Valentines Day – What are we really celebrating?

If you have managed to navigate through the heart shaped chocolates, red helium balloons and countless jewellery catalogues pouring out your letterbox, I commend you. Valentines Day is fast approaching and the highly commercialised holiday has a tendency to kindly advise what you’re doing wrong in your relationship. The pressure is on to make your partner happy, and this year is expected to be worst than ever. Couples in Australia are expected to spend a total of $791.4 million this year on gifts for February 14th alone according to IBIS World.

As an introvert, this time of year causes me unnecessary stress, anxiety and an empty wallet trying to adhere to expectations. And it is no wonder why…

In a world where the retail sector is suffering, economists can and do argue that Valentines Day continually helps with economic growth as the figure on last years spending has increased. However, there is only so many ways a single day of spending can influence a financial year, especially when more people turn to online solutions for their gifts. IBIS World created the below info-graphic to show Australian consumer trends during Valentines 2013, and just how much they like to spend:

valentines-day-infographic-2013

Proposals, expensive dinners and love getaways are now socially expected in Australia as Valentines Day gifts. Furthermore, I don’t know about you, but spending $46.9 mil on pets for a single day (equal to what is spent on flowers for the day) seems a little excessive. I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t spoil our pets and show them our love, but rather we show them through the year how much we adore them. This same belief I hold for those we love. What are we really celebrating when we spend money on “Happy Valentines Day” inscribed stuffed animals that were likely manufactured at minimum wage overseas? Surely our money could be put to better use?

Is a single day worth the stress of meeting someone else’s expectations that have been placed upon you by societal pressures? Is giving the person you love a heart shaped necklace you’ve been convinced from countless TV advertisements they will love really the right way to show your affections? If it so happens to be exactly what your love desires, then hey – good for you! However, where is the personalisation to these expensive presents? Where is the heart, or the thoughtfulness? And why are we only buying for one person, when there are many other forms of love we should be celebrating on a daily level too?

I don’t believe we boycott Valentines Day – I mean, who doesn’t love gifts? An exploration and declaration of love is a wonderful thing in my opinion. But is there a way we can celebrate love of everyone, or remove the commercialisation of it all? Show the people in your life just how much you care about them and how much you understand them by giving/making/writing/texting them something you know they will adore, appreciate and admire.

I am currently spending my first Valentines Day with my long distance partner early. My present to him was time. I flew down to surprise him during a tough period of work for him, and I don’t think I could have bought a better gift. I’m going home to spend the day with my roommate and best friend to show her how much I love and appreciate her, I’ll wish my brother a Happy Birthday and will no doubt finish the day with a long phone call to my mother to let her know how grateful I am for everything she’s done. There is nothing else I would rather spend the day doing. Am I the outlier in Valentines Day activities?

Pug-Love

 

I don’t know about you, but one of these cards would keep me more than fulfilled from my Valentine.

What do you think? Who wants to take back the love with me?

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