As Valentine’s Day rolls around once more, whilst many couples are buying oversized teddy bears, cliché Valentine’s cards and bottles of bubbly, many of us are left thinking ‘I wish this day would just hurry up and be over!’.
If we look to the roots of our modern Valentine’s Day, we are most likely faced with the commercialised ‘holiday’ that America has brought to us, aimed at making money off those of us with significant others, or in more recent years, those without significant others, in the form of ‘Galentine’s Day’- a novelty occasion created with the apparent aim to be advertised to those of us who haven’t acquired a girlfriend or boyfriend this year. Whilst ‘Galentine’s Day’ has become an event easily marketable to the ‘singletons’ of the public, many channels of Valentine’s Day besides this have become common, with an influx of Valentine’s Day creations aimed at portraying love for not just your significant others now, but for younger children aiming to show family members such as their mums and dads a token of appreciation.
Bearing in mind all of this, we begin to raise the question, ‘Should Valentine’s Day be as important as society dictates?’. For those of us in a relationship, I suppose for the majority the answer would be ‘Yes, Valentine’s is an essential part of a relationship’. However, since asking my peers with boyfriends and girlfriends this same question, I have found that for the most part, Valentine’s Day preparations this year have been nothing short of unpleasant, with the expectation of gifts being not only stressful, in the aspect of ensuring your partner is happy, but also pressurised in the aspect of spending money. As a university student myself, (and I’m sure as are many of you reading this), we know that money is often tight, and spending unnecessary amounts of money for a commercialised occasion is perhaps more of a curse than a blessing.
Regardless of my opinion as a student, Valentine’s Day is still undoubtedly an incredibly important occasion in the eyes of the public, as we see the vast amounts of ‘Valentine’s Meal Deals’ and targeted Valentine’s merchandise taking pride of place in our shopping centres and supermarkets. However, this still raises the question as to whether this harassment to buy novelty and most likely overpriced gifts for a commercialised occasion is right or even necessary. Whether it’s your first Valentine’s Day with a partner, or you’re a seasoned regular on Valentine’s Day, the pressure to spend money and to top the presents given to your significant other last year is undoubtedly made more stressful by society today. This is made even more difficult with the use of advertising on social media platforms such as Instagram and Tiktok setting unrealistic expectations for what is recognised as a ‘perfect’ Valentine’s Day.
Although whilst this may be true, it is obvious that Valentine’s Day is an occasion that the market will not soon be abandoning. In 2019, Valentine’s Day was thought to have generated around eight-hundred-and-fifty-five million pounds in the U.K, with the total amount of money accumulated only believed to be skyrocketing even further this year, as another year of buying goodies for loved ones comes around once more.
This branches out my original question as to whether Valentine’s Day is really as important as society dictates, as the economic side to Valentine’s Day is a vital factor to consider, as there is undoubtedly a financial advantage to society’s push towards the advertisement of Valentine’s Day. This financial gain for many retail giants is essentially a core reason for the importance society places upon Valentine’s Day commercially. Although, personally the argument as to whether Valentine’s Day should be as important as society dictates is up to you. Single or in a relationship, Valentine’s Day can either make your February or break it!
In addition to the economic aspect of Valentine’s Day, I would raise the question as to why showing love and appreciation for your significant other is restricted to a singular day per year, and in the form of overpriced and often eventually forgettable gifts. Is Valentine’s Day really as important as it’s made to be today?
So… whether you’re being pampered for Valentine’s Day, or you’re sitting at home snuggled up watching forgettable ‘RomComs’, it’s clear that there’s more to Valentine’s Day than meets the eye!