Will you be contributing to the estimated 18.2 billion Valentine’s Day spending this year, as reported by the National Retail Federation? That’s right: 18.2 billions!!! It’s insane! But apparently, it is down from last year record number of 19.7 billion. Why, do we, as a society, feel the need to spend so much on Valentine’s Day? Isn’t Valentine’s Day supposed to be the “day of romance”? When did it become about spending money? Stop the trend! Don’t get sucked into Valentine’s Day Consumerism!
What is Valentine’s Day?
If you want to find out more about the origin of Valentine’s Day, check out this article from the New York Times.
Valentine’s Day & Kids
Every year, many parents purchase Valentine’s Day cards, candies and/or gifts for ALL of their kids’ classmates. It’s the policy, if you bring something for one kid , you have to bring it for all. While I understand where the schools are coming from on this, I can’t help wonder; is it realistic? Are we delaying disappointment and rejection for later years instead? Probably a topic for another post! But really, what are we teaching our kids by buying Valentine’s Day cards and gifts for their entire class? Are we “conditioning” them to be future Valentine’s Day consumers?
Why not, instead, explain to them the romantic aspect of Valentine’s Day and get them to participate in whatever you are doing for your partner. Show them that it’s not at all about spending money but about making time for each other and being thoughtful. And if they still want to bring something to school then let them make it themselves.
Should You Celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Well it depends on couples and their respective personalities. Some hate it, some love it. Some may argue that you should treat each day as if it was Valentine’s Day! (Definitely not Valentine’s Day everyday at my house!). Honestly, each couple should do whatever they want, as long as they are happy with their decision. But, assuming you do celebrate Valentine’s Day, is spending money the only way for you to express your love? If you answered yes, you probably don’t need to read the rest of the post but your country thanks you for contributing to its economic growth!
Avoid Valentine’s Day Consumerism
Here are some ideas to celebrate Valentines’ Day , without contributing to the 18.2 billion spending :
- Make your own Card! There is nothing wrong with giving a card on Valentine’s Day, but you should put some effort into it. What better way than to make your own? You can use on-line tools to create your card, add pictures, draw or write your personalized message.
- Make homemade chocolates, heart-shaped cookies, heart shape pancakes. You don’t need to be a chef; you can easily make Chocolate-dipped strawberries, truffles or chocolate “bark” (and get the kids to help you).
- Make flowers out of paper. OK, you may need a little more time and patience for that one, but imagine your spouse’s surprise if you took the time to make it (mostly if you are not crafty or are always too busy!!!). Think of all the extra “brownie points” you could score on that one! Check out DIY paper flower tutorials to see how it’s done. The one with the cupcake liners (#2) and the Spider mums (#3) look very easy. You can also use old book pages or sheet music to add an extra touch of romance, especially if the text is about love.
- If you “must” buy flowers, stay away from roses! They are way too expensive on Valentine’s Day. Instead get carnations or tulips, assuming they are cheaper at your location!
- Other alternative to flowers are potted plants. They last longer and you can plant some of them outside for the summer.
- Breakfast or coffee in bed. Why not spoil your better half first thing in the morning and bring them coffee or breakfast in bed? Add a paper flower in a small vase! Et voila:)
- Pack his/her lunch with her/his favorite lunch meal, add a love note. Even a “post-it” will do.
- Make a lunch date and bring everything you need to enjoy a romantic lunch or even a picnic (outdoor or indoor).
- Make a romantic dinner at home. Cook his/her favorite meal (or favorite take out if you really suck at cooking), open a bottle of wine, dimmer the lights, light a few candles, turn on the stereo and enjoy! If you have younger kids, wait until they go to bed and have your romantic dinner then. You can always have a drink and dessert instead. Do you want to be super romantic? Sit on a blanket on the floor, in front of the fireplace! (I could never get my partner to agree to that! Not one romantic bone in his body!)
- Are you a writer? Musician? Write a song or a poem to express your love.
- Go for a walk. If the weather is nice enough, go for a nice stroll hand in hand.
- Make a Podcast!
- Write or dedicate her/him a post on your blog.
- Do the one thing you know the other one would appreciate but that you never make the time to do, no matter how small.
- Make “time” for each other!
My Personal Favorites:
Here are my favorites, over any store-bought cards, box of chocolates or stuffed animal:
- Coffee in bed!
- A candlelight dinner at home with my favorite bottle of Pino Grigio!
- A personalized PowerPoint presentation. You only need a couple of slides. It can be romantic, it can be funny or it can be both! It’s one of the best “gifts “I ever got. It was hilarious on top of being sweet. The one I received had four slides including a cover page and a Recap! The main page was something like “Why you are so lucky?” and then there were a few bullet points such as:
- I can reach the stuff on the high shelves (I do struggle with high shelves!)
- I do stupid c**p like this.
- You get up every day knowing I am part of your life.
You get the drill? Anything goes. Let me know if you try it.
- A customized gift basket, filled with chocolate bars! Hmm, it may not work for everybody but I would LOVE it! Other options could be; baked goods, teas, candies, cookies, cheese and crackers, a bottle of wine or beer!
Bottom line is; you don’t need to get sucked into Valentine’s Day consumerism. It doesn’t matter how much you spend, the BEST gift will always be the most thoughtful one, so don’t waste your money!
How about you, what are you doing this Valentine’s Day? Are you ready to try any of the suggestions above? Do you have any others to share?