With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s time to face facts — the holiday has become rather stale in recent years.
Despte the fact that the holiday falls on Sunday this year, many of my friends and family are working that day — possibly intentionally. Being “too exhausted from work” is a fantastic excuse to avoid having to take your significant other out for an expensive dinner date.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a holiday curmudgeon. But I’ve noticed something unique about V-Day that you don’t really see with the other major holidays.
It’s not fun anymore.
Remember how exciting it was in elementary school, exchanging those cheap cards and candies with everyone in your class?
Or in middle school when you went to your first Valentine’s Day dance?
And who could forget spending V-Day with your high school sweetheart?
Flash forward to the present.
Now, as an adult, it almost seems like the holiday is forced upon us.
Everything is pink and red for weeks. Naked cupids and heart-shaped decorations are everywhere. Commercials for flowers, candy, cards, and jewelry run non-stop. And if you’re coupled up, it’s likely that one of you is feeling pressured to be extra romantic this weekend, even if it means taking out a second mortgage on your house.
Over-commercialization appears to be clogging the arteries at the heart of Valentine’s Day. The holiday traditions we once loved have now become more of a pain in the wallet than a warming of the heart.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
College students intuitively know this. Free online dating sites and romance-finder apps are more popular than ever. “Netflix and chill” has become a cheaper, cozier alternative to “dinner and a movie”.
It’s not just about being frugal.
Being broke forces you to get creative when holidays come around. Doing something unique with your special someone is a great way to show them how much you care.
It’s not just the thought that counts. It’s the effort, too.
Instead of getting dressed up to spend a fortune dining out, try a romantic evening preparing a meal together. Throw in some candles, a little Etta James, and some post-dinner dancing. You may make them fall in love with you all over again.
If you don’t want to be cooped up indoors, try going outdoors. Hiking or taking a quiet bike ride can bring you closer to nature and your partner as well.
Still feeling pressured to give your significant other a gift?
Channel your artistic side and make a gift for them instead of simply buying it. There are innumerable ideas online, and most are easy and inexpensive.
And if you’re single like me, don’t be afraid to celebrate either.
Go out with a group of friends. Pamper yourself if you need it. Take some time to relax or maybe catch up on things that you’ve been putting off.
Remember that Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about loving ourselves and one another.
And you don’t need candy or cards to do that.
Brian Vosicky is a Marine Corps veteran who served in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. He is studying psychology at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.