By Uri Prescott
Ditching the consumer holiday for an alternate celebration of love could spare your wallet
It’s almost Valentine’s Day; a day of love and romance filled with stuffed animals, boxes of chocolates and roses by the dozens. It makes me sick.
Before I get too far into this, I want it to be clear that I am not against romance, love and especially chocolate. I just cannot get behind a “Hallmark” holiday that drains your wallet.
Valentine’s Day was not always the Sweethearts-filled day we celebrate today. But now, it is all about the gifts and romantic gestures. The National Retail Federation survey said Valentine’s Day is part of the top four major holidays that consumers spend the most money on; only beaten out by winter holidays, Mother’s Day and Easter.
According to Forbes, the United States spends about $20 billion on Valentine’s Day. Men will spend an average of $134 on their significant other, and women will spend about $62. That’s a lot of money being spent on a day dedicated loving each other.
Not to mention the strain it can cause to relationships. The planning and pocket-gouging from creating the ultimate expression of love can be more stressful and costly than expected.
There’s buying gifts, booking a reservation to a fancy restaurant, having some kind of “surprise” for your significant other and all of that comes with a lot of pressure when you know they are expecting something grand.
Forgetting the holiday altogether can create a whole new set of relationship problems. This celebration is supposed to be a resemblance of the undying love couples have for each other, and you forgot it? It happens. Unfortunately, most people aren’t as casual about it.
Personally, I can barely remember my own Birthday. There is other important information I need to keep in mind at all times, so sometimes a money-hungry celebration with almost no real meaning behind it doesn’t always win priority in my brain space.
To me, the way we celebrate Valentine’s Day is over the top. It seems like something we should save for our own special anniversaries or on a day we are feeling extra romantic, not when we are being queued by companies with hearts in their eyes. Plus, if we all spread out when we celebrate, we might all be able to have a nice dinner reservation somewhere.
Valentine’s Day has also become somewhat of a romantic crutch. The common thought, even if it is on a subconscious level, is that you have to have two lovey-dovey expressions a year; your anniversary and Valentine’s Day. If you really love this person, wanting to romance them should be something you want to do all the time, not twice a year.
It doesn’t have to be with expensive jewelry and a $40 box of chocolates (and let’s be honest, only four of the chocolates in the box are even any good). Small things like cooking a nice dinner or sharing a bottle of wine over Netflix are great acts of love. Best of all, they don’t need prompting from the calendar while still as meaningful as the expected date on Valentine’s Day.
So, this Valentine’s Day, I challenge women, men and couples alike to not fall into the same, unnecessary displays.