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Valentine’s Day: Love or Lies?

Eva King

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Is Valentine’s Day simply a commercialized Hallmark holiday or a true day to express one’s unconditional love for another?

Celebrating Valentine’s Day dates back to the 5th century, obviously much longer than the Hallmark company has been in existence. However, this does not change the fact that Valentine’s Day has evolved from being a pagan fertility festival to a marketable ‘holiday’ of romance.

According to Hallmark research, over 140 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, excluding the children’s packaged Valentine cards for classroom swapping. Out of those 140 million cards, over 50% are purchased within six days prior to Valentine’s Day, transforming Valentine’s Day into a holiday of last minute procrastination.

Why are American’s procrastinating the purchase of these cards? This might be due to the fact that Valentine’s Day is an easily forgettable ‘holiday’. Once these people are hit by the arrow of little baby cupid in the recurring Target commercial, they feel obligated to rush out to buy cards, chocolates, flowers, or expensive jewelry.

What is more romantic than feeling obligated to treat your significant other to an expensive dinner and buy them overly priced European chocolate with a brand name no American can pronounce properly?

These typical romantic gifts are the least thoughtful presents you could ever give someone unless specifically told otherwise. Around February 14th, flowers, chocolate, and jewelry are being sold around every corner. There is an extreme lack of sentimentality and consideration towards what your significant partner truly enjoys. It is almost a slap in the face saying, ‘You are no different than the rest. Here is a fake diamond necklace I bought from Claire’s then wrapped in a Tiffany and Co. gift box I snatched from my mother’s house.’

Additionally, Valentine’s Day is only enjoyable for, you guessed it, couples. Apparently there are enough single people with the overwhelming desire to buy themselves a singing stuffed animal that Singles Awareness Day, or S.A.D., was created.

This is where the line is drawn for happy couples out there saying, “Singles Awareness Day isn’t even a real holiday!”. That is a little hypocritical to say, don’t you think?

S.A.D. is celebrated on February 14th or 15th, depending on how strongly one feels compelled to celebrate a festival of self-pity or of liberating independence. Singles around America buy themselves flowers, send themselves chocolate, or even decide to treat themselves on a vacation due to the blinding sea of pink and red come February.

These personal purchases may simply add to the $19.7 billion that people in the United States will spend for Valentine’s Day estimated by the National Retail Federation. Unknowingly, Hallmark has created two holidays centered around consumerism; one to buy gifts for a loved one and one to buy gifts for oneself.

For those of you planning to go all out this Valentine’s Day, instead of buying your Valentine a bouquet of red roses, treat your significant other with respect and love every day of the year.

For those of you expecting your partner to worship you like a royal this Valentine’s Day, understand that money and diamonds do not buy love. Find happiness in the little things that your partner does for you; do not take him/her for granted.

For those of you single people this Valentine’s Day, remember to laugh at the fact that you will not be the one spending hundreds of dollars on that person who forgot your birthday last year.

Remember that Valentine’s Day is a consumer-driven interpretation of love where one buys a mass-produced sentiment. Skip the Hallmark holiday festivities this year; enjoy the company of your significant other year-round instead.

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The student news site of Urbana High School
Valentine’s Day: Love or Lies?