Pro: The Warm Sentiments of Valentine’s Day

Grace Marshall, Opinions Associate

Valentine’s Day was first defined as a day of romance during the Middle Ages, as February 14 was believed to be the beginning of birds’ mating season. Written valentines began to appear in 1400; the oldest known valentine is a poem by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife in 1415. Valentine’s Day grew popular in Europe in the 1600s. Following improvements in printing technology, printed Valentine’s Day cards were created in the 1900s. In America, Esther A. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” began selling affordable, mass-produced versions of these cards. Valentine’s Day now offers people the opportunity to express their feelings for their loved ones, regardless of their socioeconomic status.

Today, Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular and universally celebrated holidays in America, but it is still debated whether or not it has become overly commercialized. CNN estimated that Americans as a whole spent 19.6 billion dollars on February 14, 2018. Flowers, jewelry, and cards are some of the most popular items to buy for either yourself or loved ones. Companies often advertise special Valentine’s edition products that appeal to buyers. So, is Valentine’s Day just a way for big companies to make extra money? In my opinion, no.

The holiday intends to celebrate loved ones, and I do not believe commercialization has clouded this meaning. Although companies do make a lot of money around this time of year, it is because people are buying gifts for people  they care about, proving that the spirit of the holiday is not lost. Many might think that companies take advantage of their buyers by pressuring them to buy expensive Valentine’s Day gifts, but I do not consider this exploitation, as people are happy to spend money on people of importance to them.

Still, the most memorable kind of gifts to give or receive around this time of year are ones that are homemade or come from the heart. Most people would prefer a personalized note or photo album to a generic box of chocolates. An example of this emphasis on personalization within the PDS community is the annual Carnation Sale. An overwhelming 700 carnations were bought, meaning that many people bought carnations for multiple people. Aside from the occasional students who sent carnations to themselves, everyone who purchased a flower also wrote a handwritten note to accompany the flower. When people received these carnations, most were more excited to read the note from the sender than to smell the flower. Valentine’s Day has always been a day to show your family and friends just how much you love them, and even though some people tend to spend significant amounts of money on this day, the reason why they do comes from the heart.