More than a decade ago, an article listed Valentine’s Day as one of the most over-commercialized holidays in America. Little has changed.
When you ask most people which holiday is the most over-commercialized, I’m sure the top answer you’d receive is Christmas. Few of us could argue with that. But Valentine’s Day is certainly high on the list as far as I’m concerned.
Nearly a decade ago, in an episode of the Sunday Seven, an old blog franchise I ran here for a few years, I pointed to a 2008 article from Business Pundit that listed 25 favorite holidays it labeled as commercialized. Let’s face it: businesses will find a way to commercialize anything they can. That’s how capitalism works, after all.
But for Valentine’s Day, like Christmas, that commercialization is everywhere you look. I walked into the grocery store the other day and was met with a jungle of fresh flowers with red hearts, balloons and boxes of candy.
As a single guy, I wasn’t tempted to spend any time in that little section of the store. (For that matter, as a diabetic, I’m happy to report I wasn’t even tempted by the candy boxes.)
That 2008 article reported that almost one billion Valentines are sent each year, 85 percent of them by women.
Advertising, however, is clearly targeted toward men, reminding them of the need to remind their loved one how much they mean.
I know a few people who are happily married but who don’t wait until every Feb. 14 to remind each other why they’re so happy. Sure, they may be a bit more demonstrative on days like Valentine’s Day or birthdays or wedding anniversaries. But they make it a point to show that throughout the year. Call me crazy, but I would think that would be important.
But what about the day after?
Many businesses do little to capitalize — or commercialize — the alternate to Valentine’s Day. Every Feb. 15 is a lesser-known “Singles Awareness Day.” I’m sure a single person came up with that idea.
It’s designed, as you can probably guess, as a way to make people who aren’t dating anyone still feel special by celebrating their singleness. You, naturally, must decide for yourself how worthy of celebration it is.
I’m surprised more restaurants don’t do more to offer singles special meals. Valentine’s Day deals are always designed for two. Some of us don’t come in pairs. Some of us are that way by choice. But others of us are that way because of divorce, separation or death. There are indeed a handful of singles who aren’t single because they want to be, but because life did that for them. (Or to them.)
If more businesses did try to commercialize Singles Awareness Day, we’d certainly complain about that. Maybe we’re better off letting those find ourselves single every Feb. 14 just celebrate on our own without further comment.
Whether you’re married, dating, partnered or single, I hope you find a reason to celebrate either day.