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I’m just going to go ahead and say it: I don’t like Valentine’s Day.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for love. I appreciate both the grande gestures that take immense planning and the small gestures that may simply come in the form of hand holding or brushing a stray hair out of a partner’s eyes.
What I don’t like is the expectation. I don’t like the conditioning we have towards giving and receiving gifts on a certain day to prove our love.I don’t like the retail push for spending money on trinkets that get disregarded by the next week. Seriously, why is Valentine’s Day still a thing!?!?
Why Is Valentine’s Day Still A Thing?
It starts in elementary school. How many times were our parents forced to buy us boxes of colorful red and pink cards so we could hand them out at school, declaring our undying love for our classmates? Go in any store starting in December, and one will find these boxes of love notes, sometimes including candy to entice the buyer to spend more money. Who doesn’t want a piece of candy with their declaration of love?
It’s rather disturbing, actually. Do I really want my kindergartener giving a card (made out of high-quality card stock) declaring to his classmate that he will Be Theirs Forever? Not only is it an unreal expectation, but it is slightly inappropriate for a five-year-old.
One may argue, “It’s just cute,” or, “It’s just a fun game.” I can argue that it is setting our kids up with unreal expectations, and for some, a fear of rejection. Do you remember the classmate everybody avoided? The one who nobody wanted to give a card to on this day of love? Maybe you remember stressing about giving someone a card that read “Be Mine,” when you fully didn’t mean it.
Maybe that was just me.
By the time we graduate elementary school, the expectation is engrained in our minds. Not only do we feel an obligation to give our peers cards and candy, we may now have our first love interests. The Valentine’s Day declarations of love get more expensive and more extravagant.
Fast forward to high school. Now we graduate to even more expensive gifts. Maybe there are entire boxes of chocolates given as gifts. Maybe there are bouquets of flowers proving the undying love of the sender. There is almost certainly a nice dinner to celebrate all the love. It’s an expected certainty of anyone in a relationship. And if you’re not in a relationship, you’re the girl in class watching all the other girls have carnations delivered to them while the teacher is droning on about parallelograms.
Then we graduate high school. We are now full-blown adults (or so we think). Valentine’s Day may include jewelry, romantic trips, or some other extravagant gift that costs more than we can afford. Everyone gets wrapped up on this day of love.
There’s only one problem.
What happens the other 364 days of the year? How do we then prove our love? Somewhere in this retail-driven holiday, the real meaning is lost among all the extravagance. We can show our love to our significant other every day of the year without a silly holiday telling us it’s expected.
We are conditioned to believe that love equals extravagant gifts and trinkets. This isn’t real love. Love is in the small things. It’s a sideways flirty look shared between two people. It’s holding hands and taking a walk while talking about the day. It’s being comfortable sitting in quiet company with your significant other.
Don’t get me wrong, a special surprise given in love can be a wonderful thing. It doesn’t, however, need to be on a certain day of the year which is dictated and engrained since our young years.
I say, show the love every day!