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UNF Spinnaker

VD, Anyone?

Photo by Sean Patterson / Spinnaker
No, not venereal disease. Not Vampire Diaries. Valentine’s Day.

There has to be more to Valentine’s Day than teddy bears and candy hearts.

Valentine’s Day started off as a day to recognize martyred saints named Valentine (there were many) and it has since, of course, evolved.

Eventually, Valentine’s Day began celebrating romance and courtly love. By the 15th century, people were expressing their affections with flowers, candy and cards. These things were hard to come by and were incredibly personalized, unlike the generic valentines we’ve come to know today. Picking up mass produced teddy bears, chocolates and a card at the drugstore on the way to your love’s house is not romantic, but lazy and superficial.

Card companies now have strong footholds in the celebration of Valentine’s Day, filling the demand for impersonal convenience. The Greeting Card Association shows that annual sales of seasonal cards place Valentine’s Day in second place (Christmas cards rank first). In fact, 180 million Valentine cards are purchased each year, according to Statistic Brain.

Valentines should be personal sentiments, individualized and unique. They are now just obligatory to meet society’s expectations. Kim Braesch, a UNF junior, said, “I don’t like forced displays of affection. It ends up being a competition of who gave the better gift.”

This is not what love is about.

Photo by Sean Patterson / Spinnaker

People get competitive with their peers. Even if you do get your lover something, you are competing with what their friends are receiving. If you make your gifts more personal, they will be less comparable.

If you’re going to have a day to celebrate love, then make it as personal as your love is. Don’t take the easy way out by getting some candy and a generic card at the last minute. Think about something that is meaningful to your significant other or to your relationship.

Assuming you make the person of your affections feel loved regularly and not just on Valentine’s Day, do something more involved or personal for the holiday of romance. Your love likes Harry Potter? Give them a chocolate frog. Your love likes having a clean car but can never seem to wash it (almost every college student)? Surprise them by washing it. Valentines don’t need to be expensive to be appreciated.

We need to change society’s expectations, from impersonal valentines to something meaningful and worthy of a holiday that has come to celebrate love. Walk past all those cute, cuddly teddy bears that so many people will receive, skip the chocolate aisle, and if you must, only give a card you have actually read and put some thought into. Better yet, write one yourself.

Be better than the mass produced Valentine’s Day cupids lurking in the convenience stores. Celebrate love by actually putting love into your efforts; after all, it is only once a year.


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