A National Retail Federation Survey concluded that Valentine’s Day celebrators expect to spend over $126 on average for the holiday this year.  Men expect to spend about $169.  Women expect to spend $86.  Almost 200 million roses are produced for Valentine’s Day and the price of them usually doubles at this time of year. Valentine’s Day started in 496 A.D. in honor of Saint Valentine.  My intention is not to discuss the history of this holiday.  Instead it is to discuss whether the true meaning of this holiday has given way to a giant marketing scam duping millions ever year.

Holidays are celebrations.  Celebrations are meant to produce joy for the celebrators.  Let’s consider two of our most widely celebrated holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Both of these days are centered on celebrating with family and friends.  On many occasions, both of these days end up producing the exact opposite and create stress for everyone.  Thanksgiving involves hours and hours of cooking followed by dinner with relatives that sometimes don’t get along.  After dinner is the massive cleanup project.  Many people dread the thought of spending a few hours at Thanksgiving with family members who they are not fond of.  Christmas is even worse.  It is a month long giant ball of stress.  It starts the day after Thanksgiving with throngs of people fighting over Black Friday deals.  For the next four weeks, there is stress of finding the perfect gift.  Or there is the worry of finding a gift for Aunt Sally that “doesn’t appear cheap, but isn’t more than the $25 she spent on a gift for you last year”.   Let’s face it, holidays can be extremely stressful. 

Holidays are very good for the economy.  Almost $450 billion is spent on Christmas annually.  Valentine’s Day has almost $18 billion spent on it.  Consumer spending creates jobs.  More jobs creates an economy that is sustaining itself.  This country needs holidays.  The term “Black Friday” is named for the day when retailers are finally turning a profit.  Remove holidays from this equation and retailers would have a hard time keeping their doors open. 

The difference between Valentine’s Day and the other widely celebrated holidays is they are generally not dreaded by those who celebrate it.  Valentine’s Day is simple for the vast majority of people; buy flowers or chocolates  and go to dinner.  The key to this holiday is the evening usually turns out to be lovely.  A nice quiet dinner between two people fond of each other and an evening of no stress is the perfect way to celebrate a holiday.  Valentine’s Day brings happiness, whereas other holidays oftentimes bring stress.  Even if you feel this day has become a marketing scam, just play along, because Valentine's day delivers the happiness that holidays are intended to create.