Valentine’s Day Is A Commercial Holiday, So What?

The time has come to discuss one of the most anticipated days in the calendar.

It’s February! The second month of the year and of course, a time coined as “the month of love” (although personally, it’s the month of pancakes for me… but whatever floats your boat).

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Some of you may be preparing to cringe at (or maybe even partake in!) scenes of couples gushing over each other in public places. Get ready for the oversized Valentine’s cards and gigantic teddies; roses and chocolates; lingerie and candles. Because what else could possibly scream ROMANCE more?!

Okay, I’ll admit. I’ve never fully subscribed to the whole Valentine’s Day thing. Whether I was in a relationship or not, I thought it was so cheesy. I thought it was just another ploy to feed greedy corporations through buying into their lovey-dovey merchandise. And to be honest, I guess part of me didn’t want to develop great expectations for this big day, so then I wouldn’t be disappointed if they weren’t met by some hopeless boy that had my affection.

But with hindsight I can see that the viewpoint I had back then was from the eyes of a younger Wunmi. The younger me didn’t really even appreciate what love is, or why it’s so important to remind the people I love, that they are loved. Now that I am in a serious and committed relationship of 3 and a half years or so, I’ve learned a few things about this love thing that I want to share with you guys. By no means am I necessarily trying to sell Valentine’s Day to you, rather I just want to explain why my thought process has evolved.


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Photo: HowStuffWorks

Right, let’s address the age-old Celebrating Love vs Feeding Greedy Corporations debate. To put things into perspective: in the United Kingdom an average of 25 million cards are given on Valentine’s Day. On top of this, we spend an average of £1.3 billion on Valentine’s gifts each year and this number will probably increase as 21st century commercial romance becomes more ridiculous – #RelationshipGoals. Therefore… yes these companies are going to make a fat cheque from Valentine’s Day and no, the people “behind the scenes” probably don’t care about us and our love lives. But so what? Currently, most holidays feed the economy in the western world – Christmas and Easter included. That’s just the nature of capitalism. However the focus of Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about the commercialism – if you make it personal to you and your loved ones, it doesn’t have to be a competition with society at large about buying the most lavish displays of affection.

My friend recently informed me of the origins of Valentine’s Day and I was shocked at the lack of emphasis on gift-giving. The holiday’s roots are in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility celebration commemorated annually on February 15.

Pope Gelasius I recast this pagan festival as a Christian feast day circa 496, declaring February 14 to be St. Valentine’s Day. – InfoPlease.com

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Photo: Getty

Now you might be thinking: so really, it’s just a made-up holiday?!  Well yes, I guess it is. But I would argue that there are positives that we can take from embracing Valentine’s Day more:

  1.  Whilst we should really show love to eachother everyday, the reality is that we dont!! We just don’t do it. Unfortunately most people get consumed by the busyness of everyday life and forget to create these special moments. Especially for couples, I can only imagine life gets even more busy once you’re married with three kids, a dog and a stack of bills to pay. Hence, using Valentine’s Day to take stock is a great opportunity to remind your loved ones that you do love and appreciate them.
  2.  Jesus has called us to love one another, so why not indulge in a holiday that encourages the second greatest commandment? – to “love your neighbour as yourself” – See Matthew 22:36-40
  3.  Finally, I have learned that Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a couples-fest. We are so blessed to have many beautifully complex relationships. Not just with significant others but relationships with neighbours, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, parents, grandparents, friends, colleagues and even pets. You also have a relationship to nurture with yourself (#SelfLove is important!). So with that being said, each of these people need regular reminders that they are loved and important to you.

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Ultimately, Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday, there’s no denying it. But we can take these positives and use them to glorify God through spreading love. As I said above, this isn’t a competition. As tempting as it is to scroll through social media and see what all the lovebirds are up to – having dinner at The Shard or staying in a five star hotel – we know that real love is not rooted in material things, so we need not be jealous or bitter (See: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Whilst extravagant gifts are lovely gestures (which I wouldn’t say no to either lol), I honestly think the best gift or reminder of love that you can give someone is your time. Just being present speaks volumes. And you don’t have to experience such materialism to enjoy your Valentine’s Day.

That’s all from me. Remember to keep spreading love, not just on Valentine’s Day but always. God is love.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s a gift from me to you:

Click here to download the list of participating stores.

What’s your stance on Valentine’s Day? I’d love to know your thoughts too – share them in the comment box below 🙂


God bless you!

