On a typical Valentine’s Day, couples surprise each other with roses, chocolates, or gifts with alarming price tags. Days before the holiday, heart-printed gifts line the front aisles of shops. Teddy bears are stacked in rows as if looking into our souls and tempting us to pluck them off the shelves. Valentine’s Day has become a marketing strategy to convince consumers to spend money. But what we don’t talk about is the fact that so many people receive gifts on this day, only to later abandon their boxes of chocolates in the pantry and their teddy bears in the corner of their room.
I’m sure we’ve all been victim to consumer culture. During the holidays, we are tempted by the bold red “sale” signs across every store, buying items on the spur of the moment, but that we don’t need. Black Friday shopping has garnered billions annually. Christmas has created a culture of gifting and receiving. While our intentions may be good, the fact is that most of what we purchase are not things we need. We are still contributing to mass consumerism, which causes pollution, resource depletion, and waste, to name a few.
So let’s redefine Valentine’s Day. For too long, we’ve been focusing on the material gifts, but what those around us appreciate is the genuine, raw love we can convey without any tangible offering. For this holiday that centers around love, let’s erase our habit of consumer culture and focus on the roots of the holiday: authentic love.
Valentine’s Day should not be defined by a last minute drive to the store, but instead, an act of care and celebration of love. Show your love through words or actions, like a simple hug or complement, because these are things that stay, not the chocolates that will expire or the teddy bears that will end up in landfills. Starting with this Valentine’s Day, let’s change our habit of mass consumerism and begin redefining what it means to celebrate love.