Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine's Day - to spend or not to spend?

“How much are you going to spend to show your love this Valentine’s Day?” was the opening line of a story on the local news last night. I rewound the DVR to make sure I’d heard that right, and yep, that’s what she said. “How much are you going to spend to show your love?”

Hmmmm…..Really? That’s how we show our love? We spend? The news story went on to say that Americans as a whole spend $15 billion – yes, that’s right, billion with a “B”- on Valentine’s Day. The biggest chunk of that pile of Benjamins is spent on jewelry to the tune of $3.5 billion, with dining out running a close second at $3.4 billion. Flowers cost us $1.7 billion. It makes me wonder, how is the remaining $6.4 billion spent?

I admit to liking Valentine’s Day. My husband, in the past, has given me both flowers and jewelry, and I enjoyed receiving those gifts. Money is a little tight right now, but we are going to try and have dinner together out somewhere this Monday.

Do I doubt Terry’s love if I don’t receive flowers or jewelry on Valentine’s Day? Do I feel unloved if we don’t celebrate the day somehow together? Of course I don’t. Terry shows his love for me every day in so many ways – in his sense of humor, his patience, his consideration, his affection for Tori.

I got really irritated by that news story last night, and I think those ill feelings were the result of the way the anchor led us into the story, that whole “spend to show your love” comment. I thought – at first – how horrible that made us Americans sound. We spend billions to “show our love.”

Then I felt guilty after I got irritated because I’ve been the beneficiary of Valentine’s Day and enjoyed my gifts. Did that make me an Ugly American?


Many of us are so busy that we don’t pay as much attention to our husbands, wives, significant others, as we should. Sometimes we let too much time go between the last time we said, “I love you,” and the next time we said those three important little words. Sometimes we don’t show the gratitude to our partners that we should for everything they bring to our lives. I think Valentine’s Day reminds us to do that. And, hopefully, it reminds us that we should try harder to keep those “Valentine’s Day” feelings alive and well throughout the year.

There’s nothing ugly about that at all.

The last figure that the news story presented was that the average American spends $116 on Valentine’s Day. If you divide $15 billion by $116, the number you get is approximately 129,310,345. There are about 300,000,000 people in our country, so that means that almost half of us are buying presents, and, hopefully, about half of us are then receiving those presents. Doesn’t this mean then that almost all of us are taking part in saying, “I love you,” to someone who probably ought to be hearing it? If those good feelings can carry over into the rest of the year for so many of us, then I am firmly in Cupid’s corner.

Tell the people you love how you feel about them on Monday. Then do it again on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, … well, you get the idea.


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