my friend Liz ‘David’ once. Suffice to say that these days she’s less ‘my friend Liz’, and more ‘Liz’.

When it comes to Christmas, I absolutely point blank refuse to call it ‘Xmas’. Yes, I know that it’s derived from the Greek for ‘Christ’, but exactly how lazy do you have to be to say ‘ex-mass’ rather than ‘Christmas’. That millisecond that you save is hardly going to be the key factor that prevents you from achieving world peace and instead condemns man to a life of pestilence, war and famine, is it?

So today (he said, sounding progressively more like the grumpy old man that he fears he may well be becoming), I’m finding myself unwittingly engaged in a one man crusade to remind people that February 14th should be known as Saint Valentines Day, as opposed to Valentines Day. Nobody in this country uses the ‘St’ anymore, it would appear. It doesn’t appear in news coverage, it doesn’t appear in incessant adverts persuading me to buy chocolates, and it doesn’t even appear on the ‘Valentines’ cards themselves.

I wished The Special One a happy St Valentines Day this morning, and she looked at me as if I had wished her a Merry Little Smurfmas. Even the (very funny and apt) blogs I’ve read today from Brits and Americans alike have insisted on calling it Valentines Day.

Maybe I just missed a meeting when a group decision was taken to drop the saint? Or perhaps it’s for the same reason that I have to say ‘happy holidays’ rather than ‘happy Christmas’? Whatever the case, it’s frankly taking the pisssaint.

I know as much as the next man that Hallmark have hijacked this old fertility festival and turned it into an easy way of boosting sales at an otherwise difficult time of the year. But at least let’s try to stick to the – ahem – romance of the original inspiration. Let’s face it, it’s got to be better to feel you’re being persuaded into a outward demonstration of love to honour the memory of a dead bloke from Rome, rather than because of the difficult first quarter of American Greetings’ financial year?

Now, hands up all of you who think that this unmitigated rant is going to help me when The Special One discovers that I haven’t bought her roses?

Me neither.

15 thoughts on “Let there be (saintly) love

  1. Karen

    Oooops Your in trouble then 🙂

    We(me and my other half) don’t celebrate St. Valentine’s Day anymore. I just find it so unromantic, to be forced into being romantic for one day. Isn’t it so much better to receive something special when it’s not expected? I think so anyhow and have banned himself from even wishing me it today.
    I do call it St. Valentine’s Day though 😉 Call it what it is.

  2. jessica in rome

    I think the shortening of both represent the want (or commercial motivation for) distancing the holidays from the church. I personally use Xmas because what does greedily giving and receiving presents have to do with a possible Messiah’s birthday? However, I do enjoy the holiday, but prefer to disassociate the commercial aspects from the actual meaning of the day. Here in Italy it is far less commercialized and much more religious. I don’t yet know what religion to follow yet, but I can definitely say that in Rome it is Christmas and Saint Valentines Day, where in the US it is Xmas and Valentine’s. Does that make sense?

  3. Erin

    Your feed stopped working on google reader. I’ve missed so much! Did you switch over to feedburner or something?

    PS: Please get yourself promptly to a florist and pick up your wife some flowers if you haven’t already. It’s really important to do things like that without too much prompting 🙂

  4. Almost American

    Guilty as charged! I claim brainwashing as I’ve been living in the US for over 20 years now, and haven’t spent a Saint Valentine’s Day in England in that long! And yes, I’m sure it’s all to do with taking all references to religion out of the name.

  5. jAMiE

    I use Valentine’s day too..sorry. I have no idea where or why Saint got lost but when you say it, it sounds much nicer to say Saint Valentine’s day.

    Did you get your wife roses in the end?

  6. jAMiE

    ps…my url for my blog has been changed…just thought you’d like to know so you can change it on your blog this…thanks for adding me!

  7. Dylan

    Karen – you’re definitely right about it being a bit artificial, although banning the mention of the phrase (Saint or not) is maybe a bit draconian!

    Jessica – right, that’s it, you’re off my Christmas card list for persistent use of the ‘word’ Xmas…

    Erin – have you not seen the site since I changed the design? I had a few feed problems at the time, although it’s always been with Feedburner throughout. My Google Reader seems to be working (I have my feed on there so that I can check it’s OK) but it may well have been broken for a while. Glad that you’re back now (see if you can help me fill in any of the missing US states that I’m looking for!)

    AA – you’ve changed, that’s all I can say!

    Jamie – will change your URL later!

    And all, you’ll be pleased to know that I bought The Special One some white tulips…much more classy (and less Hallmark-y) than red roses. Ahem.

  8. Erin

    Dylan, Re: your response above, this is the first I’ve seen of the new design. My google reader feed definitely must have shut down last month at some point. Anyway, the new layout is great! Very streamlined.

  9. Rachel

    I’m REAL guilty. I sent a text yesterday with Happy V Day! White tulips – very good choice! I hope you both enjoyed the day together.

  10. Expatmum

    Well, for the purists, there’s always that other beloved Hallmark holiday – Sweetest’s Day, (I think that’s how you spell it). That way you don’t have to get your knickers in a twist about the nomenclature. However, it probably falls into the same category as the woman who once said “Life’s too short to stuff a mushroom”. Not Martha Stewart I think.

  11. Karen

    Well maybe it is a bit mad to ban him saying it, but he kept bugging me all day saying it! Sometimes working together has it’s bad points haha

    White tulips are really nice. Over here in Iceland, we still have the Women’s Day to come at the end of Feb, they don’t “officially” celebrate St. Valentines Day, but it did creep into the florists advertisements yesterday and the chocolate shop had decorations of course.

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