By Nicaela  Giglia, Layout Editor

Valentine’s Day has become the consumerist holiday we know and love (or hate, depending on the person), originating from a mixed and sorted past with roots concerning St. Valentine and pagan holidays. As soon as Christmas has passed (and even before), the Valentine’s Day themed gifts and decorations make their red, pink and white debut all over the stores of America. The idea of love often gets lost in cheaply made merchandise that will be thrown out to clutter our already overstressed environment as soon as it has served its brief purpose.

According to a Times online article, in 2012 consumers were expected to spend a total of $4.1 billion on gifts, not to mention the romantic date out with an additional expected collective expenditure of $3.5 billion. The combined $7.6 billion doesn’t even include the $367 million that pet owners were expected to spend on their pets! I’m sure these statistics vary, but is still an indicator of money spent, rather than an expression of love. According to one statistic, 53 percent of women would end their relationship of she didn’t receive something for Valentine’s Day. This illustrates that Feb. 14 isn’t about how much you love someone, but rather how much you can prove it by presenting him or her with a material object. This may not be the case for everyone or even most people, but it seems to be the message our consumerist society is sending.

Instead of rushing to the store and buying a mass produced card, consider taking the time to make a handmade card (no matter how silly you think it might look). The time and effort spent on a card or gift speaks volumes over the amount of money that shows up on your credit card bill the next month. This doesn’t mean people don’t appreciate an expensive gift or a fancy date night out, but it also means that the simple things might be the most heartfelt.

Despite its consumerist feel, with so much violence and hate found in the world today, Valentine’s Day is a good excuse to tell your family, friends and anyone else who is significant in your life how much they mean to you no matter how you do it. We all need a little love sometimes and who can really disagree with the Beatles?  “All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.”

Statistics taken from: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/02/13/valentines-day-2012-by-the-numbers and http://www.statisticbrain.com/valentines-day-statistics.