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Have you ever wondered about the origin of certain holidays? Specifically the holidays that we celebrate religiously– without religion. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Boss’s Day, Secretary’s Day… and of course Valentine’s Day. What do these holidays all have in common? They have all been categorized as “Hallmark Holidays”.
A “Hallmark Holiday” describes a holiday that is speculated to have only been created for commercial purposes rather than honoring an event or religious tradition. As the name suggests, these holidays greatly benefit greeting card companies such as Hallmark Cards. But greeting cards aren’t the only products being purchased to keep up with celebrating these traditions. Let’s take a closer look at Valentine’s Day.
What type of gift is the average lover expected to deliver at this time of year? Of course a Valentine’s Day card would be nice (doesn’t cost much… not too bad), probably some chocolate (still not bad… but lets try and stop it here if possible), and then some jewelry (wallet destroyed). Is this really what’s expected of the men and women across the globe who are in healthy, loving relationships? Or is it just a stereotype? Perpetuated by the bitter, single people of the world. Let’s look at some numbers to find out:
According to Time.com, the average expected amount of money each American will spend during this holiday is $126.03 (an 8.5% increase from last years average). That’s a little more than an entire internet/cable bill for the single men and women out there. I could have made a joke about how internet/cable could replace the significant other altogether—but I decided against it, and thought I’d leave you with this very sentence.
From the same Time.com study, it is reported that an average of 72 million Valentine’s Day cards are purchased each year. Okay so there definitely seems to be some money behind this thing. But maybe people are genuinely enjoying having an opportunity to celebrate their love for their partner (celebrating any left over love from anniversaries and both respective birthdays of course). In fact, Valentine’s Day marriage proposals make up for 10% of all annual proposals (220,000!). That is beautiful, sweet, and ridiculously heart warming. Almost makes me not want to read this statistic: Divorce lawyer requests increase about 40% each year around mid-February. But I’m sure that number doesn’t take into account coincidence. Like almost certainly. Positive. Kind of.
In summation, conclusion, and overall—I think it is very clear that while these “Hallmark Holidays” seem trivial, we still feel obligated to follow tradition and buy what cupid tells us to. And this feeling of obligation leaves some partners to expect a little something special on Valentine’s Day. The Valentine’s Day stereotype has trickled down into reality and created added pressures for love birds everywhere.