Opinion | We can't really afford to continue celebrating Valentine's Day this way


By, Kristyn Evans, 2nd Year, English  

It’s that time of the year again – everywhere you look the shops are filled with things that are pink, fluffy, rose-scented and down-right expensive. The pressure to find that special someone the perfect present can really make or break the whole experience especially when you're constantly stressing about  ‘how much’ is the right amount to spend on your significant other.

Valentine’s Day spending in 2019 was up 0.7% compared to the previous year – this doesn’t sound like much, but it meant that total consumer spending reached one-billion pounds, up from 650 million in 2018. My eyes water just writing that figure. As someone still penny-pinching after Christmas it baffles me how Valentine’s Day comes with such a high expectation for grand gestures or eating out at expensive restaurants.

Call me old-fashioned, but since when did showing love for another person become tied to material objects? Yes, you bought your girlfriend that new Michael Kors bag that she desperately wanted a present she really thanked you forafter, but you’ve just sacrificed a month’s worth of wages for a bag she will (most likely) use once.

Arguably Valentine’s Day does inject a lot of money back into the economy after the January lull, but is a teddy bear holding a plastic love heart that screams ‘I bought this in Poundland’ really the best way to say ‘I love and appreciate you’? To answer my own question, no it is not.

That said, I definitely don’t oppose all things Valentine | Epigram / Sabrina Miller

That said, I definitely don’t oppose all things Valentine. Getting thoughtful presents from the one you love most is, quite honestly, one of the best feelings a person can experience. I just don’t believe that thoughtful presents and expensive, tacky or generic presents are the same thing.

Handmade or personalized gifts are the best – showing thought and care has gone into a present means more than buying the same tacky dress from Urban Outfitters that everyone and their nan owns. Get an old shoebox and fill it with your partner’s favourite chocolates, make dinner yourself from scratch or, if you’re feeling sentimental, make a scrapbook of your favourite times you’ve spent together. What’s even better is that handmade gifts cost a fraction of what a brand-new designer jacket would.

Saying 'I love you' is free, so why should showing it cost the earth?

If you’re not Gordan Ramsey (and let’s face it, if you were you definitely wouldn’t have this problem) then M&S has brought back their £20 dine in deal where you get a starter, a main, a side, a dessert, chocolates and a bottle of wine. Sorted. Saying ‘I love you’ is free, so why should showing it cost the earth? Once Valentine’s Day becomes less about love and more about what you get then it’s time to take a long, hard look at yourself in a very, very big mirror.

Appreciating a person and what they do for you should not equal what they can give you. Ever.

What are you getting your significant other this valentines day?