Valentine’s Day: an over commercialized holiday

Elizabeth Walker, Staff Writer

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Admit it. Valentine’s Day isn’t quite what it’s cracked up to be. Despite having a good intention and an underlying cute message, this holiday is simply ho hum and uninspiring. Alas, the obligatory sense of giving on this day is slightly off-putting and prosaic when forced down the throats of the common masses as a ploy for big companies to make money off of feelings and emotions.

Do you know why we celebrate Valentine’s Day? It was created by mixing Roman holidays and Christian traditions together. We have long strayed away from what the holiday was originally created for. This holiday is named after St. Valentine, who has many legends swirling around his name. Some say he freed Christians from prison and sent notes to his love, resulting in a day commemorating their love. Others say he helped young men and their loves get married when the emperor declared that young men who were soldiers were not allowed to marry. These and other romantic gestures spurred people to create a designated day to show affection for people they care about, thus creating Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day has become less about the emotional aspect of love and more about the material gain that stems from said “love.” On February 14, it’s considered improper for a person with a significant other to not show their appreciation through surprise gifts. A headache in itself: trying to find out what your significant other wants to receive on Valentine’s Day. This obligation is laborious, and many people shouldn’t conform to this idea simply because it is strongly advertised by big companies and people around you to participate in this holiday. Why are the people who love you required to produce tokens of their affection on a specific day to show that they actually care about you? Conforming to this ideal only proves that people want things to show for their love rather than actions. If you truly love someone, every day should be Valentine’s Day.

Furthermore, Valentine’s Day is also full of unmet expectations. Millions of people around the world spend Valentine’s Day alone and secluded by themselves. Watching everyone swoon over one another as you sit at home flipping through The Big Bang Theory reruns is never enjoyable. Moreover, partners find themselves in hot water if they forget about this sneaky holiday. Sometimes even well-intentioned sweethearts can’t compete with their partner’s grandiose expectations of this perfect day inside their head. Many times people find themselves let down by this holiday, simply because they’re asking too much out of a regular day that people constantly idolize. Be cautioned on this holiday because as it brings people together, it can just as easily tear them apart.

The ideal that I despise most about this holiday is that love is being monetized and turned into a corporate profits. Americans as a whole are projected to spend roughly 18.2 billion dollars each Valentine’s Day (averaging out $136.57 per person) on flowers, chocolates, jewelry, cards, and other tangible items. This consumerist notion is not only ridiculous, it’s downright heedless. Valentine’s Day continues to get more and more expensive as the years progress. Spending a large sum of your money for a fleeting moment of happiness can sometimes be reckless. People should worry less about the gifts they give/receive and more about the true feelings in their hearts. Showboating is never appreciated, especially on Valentine’s Day.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Valentine’s is all for naught; in fact, I think it can sometimes be very beneficial. People think this day should just be for lovers or people who are courting, but I think that this day can be for anyone who wants to show true appreciation for people they care about. It also can be very endearing to show appreciation through handmade gifts or actions deliberately taken to show gratitude for an individual’s existence. Chivalry still exists someplace, and I think to truly find it we must step away from the facade of love that Valentine’s brings and go back to the purest form of love there is: telling someone you care about them. For those who can honestly take nothing good from this holiday, just remember this—on Feb. 15 all the Valentines candy goes on sale.