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Holiday should be realistic; don’t compare relationships

Every year, one day comes around where candy, flowers, cards and gifts are exchanged in the name of love. It is the inevitable Valentine’s Day. There is some skepticism about how Valentine’s Day came to be or why we celebrate it.

In one legend, St. Valentine wrote a letter to a girl he liked during his confinement in prison expressing his love for her before he was sentenced to death, according to After his death, Feb. 14 became a day for lovers to celebrate their love for one another.

However, today the holiday has transformed into a day in which men and women are supposed to shower each other with affection and perhaps go out for a romantic candlelit dinner. The pressure to be romantic keeps building.

The Greeting Card Association estimates that 180 million valentine cards are sent each year worldwide, according to a U.S. Census Bureau press release. This makes Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday, only one place behind Christmas.

So what’s the big deal about Valentine’s Day?

If you are single, it simply reminds you that you don’t have someone special in your life. If you are in a relationship, you are expected to do something sweet or buy a valentine for your significant other in fear that if you don’t, you may end up sleeping on the couch.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy flowers and gifts just like most women. However, I don’t expect my boyfriend to run out to the store and buy me every heart-shaped chocolate box and bouquet of roses he can find just because it’s Valentine’s Day.

In our consumer-driven world, Valentine’s Day has turned into a day where card companies and florists tell us to buy something for our significant other. If we don’t, it means we don’t love or appreciate them. This simply isn’t true. These companies merely use good advertising strategies to play off of our emotions to get us to buy a product, and it works.

In the past, choosing who you love was not as widely accepted as it is today. Many people had arranged marriages or married to settle family feuds or money issues. Today, we have the freedom to be in relationships on our own terms. This is one option St. Valentine never had in his time.

Instead of picking one day a year to express our love for someone, we should celebrate that love every day realistically. This doesn’t mean we have to live a fantasy or compare our relationships to those found in a romance novel, but an occasional romantic gesture is appreciated. Also we should take it upon ourselves to do nice things for the ones we love and care for in our lives. We don’t need a holiday to remind us.

If you want to take your boyfriend or girlfriend out for a nice dinner or send him or her a card for Valentine’s Day, you should. I doubt anyone would object to a thoughtful gift, especially women. Still, you should do it because you want to and not because Hallmark tells you to do it.

Erin Law is a senior advertising/public relations and sociology major from Las Vegas.

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