Valentine’s Day: Too commercial and too American

Krishnaa Pandya 13 February 2014

Every year, the same articles spread out across the media about whether Valentine’s Day is too commercialised.

Is it now just another ploy companies employ to make money out of the love-struck wide-eyed sickly-sweet couples who wish to express their love for one another by exchanging gifts and sending roses and chocolates?

There’s no doubt that there is a great deal of money involved in the celebration of this day; but then again, why are we complaining about this? Businesses thrive on the supply and demand system – and the demand for Valentine’s gifts is off the charts. No wonder there are so many shops advertising their sales and services for this big day; they know people will buy whatever they offer.

But maybe the problem lies deeper than the slap-across-your-face advertising and the look-we’ve taken- your-money post-slap burn. There’s pressure to find the perfect gift  for your partner, to outdo whatever you did the year before or even to exceed other couples and friends in planning the perfect surprise. This side of the commercialisation is overlooked.Valentine’s Day is all about professing your love for another individual. But since when were surprise bouquets of roses, boxes of chocolate or expensive (and sometimes tacky) trinkets needed? Is that really what love is about?

Call me an old-fashioned romantic, but the gesture of a single rose is far more touching than buying a bunch of flowers too large for you to carry comfortably. Saying those three words is more emotive and moving than being lured into buying a teddy bear, hot water bottle, mug or even a credit-card holder (seriously?!) with the same words written across them.

It’s this modernisation of Valentine’s Day that bugs me most. If you’re going to celebrate Valentine’s Day, do it properly. It doesn’t need to be big and American and commercialised – it needs to be personal. Even sending a meaningful text is better than planning a massive surprise for your loved one for when they return from their day’s work. They would rather just watch one of the endless rom-coms on the telly than have to be embarrassed at a party.

So if you are planning to splash out for your Valentine and pull out all the stops, maybe think again. Do you want to be another sheep tapping into the commercialised side of an industry dominated holiday, or would you rather sit and have a midnight picnic staring at the moon with your loved one? The picnic means food, so I know where I’ll be.