Is Valentine’s Day Overrated?


Image by Lauryn Marin

Sofia Hernandez holding a heart-shaped balloon and many Valentine’s flowers.

Millions of people every year spend the first two weeks of February picking out the perfect flowers, treats, and cards to give to their loved ones for Valentine’s Day. Many may ask, is it overrated?

Pink flowers and Valentines. (Image by Lauryn Marin)

What is Valentine’s Day?
One of the many mysteries of the world is the origin of Valentine’s Day. Most historians can agree it derives from Catholic and Roman religious practices and beliefs. However, there are a few different beliefs that mark St. Valentine as the hero. states, “Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and—most importantly—romantic figure.”

The most widely accepted origin of Valentine’s Day tells the tale of Saint Valentine, an outlaw who helped Christians escape Roman imprisonment. Following his capture, he fell in love with a girl who visited him. It is said he sent the first Valentine to her from prison before he was executed in February.

Today, we celebrate Valentine’s Day as a way to show our loved ones we care. In the same way St. Valentine would write to his girl even though he was locked up, and she would visit him knowing each time could be her last to see him. Humanity will do absolutely anything for love.

The Corporatization of Valentine’s Day
Everyone has different traditions for Valentine’s Day, whether it’s buying a partner a bouquet, balloons, candy, or even something else that they may enjoy. People can get very creative when it comes to Valentine’s gifts. Some people even go out to restaurants, but make sure to make a reservation a few weeks in advance, otherwise, good luck! Waiting for a table just for 2-4 people can take well over two hours.

Valentine’s PNG made by Autumn Pagan (Image by Autumn Pagan)

As you can see, the traditions we have are deeply rooted in capitalism. We rely on big corporations to provide the standard gifts we give like flowers, cards, chocolates, and more. They take advantage of this and can overprice or understock because of high demand. According to, “Nearly 6.5 billion greeting cards are purchased in America each year, with the retail sales of greeting cards estimated to be between $7 and $8 billion.” Over 145 million of those are Valentine’s Day cards.

We, as a society, have come to expect expensive gifts or silly puns from Hallmark every single year. These gifts are the standard that we hold for the ones we love. Overall, this is not what Valentine’s Day is about.

Day of Love
Although capitalism has a hold on us for the month of February, it doesn’t mean Valentine’s Day is all bad. It’s always a good time to tell people you care about and that you love them. It doesn’t mean giant metallic balloons, big heart-shaped chocolate boxes, or dinner reservations at the most expensive restaurants in LA. Valentine’s is remembering what their favorite thing to do is and buying them supplies to do that hobby. It’s a reminder of all the people who make life special.

The Valentine’s holiday itself is not overrated. Even if you don’t have a significant other, there are people who make you smile and deserve to hear, “I love you.”

Valentine’s Day may be an overrated business practice but it is perfect for anyone wanting to show loved ones they care.