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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday debate topic about Valentine's Day

         Back in September of 2009 this blog started out primarily discussing Halloween, with a special emphasis on how Halloween is important to the U.S. economy.  This was a series that encompassed many posts so I won't link to anything in the present post.  However, one of my main points in that series was that Halloween is a huge economic driver to the U.S. economy and those who consider abolishing the event day should rethink their position.  Similar arguments apply to Valentine's Day.

       Practically speaking, Valentine's Day is a frivolous day of celebration of love and romance.  The event itself is more personal and primarily based between romantic partners.  The celebration has evolved to include our children, relatives, friends, or anyone else for whom we may have feelings of love or deep friendship.  The main spending is for cards, candy, flowers, jewelry, and other "love" or friendship themed gift items.  The National Retail Federation predicts that in 2010 the average person will spend $103 for Valentine's purchases.  This is a significant influx to our economy and almost anything that adds to the economy is a plus for the country.

         Yet in these economic times one has to somewhat selfishly consider the practicality of frivolous unneccessary expenditures such as we may find at Valentine's Day.  The state of one's own household economy certainly must be considered before making any special purchases for the day.  Furthermore, Valentine's Day is often a false embodiment of something that romantic partners should be sharing spontaneously throughout the year.  For many a Valentine's gift is more of an obligation to fulfill to a partner or an expectation from the standpoint of a recipient.

         And when you think about it $103 dollars per person doesn't really buy that much when you consider that this may include gifts or tokens not only for partners, but also  friends, teachers, co-workers, bosses, and so on.  So in that regard, you can figure that this expenditure is primarily for cards, flowers, or cheap trinkets that will for the most part end up in the trash.  Certainly most of the candy that will be bought does not promote heathful living.

         My argument is this:
Valentine's Day is just another example of the frivolous self-indulgence and wastefulness of Americans.

          I certainly don't think the day should be abolished like some think about Halloween.  And my arguments in defense of Halloween can certainly be used to defend Valentine's Day.  The day promotes spending money and as long as that spending does not hurt the spender's personal finances in too negative a way then that spending can benefit the economic climate.  The event day can be great fun and enhance one's romantic life.   Valentine's Day does celebrate friendships and love which should be seen as a positive thing.

        But I just have to wonder:  Are there some better ways we could celebrate this day?  Wouldn't it be wrong to go into debt to buy expensive Valentine's gifts?   Don't we often exchange a lot of insincerity in our gifts of that day?   Did you realize that you can often buy those Valentine's boxes of chocolates the day after for half off?

Oh, and by the way, since I forgot to send out any cards, I want to wish a Happy Valentine's Day to my Mom; my daughters--Ada, Diana, Emilee, and Angie; my sisters Joy and Joni;  my other relatives; my friends; and of course, all of my wonderful blog readers and followers.


  1. To me Valentines Day is a personal day of celebrating one's love. Being a widow I will put some flowers on my husband's grave instead. Why should children and the like expect gifts on Valentine's Day is beyond me.
    As long as the love between 2 people is still there in abundance surely that should be surfice.

    Have a grand day

  2. LOL! I didn't send out cards either. In fact, I didn't buy any.
    People go into debt for Christmas, but it would be silly to do it for Valentine's Day.
    Practical gifts are better. I have a bag of goodies for my husband, but they are things he'll enjoy and keep.
    BTW - our household is a candy-free zone. We don't really eat it, so rarely buy it for each other. That and I don't eat chocolate!

  3. I kind of ignore all the ads for buying diamonds, etc. Usually my husband and I go out for a nice supper or nice lunch, even. I get the kids cards and candy--but they have to find them, first (I do a treasure hunt with clues.)

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  4. Valentine's Day is a day for expression. Thankfully, love can be expressed in some many ways. Financial ruin isn't the key for my household. As much as I love gifts, I love the giver more.

  5. I HATE all the "Hallmark" Holidays that serve only to sell cards, flowers and guilt. Valentines day can be charming between couples, but why does it need to be a huge floursh? A hand made card, a single flower is just as meaningful. I would NEVER want to go out for dinner that night. Fight the crowds, what the heck for??

    I hate Mother's Day, Father's Day, Boss's Day, Secretary's goes on and on. I think only to serve the card stores/manufacturers. I tell my family to ignore all those "Special Days". Its what happens all year long that counts, not the single day.

    Bah-Humbug, I say....


