Just another Hallmark Holiday

By Brittany Butterfield.
Valentine’s day is all about expressing your love, appreciation and affection for the one you care about. However, this year’s Valentine’s Day seems to be more about companies getting back what they have lost throughout the hard economic times.
Valentine’s Day for companies means, as statistics prove, around $156 million in roses, over $1 billion in chocolate sales, $2.4 billion in jewelry, and $180 million in Valentine greeting cards (not including children’s in-class exchange Valentines). This makes Valentine’s Day rank 4th in holiday sales. The expression of “Hallmark holiday” could not be more apt. This is a disparaging term, used predominantly in the United States to describe a holiday that exists primarily for commercial purposes, rather than to commemorate a traditionally significant meaning.
The modern Valentine’s Day comes with surprises, kisses, gifts and inevitably, loads of stress. The pressure to spend money starts in elementary school and is present throughout junior high and high school. From the coolest cards and sweets to pass out, to the Valentines lollipops you can purchase at school, kids are taught early on to express their feelings through gifts. In high school, students are given the option to buy flowers for distribution in an outright popularity contest; clearly, whoever receives the most cards, lollipops, or flowers in class is the most popular. The talk is all about what is received, and how much is received rather than the meaning behind the gesture.
Valentine’s Day used to be all about sentimental value. Old-fashioned Valentine’s Day would consist of hand written cards, or having the courage to give your gift to the one you have been eyeing since the New Year’s Eve party. Before, this was a day to show your loved one how much you care and how much effort you are willing to give to the relationship: homemade dinners, cards, flowers of her favorite kind (instead of just the traditional red roses) and gifts from the heart. Everyone loves jewelry, but Valentine’s Day used to be the 2nd ranked holiday for homemade gifts; behind Mother’s Day. However, nowadays Valentine’s Day involves going to the convenience store to pick up a dozen roses and a box of chocolates, then swinging by the jewelry store, stressing about how much money you’re spending instead of the meaning of the piece you’re selecting, and then cramming in a restaurant reservation to amuse your date.
So does this mean the commercial business of the holiday has changed the meaning, is Valentine’s day more dreaded than celebrated? Not only do men think so, but also women; it has come to the point where 67 percent of women are the ones trying to find dinner reservations and buying gifts last minute. For men, Valentine’s Day is the 3rd most stressful holiday. They say it is impossible to meet their loved one’s expectations.
This hallmark holiday has changed February 14th from a day of love and appreciation, to a day of stress and expectations. This year, don’t give into the commercial side of the holiday and remember what it is really about: go out of your way to make your loved ones smile.