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Valentine’s Day has turned into a commercial holiday

Monday, as I’m sure you’re all aware, was Valentine’s Day — the one day a year when everyone’s obsessed with love, romance and those chalky little candy hearts.

For one day, the whole world, it seems, divides into two groups: the hopeless romantics and the hopeless cynics.

You know what I mean. The romantics go on dates, buy flowers and sigh over all the cupids and hearts and teddy bears. The cynics, on the other hand, wear grimaces and black all day and bemoan the commercialization of love.

There’s no arguing that Valentine’s Day has become a commercial holiday. For all the talk of romance and true love, Valentine’s Day as we know it wouldn’t be complete without the jewelry, the cards, the candy, the flowers, the romantic dinners at swanky restaurants. As nice as all those things are (and believe me, I wouldn’t turn down most of them), I think that all of the focus on tangible things on Valentine’s Day distracts us from what the holiday really stands for.

At its heart (if you’ll pardon the pun), Valentine’s Day boils down to love. On Feb. 14, we celebrate the people we love by buying them gifts and taking them to dinner.

But really, shouldn’t love be about more than that? Shouldn’t we show our loved ones that we care all year round? Buying your girlfriend a diamond in February is not going to make up for the fact that you don’t show you care during the rest of the year.

Obviously, this column is not going to change how anyone acted for this year’s Valentine’s Day. But next year, think about what your loved ones mean to you — can that really be summed up with a card and a bouquet of roses from Giant Eagle?

Love is an invaluable part of the human experience, in all its forms. We should celebrate love however it appears, because there is really nothing like it.

While the commercialization of Valentine’s Day, in my opinion, obscures the true spirit of the holiday, I don’t think that it’s necessary or reasonable to eschew all of the red and pink trappings of the holiday. The problem isn’t the Valentine’s products in and of themselves — the problem is the act of replacing love and true expression of emotion with said products.

Besides, without Valentine’s candy there’d be no post-Valentine’s half-off candy sales.


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