Valentine’s Day is much more than the money you spend on that gift

Eilis loves Valentine’s day but wishes it wasn’t all about money

Written by Eilis nic Eibhearaird


It's the beginning of February and the romantic pinks and sultry reds are to be seen in most shops. Sweet Valentine’s Day cards to that special someone, adorable me-to-you bears and all kinds of cute little things. I want them all. As soon as I walk into a shop and see an ‘I love you’ bear wearing a tiny little red jersey and holding a big red heart, I want it. I don’t know why I want it because there are loads of cute teddies that I don’t want, but these special Valentine’s Day’s ones I really want.

Now in March and April and the rest of the year, my boyfriend and I agree that it’s an incredibly commercial holiday and that material things aren’t important at all but for some reason during the few weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, I suddenly develop a desperate desire for pink and red presents and sparkly jewellery.

Valentine’s Day has become a very materialistic holiday but the fairy-tale romance of it still draws people in. Getting flowers or jewellery or chocolates makes people happy but I don’t think that that feeling should be associated with romance – birthday presents make people happy too but there’s nothing romantic about getting a birthday present. The definition of romance is different for everyone but the general idea is that it can’t be bought and isn’t meant to be associated with material or physical things. Valentine’s Day however is in my opinion associated with chocolates and jewellery and presents which leads naturally to the idea that love is shown with gifts and not actions.

There’s nothing wrong with celebrating your love and relationship of course, that’s what the holiday is for after all but I feel as though it puts pressure on people to have a fancy meal and buy expensive gifts when maybe they can’t afford themselves that luxury and would rather spend the money on something else.

My boyfriend and I are both college students and while I love presents (and I know that he does too) and get a little flutter of excitement in my stomach when I see sparkly necklaces and earrings and rings and adorable little teddies, we’ve both agreed that Valentine’s Day isn’t a holiday that we’re going to make a big deal out of because at the moment we aren’t really able to afford it.

On the other hand, though, I feel as though the expense of it is part of what makes the day sexy and romantic. Which really isn’t fair. A dazzling Pandora ring sounds a lot more glamorous than a movie night (which is what we did last year) but that doesn’t mean that one couple is better than the other.

This emphasis on gift-giving is what puts pressure on young couples on Valentine’s Day and the cute little teddies and sparkly jewellery add to it. I think that the pressure stems from both people in the relationship wanting to make the other happy and wanting to give the other what they believe they deserve and for them to receive a gift like everyone else is.

If it were acknowledged more often that not everyone believes in this holiday and that not everyone puts an emphasis on buying presents that it would take some of the pressure off young people who worry about disappointing their significant other. Valentine’s Day should be about the relationship and how much someone loves you shouldn’t be measured by what they’ve bought you on the 14th of February.

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