It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. What’s the best way to show your love? Buy stuff. At least, that’s what the endless advertisements for products one might gift on Valentine’s Day are advocating.
Though Valentine’s Day has origins in the Catholic faith, it has long since lost whatever meaning it once had. At present, Valentine’s Day is not about celebrating love, but about celebrating consumer spending.
Consumerism has taken over the holiday, joining the laundry list of other Hallmark holidays, like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
Instead of celebrating Valentine’s Day in the manner corporations promote, give your loved one something with meaning.
It’s common knowledge that love is hard work. It’s about communicating with your significant other and showing your appreciation for each other every day of the year. But Hallmark and other such retailers want you to believe Feb. 14 is the best possible day to showcase your appreciation. They want you to believe buying lots of expensive gifts is the best way to express your love.
Planning a special night for your significant other on an ordinary date because you want to show your love and appreciation of them is highly advisable. The gesture falls flat, however, when you grab a heart-shaped box of chocolates from the massive display at Walgreen’s because it’s the calendar date society and advertisers say you should.
Doing something sweet for your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day has less meaning than, say, showing up with flowers on a random Tuesday. It’s more special and more appreciated when it’s delivered with intention and with no expectations.
But Valentine’s Day isn’t about love—it’s about money. And lots of it. According to StatisticBrain.com, the average annual Valentine’s Day spending in the U.S. is $13 billion, with the average consumer spending about $116.
For weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, consumers are heralded with red, pink and white hearts and are encouraged to buy gifts of chocolates, flowers, jewelry, stuffed animals and more, to win the affection of their partner. Magazines and newspapers (including The Eastern Echo) have an annual field day with recommendations of what
to buy, what to do, what to wear and what to eat.
The same holds true for other Hallmark holidays, too. Don’t wait for Mother’s Day, give your mom a box of her favorite chocolate next Sunday. Buy your dad a new power tool March 3.
As for your loved one, give him or her something that truly expresses your high regard when it’s unexpected. The delight and surprise at your unexpected thoughtfulness will be palpable, and your appreciation of your year-round Valentine will be much more touching.
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