Break out the chocolates, flowers, jewelry and other excessive gifts that suck up all the hard-earned paychecks for what is arguably the most romantic holiday of the year: Valentine’s Day. While I personally don’t jump for joy as stores decorate in various shades of red, white and pink and fill aisles full of gifts, I don’t hate on people who do. As a self-proclaimed lover of romance, I relish in all the love that should be shared on this special day; however, I’ve began to notice that the love is being sucked out of the holiday in favor of money and greed.
According to data from the United States Census Bureau, the money spent on flowers, chocolates and jewelry spikes around February. Shipments of “chocolate and confectionery products” was estimated at about $16 billion in 2015. In February 2016, “imports of bouquet cut flowers and buds” hit $131 million and roses alone were $72 million. And 22,655 jewelry stores sold $2.6 billion in products in February 2016.
According to an ABC News article from 2017, the total amount of money spent on Valentine’s Day was estimated by the National Retail Federation to be around $18.2 billion dollars spent. This number only encompasses the 54 percent of Americans who were expected to celebrate the holiday. The $18.2 billion was split into categories: $4.3 billion dollars on jewelry, $2 billion on flowers, $1.7 billion on candy and $1 billion on cards. These amounts didn’t add up to the $18.2 billion, which was total spending.
The numbers don’t lie. Although the data from the ABC article was an estimate, past data from the government can confirm the enormous amount of money funneled for love. This leads me to believe that the holiday is defined by how much your significant other spends. People are guilted into spending money to show their love for their partners. Many can argue against this fact by pointing out that some people may want a new diamond necklace, but it only shows me that this country is driven by money. What happened to homemade gifts that come from the heart and not the wallet? Why can’t someone make the effort to do something special and outside of the box for their significant other?
As a teenage girl who loves romance, I’m disappointed by the lack of effort that goes into Valentine’s Day. I’ve been told it’s supposed to be a special day to celebrate love and be something more than an ordinary day; however, its reputation has been tainted by dollar signs. The day of love is now an ordinary day with a bit of extra gifts and a few more declarations of love.