THE BLOG

Valentine's Day: The Commercially Manufactured Holiday

02/08/2013 11:14 am ET | Updated Apr 10, 2013

Relationship or not, I hate Valentine's Day. It has become a commercially manufactured holiday that not only causes stress, but also can cost an arm and a leg. Standing at the checkout line and watching the amount on the cash register steadily climb makes my stomach turn.

There is a difference in opinion regarding the origin o f Valentine's Day, as some believe it commemorates the anniversary of Valentine's death or burial, while others claim that it was to "Christianize" the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Regardless of its origin, the holiday isn't the same as it used to be.

Valentine's greetings go as far back as the middle ages, as the oldest valentine was reportedly a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415. This wasn't a valentine that was purchased at a retail store or designed on the Internet; it was a poem hand-written with quill and ink. It wasn't an obligatory sentiment, but rather a heartfelt expression of love.

In today's world, Valentine's Day is significantly more than expressing your love in a hand-written note. In fact, buying a Valentine's Day card for your "honey" just isn't enough. You have to buy a card for your parents, your grandparents, your kids, your kid's teachers and friends and even your pets. Although a card is nice, it isn't enough these days. There are chocolates to buy, and if someone's been really good, presents too!

Valentine's Day doesn't discriminate based on age, gender, race, religion, education, marital status or affluence. Valentine's Day causes everyone stress. If you are school-aged, you have to get a valentine for everyone in your class, and worry about whether you are going to receive valentines from your schoolmates or boyfriend/girlfriend. If you're in a new relationship, it causes stress because you have to decide if you should go big or go home. If you're in an old or existing relationship, it causes you stress because, quite frankly, you're just too tired. And finally, even if you aren't in a relationship you feel stressed, because you feel like the odd one out when everyone else has Valentine's memorabilia flowing off their desks

Of course, the entertainment industry doesn't help. If you aren't watching the trailer for a new love story, your favorite television show is all about "love", and the commercial breaks only emphasize the need to tell and be told that you're loved.

While I absolutely believe it is important to express your love to those close to you, I don't think it should be reserved for one specific day of the year, and definitely don't think it should be a day designated by someone else. As I tell my husband, I'd rather he show and tell me that he loves me every day as opposed to making one grand gesture on Valentine's Day. However, make no mistake about it, I'm not completely immune to the holiday. If my husband wants to send me flowers or present me with some bling, I'm not going to say no!