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Overrated and obligated: Valentine’s Day

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Crossed-out Valentine's treats
Graphic: Mack Hulke

Today is Feb. 14, which means that the dreaded holiday looms upon us: Valentine’s Day. People either love it or hate it, and if you hate it, odds are it’s because you don’t have anyone to spend it with. I think it’s dumb to dedicate a day to proving how much you love your significant other by spending money on candy, gifts, and other material things for them when you can show them you love them everyday with the little surprises, gifts, or random dates. These little actions are a brighter memory because they can be a highlight to someone’s day any day of the year. Spending the year spreading love shows more affection and effort than showing an immense amount on one day out of the entire year.

Now yes, candy and gifts are always a nice surprise, but how surprising is it if you do it because of some societal expectation couples are decidedly supposed to live up to every year? Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be an excuse to do something or buy a nice gift for someone you supposedly “love,” that should be a normal and regular occurrence. Showing someone you care out of the blue is a much more fulfilling and compassionate surprise rather than just buying a half-dead bouquet of roses from Walgreens on Feb. 13. Companies like Walgreens and Hallmark have helped shape a holiday about expressing the love people have for one another into a battle to see who can find the gaudiest gifts to give to their significant other in order to gain revenue early in the year.

Valentine’s Day is just another opportunity for people to grow more materialistic, instead of taking the time to truly appreciate their significant others. In the U.S. alone, approximately 190 million Valentine’s Day cards are purchased and sent each year, and this fails to include the hundreds of millions of cards that schoolchildren exchange. The problem isn’t necessarily that people are buying gifts, it’s the fact that we expect to receive presents that don’t come from the heart. I would much rather receive a simple gift from my significant other on Valentine’s Day because they saw it and reminded them of me, or they knew I had been planning to buy myself that same item, then get some over-the-top gift that I wouldn’t use in any other everyday situation.

This year, let’s all take a stand against this capitalistic holiday by not participating in this money-hungry company-fueling occasion. Instead, go out of your way on an ordinary day to turn your significant other, or even friend’s day into an unforgettable moment that seems so much more thoughtful and authentic.

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