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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

St. Valentines day is a modern miracle of marketing. A ‘Hallmark holiday’ that conveniently traps all couples into making some kind of gesture of ‘love’ to one another, no matter how contrived on meretricious that gesture might be. It’s a celebrated exploitation of unashamed commercialism that seeks to profit from what is essentially a romantic requirement. As you can tell, I’m not a big fan of St. Valentines day.

My problem with this particular ‘Hallmark holiday‘ is that the giving of whatever gift you choose to give your partner is largely expected and is therefore somewhat devalued. The sentiments behind giving a box of chocolates, a bunch of flowers, and a card with a loving message would feel more genuine on almost any other day of the year in my opinion. Saying “I love you” on St. Valentines is all to often as heartfelt as saying the Lords prayer when you have absolutely no interest in talking to God.

But while the message of love in a valentines day gesture is reduced, the negative connotations to any inaction is greatly increased. It must surely be impossible to forget that February 14th is St Valentines day, so if you don’t get your partner a card then this isn’t an oversight rather than a choice, and one that will have a far greater impact than the box of chocolates or the flowers ever could.

Of course, there will be some who will dismiss my negative opinions of St Valentines day as ’sour grapes’ or ‘mean spirited.’ But as far as I see it, there are 364 better opportunities in a year to tell the person you love that you love them. If that love is genuine then why not take back February 14th from Hallmark and instead use this day to celebrate the fact that you don’t need a card company to tell you when you should to say “I love you.”


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