Opinion: The consumerism surrounding Valentine’s Day devalues the root of the holiday | Opinion

As the clock strikes midnight on Jan. 1, the next holiday season begins as stores stock their aisles with stuffed bears, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and greeting cards full of poetry for every loved one in your life. A lot of this ‘stuff’ devalues the true meaning of Valentine’s Day: celebrating romance and love.

The holiday has become a symbol of consumerism with the materialistic gifts that accompany it. People in relationships are expected to put in the effort and purchase flowers, candy, and a card to prove they are a caring partner.

In other words, if your partner is not serenading you with diamonds, three dozen roses and a candle-lit dinner, they are a bum. This is not to say that these gifts cannot be expressions of love, but they seem to have become the only acceptable expression of it. 

An article titled “My Boyfriend Didn’t Get Me a Valentine’s Gift: What it means” was posted to Toynk, a toy company’s website. 

According to Toynk, “Generally, some reasons why this embarrassing and heartbreaking event happened include: he’s just too busy, your gift might still be in transit, or worse, he doesn’t love you anymore.” 

At the end of the article, Toynk provides a link to their Valentine’s Day collection, which is available for pre-order. 

Valentine’s Day has also been expanded to ensure love is spread to all of the people you know. Family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, teachers and everyone can get the Oprah treatment because, luckily, companies are making purchasable items for any situation.

A quick trip to Target on University City Boulevard can score you a Valentine’s Day air fryer for that special person. Also at Target, for those who are utterly alone, Fancy Feast is now making Valentine’ s-themed treats for feline companions. 

Critiques of the holiday aside, Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love and being loved. It can be an opportunity for those in relationships to appreciate romantic connections and express feelings. For those who are not, it can still be a day to celebrate the love around you. This can be thoughtfully done without breaking the bank or failing to meet expectations. 

First-year student Lily Jordan expanded upon her favorite type of Valentine’s gift. 

“During Valentine’s Day, a lot of people think about the flowers or the chocolate, and all of that is really great; my boyfriend and I even do that occasionally,” said Jordan. “However, the most important thing to me is that we try to promise to each other for every special occasion just to dedicate some one-on-one time to each other.” 

Baked goods can make someone’s day, and the effort put into making some will not go unnoticed. Additionally, on and around Feb. 14, several Charlotte organizations will have tables set up around campus selling baked goods, candy and more.

For example, starting at noon, the academic organization Phi Sigma Pi will be selling hot chocolate outside Popp-Martin Student Union at a good price for a good cause. Supporting Charlotte groups while being thoughtful is a great way to celebrate. 

For those who live on campus and are operating with a budget, taking advantage of events thrown by residence halls could be beneficial. On Feb. 13, Miltmore Hall is hosting a candy gram-making session for residents with a sweet tooth or a sweetheart in mind.

Other residence halls are also putting together events for Valentine’s rom-com movie lovers, relationship trivia and gift making, so keep an eye out for what is happening close to home on campus. 

No matter the location, though, nothing is a better gift or representation of appreciation than effort. It is cost-effective, authentic and irreplicable. A hand-written card, a thoughtful message or simply dedication to spending the day with someone can mean the world. 

“Some things are very superficial, like flowers, but the quality time and the memories you form are things you’ll always remember. That’s something that will always be my favorite gift,” said Jordan. 

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