Valentine’s Day. Is it about love or is it just another consumer driven holiday?
Many decluttering / simplifying / minimalist blogs (including this one) rail on the consumer driven culture surrounding Christmas, but Valentine’s Day is just as crazy.
I found reports stating:
Consumers are expected to spend $15.7 billion for Valentine’s Day, with the average person spending $115, compared to $103 in 2010. However….only $1.5 billion dollars are spent on candy….Valentine’s Day is the fourth biggest holiday for candy sales, according to the National Confectioners Association (following, unsurprisingly, Halloween, but also Easter and Christmas)
and according to the Greeting Card Association:
approximately 160 million greeting cards will be purchased for Valentine’s Day this year. (This number does not include children’s packaged valentines which are typically exchanged by students at school.)
Plus, greeting card sales are up since more cards tend to be exchanged when Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday. Flower sales are up for a similar reason. Since it’s the first Valentine’s Day in 3 years to fall on a weekday, flower sales increase when someone can send them to a loved ones workplace to be put on display for all to see, or envy.
I recall how my parents used to celebrate Valentine’s Day when I was a child, it was just another day. Well that may be simplifying it a bit, but I don’t remember a lot of hubbub surrounding the occasion. My mom might make a special breakfast or my dad might make a point of doing the dishes that night or doing something special for my mom but I’m pretty certain there wasn’t a lot of consumer activity concerning cards, chocolates and flowers. My mom and dad have always told each other they love the other one each day and more emphasis has always been placed on celebrating their wedding anniversary in terms of a nice dinner out or going to a play or a weekend away from home. My mom knew that some chocolate might be coming her way for Valentine’s Day but that it would arrive in the house no earlier than February 15th. My dad’s rationale was that the chocolate is still good and means the same when it’s on sale for 50% off. My mom never had a problem with that.
My wife and I have never made a huge deal about Valentine’s Day either. I think the first couple years of marriage there were cards and dinner and such, but now, 11 into our lives together it’s almost just become February 14th instead of a holiday. Today, for instance, she’s busy at college taking a big exam, I’ll be heading to work in the afternoon and frankly, she surprised me this morning by saying “Happy Valentine’s Day” as I had forgotten the day had arrived. Tomorrow she’s planning to make a nice breakfast casserole and we’ll spend the morning together -kids at school- watching some syndicated comedy reruns on Lifetime while sipping coffee and laughing together. She mentioned going out to eat for lunch which will be a nice treat. We’re pinching pennies these days so the last time we went out to eat was…..hmmm, ummm.
Our day tomorrow will be as much about us wanting to be special to each other as anything else. The catalyst might be that today is Valentine’s Day but the reason will be because we love and cherish each other.
When you show someone you love them every day and throw in the occasional surprise you don’t need goofy holidays to remind you to be romantic. It’s always there.