BFF or bae? It’s time to change the meaning of V-Day

PJ Pfeiffer

As someone who has been single every February for the past 17 years, it goes without saying that Valentine’s Day is one of my least favorite holidays. The truth is, I don’t like what it stands for: couples making out in the hallways, having to buy my own overpriced chocolate and watching cheesy rom-coms. Even so, Valentine’s Day has the potential to be an extraordinary and inclusive holiday. It should be a celebration of love in all forms and for all kinds of relationships in order to be enjoyed –– not dreaded ––  by everyone.

The day should not look like Christmas or Thanksgiving, which are about family and community, but should be a day solely about love. Instead of buying fancy meals and spending money on gifts, this day is a great opportunity to spend time with your friends and family.

The commercialization of Valentine’s Day is well-documented; flowers, chocolates and gifts are everywhere. It’s almost always marketed to couples with classic heart necklaces or stuffed animals that say “Be mine” in a monotone, robotic voice when pressed. It isn’t a necessity to buy one to prove you care about someone, but many still feel obligated to participate. 

Illustration by Jackson Epps

Despite the brief materialistic thrill of receiving presents, Valentine’s Day is actually one of the least environmentally conscious days of the year. According to The Street, the average person spent $196.31 on Valentine’s Day products including chocolates, flowers and presents in 2020 alone. All together, Valentine’s Day spending is around $18 billion, close to the $20 billion spent during Christmas, a feat that can be attributed to the  commercialization of the holiday. In addition to this, the day is awkward for single people. Many Redwood students feel the same way. The January Bark found that 68 percent of the respondents believe that Valentine’s Day should also celebrate people’s love for friends and family, not just couples. 

There are many ways to celebrate with friends. In a normal year, Valentine’s Day could be celebrated by having large gatherings like other popular holidays. However, one can still socially distance while celebrating with friends and family this year, like by going on a hike or enjoying an outdoor picnic for example. If outdoor gatherings are not a possibility, one can still show love to friends and family by writing old school Valentine’s Day cards.  Personally, I hadn’t started celebrating Valentine’s Day until last year when my friends and I all made dinner together and talked about our favorite memories with each other, which I recommend doing with your friends or family.

For decades, Valentine’s Day has been an uncomfortable holiday for most of the population, as only 26 percent of Americans are actually in a committed relationship. It has lost its original meaning and has become so commercialized that there’s no real value to celebrating the day. Instead of Valentine’s Day being only about romantic love and commercialism, we should imagine a new holiday, one that celebrates all relationships equally.