We’ve all seen the over-advertising and hyper-consumerism surrounding every celebration and holiday ever, and of course Valentine’s Day is no different. The big cards, the flowers, the teddy bears, the chocolates and wine, going out for dinner and the whole spectacle of attempting to prove how much couples love each other on this specific day is all a bit ridiculous. As someone who likes the simple things in life, I prefer a similar approach towards Valentine’s day.
I’ve been in a relationship for over two years now, since December 2018, and my boyfriend Sam is the best thing in my life. He’s my best friend. I’d call myself a romantic and he is a little bit too, so the idea of dedicating a day to each other to show our love and appreciation is nice. But the commercialisation of it and emphasis on big gestures is just unnecessary. I don’t need a bunch of flowers to know that I’m loved.
Moreover, this huge emphasis on a single day of romance a year seems kind of sad. Do people really need prompting to show affection to their significant others? In my opinion, romance and love isn’t about the big gestures and gifts and dates; it’s about the daily support we give each other, when he brings me my favourite Haribo’s if I’m having a bad day, making me tea the way I like it when I’m working on an essay, him listening patiently when I ramble on about medieval history.
We do celebrate Valentine’s Day, and it’s always lovely. We don’t do presents because that seems a bit weird and pointless. I don’t want a teddy holding a heart (I’m not sure anyone does, really). If nothing else, my birthday is ten days after Valentine’s, and Sam’s birthday is also early-April, so there’s just no point.
We do exchange cards, and I make my own because I like drawing and painting anyway. Cards from him are also sweet and thoughtful. He gets me flowers, but he does give me flowers on occasions other than Valentine’s Day (my dad is a florist – I like having flowers in my life).
For Valentine’s last year, we stayed in and made a nice dinner together and just had a night off from work to enjoy each other’s company. I’d made chocolate mousse and some truffles for us (I also like baking) and we watched a film together. It was absolutely lovely. With so much going on in our lives, it’s enough that we just put everything else on pause for one night to spend together.
There is so much emphasis placed on the need to make gestures and orchestrate an unforgettable night each year, but the small, thoughtful acts of love are the most meaningful. Some of my most precious memories are just of us cuddling on the sofa watching historical dramas, or listening to musicals together in the car, or long walks together on a sunny day.
So yes, Valentine’s is nice, but like every other holiday and celebration, it really has suffered from excessive commercialisation. Being so hyped up, it has lost its meaning a bit and caused unnecessary stress. There’s the feeling that if people don’t do these things, or if they get the wrong card or the wrong flowers, then they’re somehow not a good enough partner. Nobody needs that pressure. Valentine’s shouldn’t be about people needing to prove to themselves, their partner, or anyone else how romantic they are. None of it matters, as long as you and your partner are happy together.