Don’t @ me: Valentine’s Day sucks

Social media, consumerism and the environment: Valentine’s Day is cancelled

Jude M.

From the exorbitant price of flowers to an enormous pink teddy bear, Valentine’s Day has turned into a lucrative business. Between 2009 and 2023, the total spending on this holiday by consumers has doubled

There is pressure to get the most expensive and impressive gift for your loved one. This pressure has become more palpable, as social media lets us witness a thousand different lives daily. The contemporary celebration of love has evolved into Instagram-worthy proposals to trending hashtags, emphasizing both carefully crafted online identities and private moments. 

While the gestures and gifts are beautiful, they are missing a certain authenticity. Genuine tokens of affection have been reduced to materialistic transactions. In 2020, the dating app Plenty of Fish came out with a study exploring the pressure of Valentine’s Day on dating.  After surveying 2000 single people between the ages of 18 and 70, it was discovered that one in five participants wished the holiday was simply cancelled, while 43 per cent expressed that it was the most stressful holiday of the year.The study gives us insight into many other feelings that singles have during Valentine’s Day, such as the fact that 15 per cent of participants feel lonely and 8 per cent experience dread. 

The holiday is often a reminder of your relationship status, especially if you are unhappy with it. It perpetuates that romantic love is the only form of love worth being celebrated. Platonic relationships also deserve to be celebrated for having as much importance and impact in a person’s life. 
While there are platonic alternatives like Galentine’s Day—mainly celebrated by women on Feb. 13 and originating from a 2010 episode of Parks and Recreation—the study showed that only 16 per cent of women prefer it over the traditional holiday.

Including the pressure and the emotional turmoil of the holiday, the consumerism of Valentine’s Day creates an incredible amount of waste. The transportation of flowers, on its own, produces 360,000 metric tons of carbon emissions. Valentine’s Day decorations and gifts also produce waste and are rarely recycled for the next year. As 50 per cent of waste in the US comes from plastic, textiles and paper, the unsustainable materials used for these gifts contribute to the statistic. 

Valentine’s day sucks. It only creates pressure, and unwanted feelings while simultaneously killing the planet. Unless we find a more sustainable way to celebrate this holiday, perhaps by focusing on homemade gifts, I believe we should make the choice to not celebrate it at all.

This article originally appeared in Volume 44, Issue 10, published February 13, 2024.