The Ongoing Commercialization of Valentine’s Day


Zuha Al-Asadi, Guest Reporter

  Americans will spend an average of 20 billion dollars on Valentine’s Day every year. Whether it’s for a significant other or simply for a friend, Americans like to go above and beyond to express their love for one another. 

   Valentine’s Day originated from a Roman holiday known as Lupercalia, which occurred annually from February 13 to 15. As a part of a ceremony, men would sacrifice dogs and goats. Later, Roman Emperor Claudius II had two men named Valentine executed on February 14 — both of whom were martyred by the Catholic church — giving society the name St. Valentine’s Day. Still, this day has evolved into a commercialized scheme to get people to pull out their wallets. 

   Many Americans will spend an average of $164.76 on Valentine’s Day this year, a $60 increase from 2020. The commercialization began around the 1840s when Esther A. Howland mass-produced Valentines to sell. In the 1860s, Cadbury introduced a heart-shaped chocolate box, and in 1866 they began making candies with loving phrases imprinted on them. However, these candies did not become heart-shaped until 1902. 

   The history of Valentine’s day candy continues to evolve with the creation of Hershey kisses in 1907. From 1907 to 1921, KISSES Chocolates were foil-wrapped by hand, including the tissue paper identification tag inside the foil wrapper. Hallmark began the selling of Hallmark Valentines Day cards in 1910. Beginning to lead away from cards and candies, DeBeers, a diamond company, launched its “a diamond is forever” campaign in 1948. 

   The creation of the television didn’t thoroughly affect Valentine’s Day sales until the 1980’s when Hallmark created commercials to advertise their Valentine’s Day products. However, this commercialization is doing some good in itself. Based on the National Retail Federation research, Valentine’s Day shoppers will add $27.4 billion to the United States’ economy. Jewelry sales alone will make up $5.8 billion. With these incomes on the market, it is suspected that Valentine’s products prices will be on a steady rise.

   Instead of buying a friend or significant other a box of chocolates or bouquet, opt for a more sentimental option. Some great ideas include a small homemade meal and a movie night, or even just spending quality time with your particular person. Newsome chorus will be offering Valenchimes for a week in February. For just $5, the Newsome Chorus will be serenading a few lucky individuals with songs celebrating love and friendship. A list of songs to choose from will be offered on the Newsome Chorus Instagram and on the forms themselves. The songs will include “thank u, next” by Ariana Grande and “Just the Two of Us” by Bill Withers.

   Although Valentine’s Day has become predominantly commercial, you can still participate in the holiday and spend little to no money.