Here it comes: the overflowing amount of hearts, flowers, boxes of chocolates, teddy bears and jewelry everywhere we look. There are many feelings surrounding Valentine’s Day, and not all of them are love.
A multitude of people hope to receive some loving attention on Feb. 14 and wait for a special someone to ask them on a date or give them a gift. In reality, most are left only with their dreams about a romantic date on Valentine’s Day.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), only 53% of people are planning to celebrate. That leaves nearly half of the population without Valentine’s Day plans.
Additionally, an Elite Daily survey of 415 millennials found that 28% of women and 16% of men felt apathetic towards the holiday. These negative sentiments are likely generated from the huge expectations people have surrounding this day. People who are in relationships feel obligated to celebrate, while those who are not feel the need to find someone to celebrate with. Gifts, dates, flowers and proposals are all expected. It is all just a lot of pressure to be “in love.”
Of course, all of these gifts and dates mean spending money. According to NRF, spending this year is expected to reach $23.9 billion on gifts while dates are projected to cost an average of $175.41 per consumer. This is a huge problem not only with Valentine’s Day, but holidays in general. Retailers take advantage of the consumerist mindset. The capitalistic trend of buying gifts mimics what many see around Christmas time.
Social media also plays into the holiday and serves as a vehicle for displaying the extravagant costs of Valentine’s Day. Those who are celebrating are in competition with others to have the most romantic day, while singles are in agony watching all the love go around.
However, even though spending money is personally painful for everyone, it is not the main problem. A mass amount of pollution is caused by the products consumed on the 14th. According to an article from Plastic Oceans, balloons take 450 years to degrade, glitter and other small decorations remain in the environment for hundreds of years, and cut flowers are grown in greenhouses which release thousands of kilograms of CO2. Basically, the presents, wrappings and decorations cause great harm to the environment.
So, in my opinion, Valentine’s Day is overrated. But since the holiday will not be going away anytime soon, we should make changes that benefit us and our planet. It is important to celebrate friendship and family and showcase love through our actions, not with our wallets. Making food, hand-crafting a card or even a hug can really make someone’s day.