Valentine´s Day or Valentine´s no-way?

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This image was accessed via Google Images under the Creative Commons License

Instead of flowers, try gifting a loved one a handmade card or baked good this Valentine’s Day!

It’s that time of year again: drugstore displays are filled with cheap chocolate truffles, Hallmark is running nonstop rom-coms and fake roses and plastic pink signs abound. It is certainly Valentine’s Day season, but for many single people, February is just another month in the year. With all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the holiday, is it possible Cupid’s favorite day is overrated?

It seems that as soon as the last candy canes are cleared from store shelves they are immediately replaced with row after row of gilded chocolate bars and strawberry-flavored candies. Where once there were Christmas trees there are now more varieties of heart-shaped welcome mats and mailbox flags than any one person could possibly need. The entirety of the seasonal aisle becomes overwhelmed by an explosion of bright pinks and reds. 

While marketing strategies and the media make it appear as though a person is required to be in a romantic relationship in order to reap the benefits of Valentine’s Day, in actuality, this is not the case. After all, many of the products marketed for Valentine’s Day are sold year round; they just get a packaging makeover leading into the month of February, resulting in overpriced, overrated products. 

Sophomore Ray Wang commented that, “companies market their products around holidays all the time…They have to overhype it to increase sales…Although, the chocolate that will be discounted after that day is going to be sweet.” 

 In other words, the media-driven pressure to be in a relationship for Valentine’s Day or purchase an elaborate gift for a significant other is just that: pressure.

Shrewd marketing tactics aside, the nature of Valentine’s Day should not be limited to romantic couples. The case could be made that the holiday should have very little to do with romance at all. In fact, some people believe the holiday should be ended in its entirety, pointing to it as a useless drain on money and energy that only benefits married couples or those in a relationship.

While the idea of cancelling the entire holiday may be a bit extreme, the cultural norm that Valentine’s Day is about materialistic celebrations like fancy dinners and expensive gifts does take away from expressing love, the entire reason for the celebration.

According to Sophomore Marley Webster, “I don’t think Valentine’s day itself is overrated, it’s more that the whole concept is being taken way out of proportion. Valentine’s Day is a way of showing love for one another, but I feel like people spend way too much money on the holiday…Although these things are very sweet and it’s the thought that counts…You can buy flowers, chocolate, etc. for loved ones on any other day. If that’s how you express your love, it shouldn’t just be once a year when everyone else is doing it.”

Alternatively, centering Valentine’s Day less on romantic relationships and more on family or self-based celebrations could be advantageous in strengthening familial ties and friendships. Single people, specifically, could potentially feel less ostracized from the holiday if the main focus of the day was on relationships with all loved ones.

Regardless of how a person decides to celebrate Valentine’s Day, it’s important for everyone, especially teens, not to stress too much about it. 

Freshman Emily Tonsetic noted that since most high school relationships do not last, focusing instead on improving grades or getting into colleges are better uses of time for teenagers.

Overall, Valentine’s Day is undeniably a fixture of American culture, and it is unlikely that it is ever going to be eliminated as a whole. Despite overrated seasonal products or the pressure to conform to a strictly-romantic observance of the holiday, all people, especially single individuals, should focus less on the romantic side of the holiday and more on showing love to friends and family members this February 14.  And who knows, maybe Cupid would approve after all.