  6. A former girlfriend and I used to have a kind of Valentine's Day once a month. My day was the 3rd and hers was the 23rd.

    We called it a "Happy Day", and on one's Happy Day, the other person had to give some little gift. It was rarely something expensive, just some little thing that would be appreciated - flowers, a purchased movie, a customized music tape, etc. Usually accompanied by a homemade card or a commercial greeting card that had been altered, like "Happy Birthday" with the "Birth" part scratched out.

    But the best part of it all was that on a person's Happy Day, he or she was the unquestioned boss. Got to make all the decisions for the day and could order the other person to do anything he or she chose. Yes, "ANYTHING"!

    But, of course, "payback" was always only a couple of weeks away, which kept things from getting too far out of line... most of the time.

    It was fun; we both had a blast celebrating our own Happy Days, and although this Gal Pal is now living in Tennessee with a husband and a couple of kids, we're still friends and I still have some of the old Happy Day gifts she gave me way back when.

    We didn't need Hallmark or any Association Of Flower Growers to remind us to show our affection and appreciation to each other. In fact, when Valentine's Day came, we both pretty much thought: FEH! We'd just give each other some of those candy message hearts (like in the photo you attached above) or something like that and be done with it.

    Heck, we were having "Happy Days" which were better than "Valentine's Days", and we were having them every 3rd and 23rd of each and every month. Who needed "V.D."? [Uhm... that is, who needed Valentine's Day? You know what I meant, eh?]

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe

    POSTSCRIPT: rLEE-b, this Blog Bit of yours inspired me to post something new on F-FFF. It was the "commerce" angle that reminded me of an Email a friend had sent some weeks back. Thanks for the unintentional reminder!

  7. Happy Valentine's Day to all of you.

    Yvonne -- Valentine's Day should be limited to greater itimacy, but I must say I always loved the day as a kid-- anything that involved candy and disruption of the daily school routine.

    L Diane -- practical is good, but NO CHOCOLATE! I'm not sure about that one. I am very bad when it comes to candy, but I am trying to do better.

    Elizabeth -- What a creative and highly appropriate (for you at least) way of making V-day special for the kids!

    Tamika -- a sweet sentiment and the way it should be.

    Sig -- Go get 'em. Sig to my rescue. My wife and I tried the evening dinner thing a few times early in our marraige, but now we go for lunch or something at home. You have expressed my sentiments well. And you have talked about it in previous posts I knows: Handmade or very personal gifts mean more. I usually try to write a poem or a special little message to my wife and forget hokey gifts. We've got too much crap around here as it is.

  8. Stephen -- Now that's more like what I'm thinking. And that way you're still contributing to the economy, but spread out over the year.
    Always more than happy to remind you to post something. And commerce and economy are always something that I find of interest. Looking forward to your ffff post.

  9. I tend to agree with you that Valentine's Day can get out of control if you let it. I've never totally understood how spending $$ relates to affection. To me it's the exact opposite..I'd rather be shown. Something handmade is priceless.

    The hubby and I generally make each other promise NOT to get anything for one another and instead try to set aside some kid-free time for the two of us. Babysitter's are a grand thing!

  10. $103!!!, I only wish Mrs. Geezer would spend that much on me!

    God bless you, Ron

  11. The kids here give each other Valentine's day cards, but other than that, the "holiday" is mostly reserved for lovers/sweethearts. I've never heard of anyone giving a coworker, boss or even a friend a Valentine gift! My kids have never received anything from me either. I don't think it's done in my area - yay!

  12. Kristi--another vote for my side!

    Old Geezer -- Yeah but then you'd be obligated to go $103 for her too which would be tough on that allowance of yours.

    Jemi -- My wife is a kindergarten teacher and it always amazes me with the number of rather nice gifts from her students that she comes home with every year. And the families in her school are mostly fairly low income. I used to always get my employees boxes of candy for Valentine's Day-- did it once and just got in a habit to do it every year.

  13. I don't need a card I already know you love me :) Happy Valentine's Day to you too, daddy

  14. I agree that this holiday has become one like Halloween is! Buy, buy, buy scream ads everywhere one goes! I liked the days my children made their own valentines or carefully chose a box of Valentine's for their classmates. Goodness, now its become a get me this, gimme that holiday! I usually write a note to my husband for the big day but he likes to give me roses and a little gift. Of course I won't refuse them but I have his love and thats all I need. Lets see, the day after Valentine's Day the stores will be stocked with Easter stuff! Arghhh...


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