Money, Saving Money

Don’t Get Sucked Into Valentine’s Day Consumerism!

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?

More Valentine’s Day posts? Check out :

28 thoughts on “Don’t Get Sucked Into Valentine’s Day Consumerism!

  1. I agree. There are many ways to celebrate Valentine’s day, and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

    One time I was working at a bank inside a grocery store. The entrance display section always reminded me what holiday was on the way. Right after the New Year, the store started displaying the Valentine’s stuff. I was just laughing, Valentine’s day was still one and half month away. Yes, the stores love holidays more than we consumers do.

  2. No consumerism issues here Caroline. My wife and I have identified a new restaurant we want to try. We will probably go this weekend and call that Valentine’s day. We usually try to avoid going out on the day or the weekend right before V-day due to crowded restaurants. We won’t exchange gifts (maybe a card or flowers for the house). Not that we are big spenders, but if either of us wants something we just buy it, so it’s hard to buy gifts for each other. Tom

  3. Okay, first of all, I can’t even tell you how much I hated dealing with Valentines for schools when my kids were younger! And, like the frugal Grinch that I am, I find Valentine’s Day kind of annoying for myself too. Every year, there is Christmas, then my husband’s birthday in Jan., and then Valentine’s Day. By February, I’m like “seriously?? another gift for my beloved spouse?? I THINK NOT! HAHA. Anyway, I’m totally stealing the PowerPoint idea for this year! yay! thanks!

    1. I am with you on the kids Valentine’s Day. They actually didn’t participate because that’s not something we do back home (France) and I really couldn’t bring myself to do it. Just no meaning at all. They didn’t suffer from it:)
      Yes I love the PowerPoint presentation idea, it can be so much fun! Let me know if he liked it.

  4. Hi Caroline, I agree there is many ways to celebrate holidays that does not cost money, consumerism is a big influence in all the holidays now. We are consistently targeted by advertisements to consume and spend money. I like your thought “ It doesn’t matter how much you spend, the BEST gift will always be the most thoughtful one.”

  5. Thanks for the mention!

    these are some great ideas, I would have never thought about the PowerPoint presentation.

    I better start getting ready for my child’s Valentine’s Day and start making my own cards it’s too bad that valentines day cards are expected for the whole class now! Or I can start teaching my child about rejection haha!

    1. No problem, I told you I would:)
      I would go with teaching your kids about rejection early on! haha
      I loved the PowerPoint presentation, he even had a funny pics in it…priceless.

  6. We don’t really do anything for V-day, and definitely not this year. I’m planning to ignore the entire topic on the blog. I think gestures like how deeply my hunny kisses me on the head is better than even 10000 homemade cards 🙂

  7. These are awesome tips! I love everything hand made bc it adds character. You can even sell them to ppl who are willing to pay for them haha!

    I usually make hand made cards. A few years ago I did something different. I made a box filled with hand made q-cards. I called it “88 reasons why I love you!”

    So each small card had something that represents why I love him.

    For example, one was “reason #30 because we rode the subway together” and input an old subway metro monthly pass into it.

    Another was “#32. Because we take risks together such as investing in single stocks.” And I insert my old scotia itrade bank card in there.

    Or “reason #21. Because you helped me with economics in school.” And make an envelope pocket so that I can slip in one folded up sheet from our old Economics notes.

    Making “88” things took a while but well worth it because we take it out to look at. That project took me the entire day. Why 88? Because it represent a good luck number in Chinese culture… “To be rich…” lol

  8. I like your options, especially for making your own card and/or writing a poem.

    In NY we went to White Castle for Valentine’s Day. In NC we go to Sonic unless it’s too cold to eat in the car. We like to form quirky traditions.

    The holiday has no real meaning to me. When I was single it was akin to New Year’s Eve, when everyone asked what you were doing and it felt weird not to have a date. Being married to someone I love and get along with means every day is Valentine’s Day.

  9. I used to get sucked into the consumerism of Valentine’s when I was first dating my now wife. I bought roses, took her out to a nice steak restaurants. I thought that was the way to go for Valentine’s Day but it was only in my mind that was how is was supposed to be. She didn’t really like steaks in the first place and was allergic to roses. I soon found out that it was the marketing, promoting of the day that made people like me try to go all out for Valentine’s. From then on, we didn’t really celebrate Valentine’s or even our birthdays. What matters is being together and spending quality time with each other. You could say Valentine’s Day is basically everyday for us.

  10. I am lucky that my wife is not into this Hallmark holiday. When we were dating, I bought her flowers. She said that she appreciated the thought, but it was not necessary. She Said the same thing when I bought her fancy chocolates. She appreciated the thought, but Reese’s Peanutbutter Cups are her favorite. I am a lucky guy.

  11. Great tips!

    Thankfully Mrs. FMM has never been a materialistic person, so she has never gotten caught up in what other people are getting that could make her jealous. We have both always been pretty simple. This year we are actually pretending Valentines Day is on Saturday when we go see Black Panther, and we’re going to have our own date night then!

  12. Lucky for me my honeys says Valentines Day was invented by Hallmark. We don’t celebrate it, don’t spend extra money on it. I do like your suggestions on how to celebrate without contributing to the 18 billions in spending.

  13. One year for Valentine’s my guy & I ate in at the local Chinese restaurant instead of getting take out. Sure there was the tip, but with take out we would tend to over order, so it wasn’t more expensive. I used it as a reason to pause from our hectic schedule and have a date night. I did finally convince him I did not want a mixed chocolates Russell stover heart, please buy me a bag of m&ms.
    The cards in elementary school! Turns out I have ADD, no wonder it was tedium to write out 24 cards. Mom would have to start me well in advance in hopes of it not being a late night right before.

    Thanks for a great post!

    1. Another reason not to pressure your kids to do Valentine’s Day cards! The added stress for some kids like yourself is not worth it and means nothing. I think there is nothing wrong with celebrating Valentine’s Day the way you did and you don’t have to spend a fortune.

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