Wunms.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

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17 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day Is A Commercial Holiday, So What?

  1. I enjoyed your thoughts on Valentine’s Day. It’s always been my favorite holiday, not because of the gift/commercialism aspect, but I always thought of it as just a day to remind people you loved them, not that it’s the only day of the year to say that! As a little kid, kindergarten age, I started a tradition of exchanging a small gift with my best friend and now, we are thirty-nine, living in different states and we continue the tradition. It’s small and sweet, something to look forward to.

    My first job as a teen was at a Hallmark store and I realized that there is a holiday for everything and of course, a card to give for that holiday. It can get a bit silly and burdensome if you feel pressure to buy a card or gift for everything. However, I also learned that sending cards, whether it’s for an occasion or just because, is something that feels nice to do and is usually happily received. I recently moved to another state and I’ve gone on a frenzy sending cards, letting my friends know that there is no need to reciprocate, I just love doing it. This included Valentine’s cards this years, when I found the perfect cards for particular friends.

    I think the key with Valentine’s Day is to have no expectations and to not feel pressured. It’s really the same with other holidays though too. New Year’s Eve can be such a big deal with figuring out what party/dress…but my best NYE’s are the ones where I left my expectations behind and just enjoyed whatever happened.

    Sorry for the long ramble of a stranger. I felt compelled to reply to your lovely post. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And I enjoyed your thoughts too! It’s so interesting to read the perspective of someone who actually worked in a card store lol – I’m not surprised there’s a card for everything. That’s hilarious 😂

      I also love the tradition you have going with your best friend and it’s so thoughtful of you to get personal cards for your friends on Valentine’s Day. It’s a great way to remind people that you’re thinking of them and they’re loved.

      You’re so right – it’s not about the reciprocation at all is it. These things, when done for the right reasons (i.e. purely out of love) should be a selfless act.

      & No need to apologise – I thoroughly enjoyed reading your opinions. Thanks for sharing them 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t like to celebrate Valentine simply because one day is not enough to celebrate love. Enjoy and love each day of your life. And don’t forget that pancake. Need some now 😋😋

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol! I understand what you’re saying, but I’d still much rather focus on the positive things that Valentine’s Day promotes. If I say I want to “love people everyday”, surely that should include February 14th too, no matter what society/tradition has turned it into? That’s just me.

      Definitely don’t forget the pancakes! & Thanks for reading 🙂

      Like

  3. As with most holidays that have now turned commercial money-making days, I’m personally not a fan of Valentine’s Day and haven’t ever really been. But you made a great point that we don’t actually take the time out to show love to our loved ones so this is a good day and reminder to do so.
    On another note, I completely forgot about Pancake Day!! 😲😲 that is WAAY more important lol! Thanks for the reminder! Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not a “fan” of Valentine’s Day per se either lol, but yes I’m an advocate for the love message! It’s an important message despite whoever is subsequently profiting from it.

      & Hahaha I’m glad I’m spreading more Pancake Day enthusiasm 😂🙌🏾

      Thanks for reading 🙂

      Like

  4. I like that, taking the good out of the day – why dislike a day designed to celebrate love! And yes it does not just have to be for couples!!

    As for pancake day, I’m soooo excited 😃😁😁😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes exactly 🙂 it took a while to stop being a hater though lol.

      Oooo, I can’t wait! I’m going all out this year. Been looking up new recipes and everything haha 👀

      Like

  5. Good morning Wunmi, this blog had me smiling and laughing this morning. It’s spot on. Oh the joy of buying overpriced roses each year. You are right, the most precious thing we can give to others is our time and I know people who have given me a lot of their time and I am very grateful. Always avoid the trap of being too busy for love when you have a family, always remember what is important, life is too short. I think it’s great to have a day to refocus even if it was invented by the Romans, 50 shades is no original novel lol. Nothing says love more than a stack of pancakes covered in maple syrup and washed down with redbush tea although I am now torn after your subway promo, what a dilemma, it’s got me laughing all the way today. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gavin – thanks for reading! 🙂

      I agree, nothing says love more than a stack of pancakes hahaha. I’m very excited for Pancake Day as you can tell. Also excited for free subway lol.

      That’s great advice about avoiding being too busy for love when you have a family – thank you. I’m trying to get all the basics down now! Start forming good habits etc.

      Have a lovely weekend and Valentine’s Day.

      Like

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