On Sunday I was working on a project when several girls were getting back on campus with their giant stuffed animals and other gifts they had received from their significant others. I was working with a friend when I made a snarky remark about Valentine’s Day and how ridiculous it is. To keep this person’s identity anonymous, we’ll call them Mark. I turned to Mark when I saw one girl walk in with her stuffed animal and said, “Valentine’s Day is so stupid. It’s like a competition to see who can outdo someone else on what they get their significant other.” After making this somewhat hasty remark, I thought about what I had just said and the real reasoning behind why I don’t like Valentine’s Day. So for Mark and everybody else out there, here is the true reason behind why I simply don’t like the whole commercialized holiday that Valentine’s Day has become.
This holiday’s history started out celebrating St. Valentine who was a priest. Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, so he outlawed marriage for young men. St. Valentine saw that this was wrong and continued marrying young people in secret. When his actions were discovered, Claudius ordered for him to be put to death. This was done on February 14th.
The holiday now you ask? Yeah, that holiday is full of cards (the second most popular card-sending holiday, behind Christmas), chocolate and bouquets of roses. Sure, it’s nice to spend a little extra on your honey once in awhile and make a sweet gesture to show how much you love them. But why do we have one day every year designated to doing this? Shouldn’t we be doing these kind gestures on our own? If we have one day a year where every person in America expects their significant other to go out and buy them something to show how much they care, it kind of loses its meaning. Like “Gee thanks, I appreciate the teddy bear and chocolates you felt obligated to get me because it’s a holiday.” Romantic. Instead, why don’t you just write me a heart felt love note and leave it taped to my bathroom mirror or laying on my car seat for me to find in the morning.
Once social media blew up, so did every holiday. Valentine’s Day is one in particular that really took off on social media. Apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are used to post pictures of what a person’s significant other got them, bragging about how amazing they are. I can’t help but think, “Funny because I don’t see posts about how thankful you are for your significant other any other day of the year.” But on Valentine’s Day, everybody seems to have the best boyfriend/girlfriend and they’re so glad to be with them. If you’re thankful for your lover because of what money bought you, you might want to step back and reevaluate the relationship you’re in. Like I said, those things are nice once in awhile, don’t get me wrong. But this competition of who got the best gift on Valentine’s Day and all the posts about “relationship goals” and who got the biggest life-sized teddy bear make the holiday seem so shallow. The meaning of the entire holiday is lost. Yes, I get it. The holiday is about love because St. Valentine married young couples after Emperor Claudius made a law against it. So how about instead of love being defined by the best roses or the most expensive diamond necklace or how much chocolate your significant other bought you, define it by the cup of coffee your lover greeted you with this morning when you woke up, the pre-started car already warmed for you, the sticky note left on your mirror that says “have a good day,” and the text messages filled with “I love you’s,” “I miss you’s,” and “thinking of you’s.” We tend to get so caught up in the looks of our relationship and want to show off how great our life is on social media. Instead, try to stop and appreciate the little things that your significant other does every day to show how much they love and care about you. If you actually slow down enough to notice them, you’ll see just how many great things we do for the one we love on a daily basis.