By KAI SOUTHARD – What’s love worth? A 24-carat golden ring? Perhaps a nice box of chocolates, or a romantic greeting card? No folks, love is a lot more than that, and I think it’s important we take the time to recognize that. February 14, also known as Valentine’s Day, is just around the corner. It’s a day that’s meant to show love – and for many people, that entails expensive gifts and bouquets of flowers. But are these conceptions, which have become somewhat of a tradition over time, what Valentine’s Day is all about?
Love is a terrifyingly complicated thing. It’s blind; it’s vulnerable and strengthening; scary yet beautiful, and it’s a million other things, good and bad alike. I spend every day of my life trying to decipher it, and more importantly showing my woman I love her no matter what – so what can a single, extravagant and luxurious day offer in assistance?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the concept of Valentine’s Day at all. It can be really cute and romantic, so why not have it? Personally, I really do look forward to February 14. Some, like junior student Lillian Boone even, “..look forward to the day after, where everything is half off,” which is admittedly a very smart and thrifty plan. In any case, the issue I have comes not with the idea of the day itself, but with the cultural insistence of giving your lover expensive presents. It’s become the identity of Valentine’s Day, and at the risk of sounding like a hippy or conspiracy theorist – in and of itself, the day has been turned into a marketing ploy.
According to the National Retail Federation, the average consumer spends a total of $147 on Valentine’s Day, which translates to a nationwide total of 19.7 billion dollars. That’s a staggering number, though almost unsurprising considering the number of advertisements catered towards the holiday – for most everyone, the gifts themselves are what matter, and God forbid you hold back a single penny.
Of course, surely it’s nice to treat your man or woman to something nice – after all, and to be fair, there are certain levels of quality that money actually can buy. What I hope people understand, however, is that past the idea of gift-giving, the price is an independent concept of the love you are giving. I urge any and all who read this – don’t get too caught up in what you’re buying. Love goes far beyond that, beyond money and beyond any external pride and expectations. As junior Katie Peles says, “[I think]… people worry about it too much. It’s about the message, not the gift itself.”.
At the end of the day, Valentine’s Day can be a an amazing time – it’s a time for fun, cheesy and romantic things. It’s a lovely day when love is in the air, and I encourage everyone to have a great Valentine’s day this year. But most importantly, please remember that if you love someone, a materialistic day labeled “the day of love” is not the only day you should show it. Do whatever you can to express your feelings throughout the year.. Take February 14th as an opportunity to treat your love to something nice, but independent of that, tell them every single day that you can.