A Faux Pas on February 14th?
It’s every single person’s favorite time of the year… February! And I’m not just talking about the whole month, I’m talking about one, specific day that even if it is not highlighted in your calendar, you’ll know exactly what your plans are for that day. Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a romantic holiday where couples and loved ones come together, have dinner, and say “ I love you.” But where did Valentine’s Day even start? And how did it become so commercialized? Why can’t I tell someone I love them every day?
According to History.com, Valentine’s Day origins are a bit difficult to pin point. Some researchers say it began with a man named Valentine who was being persecuted by the Romans and before his death left a note, “from your Valentine,” for his loved one. Another tale mentions the fear of the growing popularity of a Pagan holiday, Lupercalia, on February 15th. In order to counteract the spread of Pagan gods, Christians created Valentine’s Day, a feast day for St. Valentine.
It seems the “commercialization” of the day might have begun around 1840 when a woman by the name of Esther A. Howland started creating Valentine’s Day cards. They were fashioned with string, lace, and romantic symbols. Hallmark can thank Esther. But I’m not so sure I would thank her… According to Statistic Brain, the annual Valentine’s Day spending is around $13.19 Billion with the majority of gifts being given cards (52%) and candy (47.5%).
I’m not saying I think it’s a terrible idea to send your loved one a card on Valentine’s Day. What I am saying is that I hate how blown up this holiday has become from where it first originated. Every store in America prepares months in advance for sell outs of chocolate roses, candy hearts, flowers, cards, and teddy bears. Merchandise. This holiday revolves around merchandise. Again, a card or a gift is awesome, but what about the other 364 days of the year?
And how many times do you come across funny articles or ecards describing the sad, sad life of a single on Valentine’s Day? Some that come to mind: “Happy early Valentine’s Day to someone who should already be planning the greatest night of my life”, “Happy Valentine’s Day from a secret admirer who really exists and isn’t just you sending this card to yourself”, and “May your Valentine’s Day disgust all your single friends.” Since when is Valentine’s Day a day to feel bad about yourself? Again, quoting Statistic Brain, 14% of women send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day. WHY?!?
I think that if everyone spent a little less time focusing on Valentine’s Day as a whole, and started appreciating loved ones during the entire year, we might not see this spike in single’s depression and sold out merchandise. Obviously, Valentine’s Day isn’t going anywhere. And obviously people will continue to spend large amounts of money for nice dinners and jewelry. That all put aside, we should balance out our gratitude and love with gifts all throughout the year. Even better, celebrate Valentine’s Day more than once during the year. Send your mom a Valentine’s Day card in August! Get a dozen roses for your girlfriend after her soccer game!
Although we cannot control the commercialization that goes on around us, we can control our own choices following those commercials. We have the right to choose what we want to purchase, when we want to purchase it, and how much we want to spend. So don’t listen to the ads that say “Get dad a Rolex to show him how much you love him this Feb 14th!” Get dad that watch after he accomplishes his first 10K. If you can learn how to balance this appreciation and not fall into commercialism, you will find yourself a very happy, loving, and balanced individual.