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Under most circumstances, I fully support the notion and practice of hating Valentine’s Day. A holiday made up by greeting card companies to make more money and to make single women people feel lonely because someone isn’t buying them flowers or chocolates or whatever.

I’ve been there. I’ve hated it. I fault no one for ruing the day.

I’m beginning to believe that there might just be greater meaning to this contrived mess of a day. I did a little research on the history of Valentine’s Day—here is a fun little connection to Heifer.

Lupercalia was a fertility festival in Rome to honor the Roman god of agriculture. Priests would gather at a sacred cave where the founders of Rome were rumored to have been raised. According to, the priests had a number of rituals that celebrated fertility and purification. We won't go in to the gory details here, but trust us — there were goats involved. 

Agriculture and goats! See the connection?

Heifer sells gifts of animals as an alternative to other gifts for holidays like Christmas, Easter and even Valentine’s Day. It gives you an opportunity to give something meaningful when we seem to be surrounded by a lot of contrived fluff.

You can buy yourself something on Valentine’s Day if you’re alone. Kick back on February 14 with your bottle of wine and Heifer honor card and remember that you aren’t just treating yourself, you’re feeding another family. (And if that idea is just too high road, remember what I suggested around Christmas about bees and exes or other people you might not even like? Yeah. Bees sting.)

You can buy a Heifer animal for someone you might be crushing on. A donation in their name? Nice and totally subtle, but full of meaning and a great conversation starter for when you’re ready to make your move.

If you do have a main squeeze, make this year be the year you break tradition and start a new one, by giving something that exponentially gives back to the world.

Kids still spoiled from Christmas? Forget purchasing another something they don’t need. Give them something that gives other children a chance.

So for Valentine’s Day this year, if we forget the notions of romance and chocolates and buying more stuff we don’t need and instead we focus on the more universal idea of love, I think we can make it work. Love is all you need, right? Don’t be a hater. Show some love to families all over the world this year, right now and give a real, meaningful Valentine.



Jessica Ford

Jessica Ford serves as the Global Communications Manager for Heifer International at its headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas. Ford joined Heifer in 2007 and soon transitioned into the executive office as Manager of Operations and Assistant to the COO. In 2012, she was relocated to Heifer's country office in Peru, as part of Heifer's first leadership development program giving her the unique opportunity to dive head first into Heifer's work "in the field" for a year. Now she is in Arkansas with her family where she loves watching her son play baseball, reading, rowing crew and drinking Dr Pepper.