Another Valentine's Day has passed, meaning, there exists millions of couples around the world stocked with heart shaped boxes of chocolate within their homes, all paired with gigantic stuffed teddy bears and withering flowers bought from local supermarkets. Personally, I have no grievances against the holiday's celebration; however, time and time again I see couples who fall apart from misgiven gifts or not "big enough" surprises on Valentine's Day, leading me to think perhaps this holiday isn't as great as it is portrayed. Originally a pagan ritual, Valentine's Day now has turned as a corporate scheme, a means of collecting a profit between the winter holidays and spring sales. After all, if the day is meant to make your significant other feel special and unique, what better way to show them than buying gifts?
It's a logical fallacy, but growingly, we as a society place a dollar value on the depth of love between two individuals. A dozen roses is seen as a grander gesture than a single rose, a bracelet is overlooked by a diamond, but why so? My current theory runs along the lines of complacency to societal norms: if we all annually adjust our mindset to believe we must buy candy and flowers for our significant other, the thought behind the gift is taken away: it becomes an automated response, a "It's Valentine's Day! Where's my gift?" reaction. When gifts then aren't given, or not to the magnitude as others make it, the comparison between the value of love and the value of a gift is then made.
The question that then exists: how do we stop this?
If we continue going in cycles, becoming an increasingly more materialistic society, expecting the grand gestures and falling for the perfectly laid corporate traps, we can never get better. It's a toxic mindset to make love a capitalistic profit scheme, but just as toxic to fall into and become a part of its plan. We must remember as a society that there exists free will behind all actions, and not so eagerly accept the "exactly what she wants" gifts planted around department stores. If we are to truly celebrate the holiday, and make our appreciated loved ones feel special, it takes thought and depth outside preprepared gifts and a dollar value.
It's simply the cause of incorrect priorities: if we continue to value the notion of "big gifts" over true acts of love, no matter how small, we run into the issue of then taking the free will out of the act of appreciation; only pushing ourselves in order to "prove" rather than "show" our love. Valentine's Day has done exactly this: turning showing love as an obligation.
Perhaps our school teachers were right in handing us construction paper, glue, and glitter. It's time we make the little things matter once again.