Orange is the New Pink: Valentine’s Day not a purely materialistic holiday


Solomon Myers, Photographer

The Valentine’s Day aisle is filled with chocolate hearts in the Safeway in Corvallis, Ore. The Corvallis and Oregon State University community are getting ready to celebrate the season of love.

Kimberly Clairmont, Columnist

Editor’s Note: This column does not represent the opinion of The Daily Barometer. This column reflects the personal opinions of the writer.

Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be remembered as just another holiday peddled by corporate America but rather as the perfect opportunity for everyone to acknowledge and appreciate the special people in their lives.

While some individuals dread celebrating in any fashion on Feb. 14, I personally still find excitement in showering the special people in my life with gifts or scrambling to find last-minute date night plans.

Still, there is no denying that Valentine’s Day creates extensive advertising opportunities for corporations to encourage customers to open their wallets, capitalizing on their vulnerability based on their relationship status and various expectations of their significant others.

According to the National Retail Federation, people who celebrate Valentine’s Day are likely to spend an average of $164.76 on chocolates, flowers, jewelry and other novelty gifts.

Every year, many people argue the world falls victim to consumerism or the “heart-shaped candy cult”, but Valentine’s Day is more than just a cheap ploy to get people to spend a few bucks.

Riley Gross, a junior at Oregon State University, said he celebrates the “somewhat materialistic” holiday because he has a girlfriend. Gross plans to take his girlfriend out to dinner and give her a few small gifts.

“Chocolate companies make a lot of money and florists,” Gross said. “Corporate companies or big companies have definitely manifested the idea that everyone has to get something for their partner, like material.”

However, Gross said he still considers himself an optimist. He emphasized that people can celebrate the day without purchasing chocolates and flowers.

“Valentine’s Day is a good holiday to celebrate even if you don’t buy things,” Gross said. “I think it’s just about celebrating those you love.”

OSU freshman Mara Burroughs said as someone who is single, she never cares or thinks much about the holiday until the day itself actually comes.

“I can definitely see how it could be considered materialistic because there is so much stuff in the store to get for [others] and it is almost expected, which kind of defeats the purpose,” Burroughs said.

The day itself can lose value if people choose to spend time with their loved ones or give gifts just because it is viewed as required or expected behavior.

That being said, seizing the opportunity to appreciate all of the people in your life you care deeply about by sharing heartfelt notes and messages should never be dreaded, minimized or taken for granted.

Although Valentine’s Day is often thought of as a romantic holiday, it is important to note the day is also celebrated by many classmates, families and friend groups.

Burroughs said the adults in her life, like her parents and grandparents, still send her and her siblings little goodies, something many of us look forward to each year from our own friends and relatives.

Without spending money on teddy bears and sweetheart candies, countless individuals still exchange handmade cards and sweet celebratory texts or phone calls to the people they love on Feb. 14.

There is no need for remarks or arguments about the materialistic nature of the holiday that diminish the many endearing elements Valentine’s Day still offers.

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