Jasek: Taking a Different Look at Valentine’s Day

Senior Elizabeth Jasek shares her thoughts regarding the way that Valentine's Day is celebrated. - Photo via Pixabay.com

Valentine’s Day, a day dedicated to love, flowers and chocolate, was earlier this week. I must say that I feel as though it is truly the most overrated holiday to be celebrated, for various reasons. 

Valentine’s Day has created high expectations and the idea that love is shown through the gifts that we give or receive. 

Americans spent over $21.8 billion on chocolates, flowers, perfumes and jewelry alone for Valentine’s Day in 2021. That’s an awful lot of money put into a single day, especially when we should be loving each other every day.

Also, the candle-lit dinner dates that are often planned for the evening are a crowbar to the wallet. I’d rather save my paycheck for spring break than spend it all on Valentine’s Day. 

Obviously, the holiday is celebrated by couples, but I’d like to mention the amount of pressure and damage this holiday bears on relationships. Don’t believe every Instagram post or story claiming “forever my valentine” or “the love of my life.” 

Some less-secure couples, at least that I have witnessed, often use the holiday as a Band-Aid for their relationship, masking a multitude of problems with a sweet caption and photo. It gives the appearance of a love that, sometimes, isn’t even there. 

Not to mention that there is no point in bragging about love in front of those who are single and minding their own business. This brings me to my next issue with the way Valentine’s Day is celebrated.

Why can’t the holiday celebrate all types of love? Most importantly, why can’t I celebrate the love that I have for myself? 

I think more of us should treat Valentine’s Day as a holiday to recognize love and growth within ourselves. It’s a great day to recognize how far you’ve come and how far you’ll continue to go. Participating in self-appreciation activities on Valentine’s Day is always the way to go.

Some things you could do for yourself next year on Valentine’s Day include: buying takeout from your favorite Chinese restaurant, booking a self-care massage appointment, treating yourself to retail therapy, eating a slice of double-chocolate cake (or two) and enjoying a glass of red wine with your favorite show. 

Within the last decade, “Galentine’s Day” has become increasingly popular after Amy Poehler’s role in Parks and Recreation. The holiday is one day before Valentine’s Day and it celebrates platonic love between girlfriends. 

There is no problem spending Valentine’s Day with your “galentines.” It is just as meaningful, if not more so, and it’s highly encouraged — at least by me, anyway. 

Valentine’s Day is commercialized, overrated and quite overdone. I hope in future years the holiday is toned down at least a bit and focuses on more than just a romantic love. Next Valentine’s Day, you’ll find me in sweatpants with a glass of wine binge-watching The Twilight Saga. 

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