The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Face-off: Commercialism is necessary to Valentine’s festivities

Joshua Britt

The moment the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 26, Christmas decorations come crashing down while behind them, an explosion of bright reds and hot pinks, contained only loosely by white ribbons and hot glue, erupts through retail stores across America.

Valentine’s Day – a holiday dedicated to expressing one’s unwavering love and devotion for their partner – is made only greater with the month-and-a-half long extravaganza of pink hearts, teddy bears, chocolate treats and unconventionally-shaped cooking utensils that we, as American consumers, bear witness to.

Often during this time of year, I hear bursts of outrage at Valentine’s Day’s commercialistic existence in our country, and I often find that the voices behind this outrage are simply just bitter.

Fully stocked shelves of stuffed animals, sweet treats and love-themed knick knacks are a dream for those whose love language is gift giving. According to a survey conducted by OnePoll, 70% of 2,000 individuals said that receiving a gift for Valentine’s Day was important to them. People want to feel appreciated, and while the modern Valentine’s Day may be a profit-driven commercialist ploy, the fact of the matter is that nothing says ‘I love you’ like a thoughtful gift from your partner.

Twelve months out of the year, pink and white foam hearts line my bedroom walls while just in the kitchen, heart-shaped measuring cups rest on the counter as I bake sugar cookies with my heart-shaped cookie cutters. I am a creature of love, and the commercialist merchandise that Walmart shoves down our throats from December through February each year serves as a reflection of such love.

It seems to me that people only care about commercialism and mindless consumerism when it comes to buying gifts for their partners on a day dedicated to love and romance. With all the bellyaching I hear about commercialism on Feb. 14, I would certainly expect greater outcry about consumerism during the rest of the year as well. I would argue that this debate of Valentine’s Day is less of an issue of politics and more of an issue of bitterness.

Seeing as it is the only time of year that grocery store walls are washed with shades of pink, it is only natural that I would be keen on Valentine’s Day and all that comes with it. I realize that I am the target demographic for Valentine’s Day sales, and maybe that makes me biased. However, I would argue that Valentine’s Day’s commercialism only adds to the excitement, anticipation and sentiment of this holiday season.

While much of Valentine’s Day merchandise is targeted for romance, today is a day to celebrate love in every facet of its being.

As a child, I knew my mother loved me because she used to cut my sandwiches into triangles – one for each of my imaginary friends. I knew my father loved me because at the brief mention of a new favorite snack, I would come home to a pantry bursting with it. I know my boyfriend loves me because for Valentine’s Day, he brought home a little brown teddy bear that said so. What more proof could I ever need?

About the Contributor
Cadence Harvey
Cadence Harvey, Former Managing Editor
Cadence Harvey served as the Managing Editor from 2023 to 2024.
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