The Valentine’s Day Trap

I was thinking today about how our zeal for holidays has become a Catch-22, controlled, primarily, by business and the media. Valentine’s Day is a great example of this. If you feel like you show your significant other that you love them every day, a thousand different ways, you might be tempted to say “oh, we don’t do this Valentine’s Day commercial holiday thing.” But can you really get away with that? It’s a rare couple that won’t have at least a small stumble if, in fact, either ignores Valentine’s Day. What’s most striking is how it has become – along with just about every other holiday – Big Business…

When I was a kid, I can remember little cards and those tiny hearts with little one and two word sayings on ’em, but this afternoon I was listening to the radio and was apalled to hear five Valentine’s Day adverts in a row. Between restaurants, jewelery stores (do people really buy multi-hundred-dollar Vday gifts? Amazing.) and even hotels and bed and breakfast places, it’s clearly one of the Big Holidays now.

Which is rather pathetic somehow. Why do we as a society let business and commercialism gobble up every holiday? Even new holidays like Kwanzaa have their own share of junk for sale, with Kwanzaa cards, books, special Kwanzaa candles, clothes, altars, etc etc etc, ad nauseum.

It’s too late, but I long for when holidays were primarily something that families, couples and friends celebrated, without any endorsement from Target, F.A.O. Schwartz, Victoria’s Secret and The Gap. Just try to imagine fifty years into the future… how many more quasi-holidays will there be, for just about anything imaginable, each with its own kids videos, broaches, hats, cards, wrapping paper, and gift suggestions? Oh, and advertisements upon advertisements, of course! Because what’s a holiday without spending? sigh

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