If you've been reading this blog for a while now you'll have gathered 2 things:
- America loves to party and will jump on any 'holiday'* to celebrate;
- I absolutely love that they do because as you know I love to party too and love to share all the wackiness and over-the-topness with you.
In the UK we grumble (but secretly find amusing) the fact that straight after Christmas Day is over, on 26th December (Boxing Day) holiday company adverts (commercials) start appearing on television in between all the Boxing Day sales adverts (think Black Friday dear American friends) AND Easter eggs will start appearing in shops.
Over here, or at least in Phoenix, we have another holiday to be over-commercialised before Easter......Valentine's Day. I'm not sure how early stuff started appearing in stores, but it was definitely there by New Year's Day.
These are the sort of essentials you should be buying for your loved one ;) ......
But don't forget to get your Valentine Love Lights. Actually, I'm noticing something else here - the use of the word 'Valentine ........ ' rather than my instinctive 'Valentine's ......." not only are the Americans dropping the apostrophe (hot topic today in the UK with Waterstone's now becoming Waterstones) but they have dropped the 's' too. I find this rather interesting as in contrast they add an 's' to New Year that we don't in the UK. I noticed that as where would we say, "what are you doing for New Year's?" though we drop the Eve or Day to include both days, Americans say "what are you doing for New Year?" meaning both days too. I'm being all fascinated-linguist-nerd today aren't I?
Let's just show you another pretty photo.
I like that the retailers haven't felt confined to selling Valentine's Day gifts to couples - here we have gifts to "exchange with friends" and "exchange with classmates". I went into more detail about the gifts all school kids exchange with all their classmates last year (not something that happens in the UK so it's taken us a couple of years to get our heads around this one since we moved here).
Here's Melchett with her Valentine's Day haul from school last year:
No 'food police' at school here! Jamie Oliver has only made a very limited effect on improving the amount of sugar and salt in school meals or things kids bring in for birthdays etc.
If you missed my more detailed going into the little cards and gifts kids take into school for Valentine's Day, here are some of this year's choices:
Packs have sweets (candy), or stickers, or tattoos etc. in them as well as little cards on which you can write to each classmate.
Talking of sweets/candy, absolutely every brand of choccy treats are specially packaged up in pink or red bags for Valentine's Day too:
Being a big fan of anything cherry flavoured I might have to try the limited edition Cherry M&Ms.
Oh and if you did read Valentine's Day Watch 2011 and spotted me talking about the limited edition pillow pets.....look what I got last year for my wedding anniversary pressie (Feb 16th):
Yeah, I know I'm a woman in her mid-40s so some people would say I shouldn't have a cuddly toy, but I stick my tongue out at them and tell them to bog off. This imaginatively named 'Red Dog' has a very special place in my heart, not only because it was a present for my 20th wedding anniversary, but also because in our move to America two years ago my toy from childhood, 'Red Rabbit' (a saggy old red felted rabbit, a bit baggy at the seams...) got lost, and although I wasn't heartbroken because I'm a grown-up, it did leave a hole....that 'Red Dog' has now filled.
So, anyway, as you can see I am an old softy, and this is probably why all the Valentine's Day kerfuffle interests me.
*ie. a special day. There's a classic British English vs. American English word usage here: Brits use holiday to mean any time off work/school, whereas Americans use holidays mainly to mean the time around Christmas in December that include Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, New Year's Eve/Day, St. Nicholas's Day etc.
If you want to confuse an American just ask them in summer where they're "off to on their holidays?" because as I say 'holidays' is something they associate with December not summer. Americans would call this a 'vacation' in the 'intercession'. When I talk about 'school hols' it also confuses my American friends. Schools hols are called Spring Break (what Brits might also call half-term or Easter hols/holidays), Fall Break (Autumn half-term), or they might use the word 'intercession'.
I'm slowly getting the hang of all this.