Skip presents for presence on Love Day

Valentine’s Day is upon us. It’s a day for love and chocolates, flowers and romance, teddy bears, hearts and jewelry.It’s also a day for mass marketing and consumerism.

Each year, around Feb. 14, people desperately scramble to pick out the perfect present for the one they adore. According to Hallmark research, more than 180 million cards are exchanged for Valentine’s Day (second only to Christmas when about 20 billion cards are exchanged).

Valentine’s Day began as a celebration to honor the feats of St. Valentine. In a time when marriage was banned, Valentine secretly joined couples in holy matrimony. He was found out, tortured and beheaded on Feb. 14.

Today, this “celebration of love” puts stress on people (especially men) to figure out the perfect surprise. If they don’t, they may have to deal with stress about keeping their relationship intact. It’s also a day for single people (especially girls) to find happiness in being alone.

Relationship psychologist Susan Quilliam said couples are defining success by what they’ve received rather than what they are.

“We’re not defining love by sticking with one partner through thick and thin,” Quilliam said in a BBC News report, “but whether we take them to the latest restaurant.”

However, surveys have shown younger generations are doing their best to stay far away from the romantic influences of this day. According to a study done at Boston University, students are concentrating more on life in general than how to celebrate the day of love.

“Idealistic young people reject the commercialism, the materialism and they’re staking a claim and saying, ‘No, I don’t want to buy into that,'” Boston University professor Nancy McLaren said in a news report by CNN. “This reflects clearly the ambivalence of students at this transitional stage of their lives.”

So this year remember Feb. 14 is a day to celebrate love and romance, not to spend obsessing over the perfect gift to get for her (or him).