Valentine’s Day is a Scam. But Here’s How It Won’t Be.

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Immediately after Christmas decorations are put away in stores across America, an onslaught of pinks, reds and whites take over the seasonal decorations. Expensive heart-shaped chocolate boxes, cards, restaurants and jewelry stores are a hard reminder for couples of the brutal expectations to show their appreciation for their significant other and for those spending this Valentine’s Day alone of their inability to fully participate in the holiday. The pressure to buy at least a bouquet of roses and a box of chocolates as a bare minimum enters the minds of all couples, from first time relationships to married couples and companies are capitalizing from it.

The US Greeting Card Association estimates over one billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged during the holiday, second only to the Christmas season. This isn’t extremely surprising, considering Valentine’s Day spending could be considered a Christmas in disguise for companies’ profits. There’s big money to be made for corporate giants during this holiday, and there are efforts everywhere to pressure everyone to fall into this commercialism trap. The empowering “Gal”entine’s Day rebranding to redistribute the pressure only on men to all genders, is really just a marketing ploy to get more people spending money in the name of love and appreciation. Corporations are constantly influencing what couples and single people should do, eat, and buy throughout the holiday.

Sophomore Ethan Cantrell and his girlfriend Mazie Scott before North’s homecoming dance.

There’s a widespread tradition and drive from all people to do something for someone on Valentine’s Day. But there’s been a shift, especially among younger people, towards spending time and effort on a gift or activity rather than just spending money on some chocolates.

“I personally don’t feel any pull towards the concept of needing to buy an expensive piece of jewelry to make Valentine’s Day ‘perfect.’ I have more desire to [give] something handmade that I spend time on instead of just simply buying something,” Ethan Cantrell, sophomore, said.

“I think that homemade gifts are just as acceptable as spending money for Valentine’s gifts. This should reduce the pressure to spend money. It’s cute when you make something for someone, or bake something with your significant other,” North senior Jade Vasquez said.

Senior Shelby Storm and her boyfriend Ethan Vencel on the North football field.

“I want to do something, but for me there’s no pressure because I think [Valentine’s Day] supposed to be fun. The day needs to be celebrated,” Shelby Storm, senior, who has been in a relationship for the last four years.

It’s no secret that Valentine’s Day is a lucrative business for chocolates and flowers, and will most likely continue to be as couples find ways to show appreciation for their loved ones. But, it seems that spending lavishly is becoming an antiquated idea, and younger couples are redefining appreciation for their relationship not through money spent, but through time and effort.